Prepping the Garden for Fall, Part 1

We have started preparing the garden for planting fall crops, but we’re not finished yet. I have a few pictures of the beginning, but we probably won’t get it finished up until Saturday when I hope to get many, many wonderful, miraculous little seeds planted. I am always in awe of how a tiny little seed can turn into so much food. It is truly a miracle to me. 


It is really nice to see the tall grass down and turning brown in the hot sun. I hope to rake it up and remove it so we can run the disc through there again before I plant. I’ll give you another update when we get it finished. Due to several upcoming obligations, it will take a few more days than I would like. Some of the crops I will be planting are 120 days to maturity, like peanuts and Mangel beets, which means our window of opportunity is closing soon. Our first average frost date is October 31st, so July 31st is my very latest goal date. I hope I make it.


Keep your eyes and ears open. Listen for that inspiration that will lead you the next step you need to take in your preparations. And remember, you can never have too many seeds. Never. They will be more precious than anything made of metal. You can’t eat metal, but you can feed yourself with seeds. Never plant the last of your seeds. What if you have a year like it has been here and just to get anything to grow you have to replant two or three times? What if a storm destroys your plants like it did to CQ from Hickory Holler? (She is on our blogroll.) What if insects destroy some of your crops? What if you are planning on that food to get you through the winter? Will you make it? Really inventory what you have and determine what you need, then get it and store it along with the information you need on how to grow, harvest, preserve both fruit and seeds, then inventory again. I am.

Until next time – Fern

20 thoughts on “Prepping the Garden for Fall, Part 1

  1. that's wonderful that you have such a late frost day, we often get a frost over Labor Day! Loved your post and I thank you for sharing on Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop! As one of the co-hosts I will be featuring your post this Thursday! Hope you stop by again!- Nancy

  2. Volunteers are kind of like the surprise in a box of Cracker Jacks, M.E., you just never know what you're going to get. Just hope it came from something you enjoyed last season and not that one experiment that didn't meet the taste test requirements. Thanks for sharing.Fern

  3. SJ, we feel that our articles aren't finished until we've had the chance to interact with the folks that read here. We try to share what we know and do, but we learn so much from the comments as well.You're right about always something, that is definitely the case when it comes to growing food. We haven't planted any of the old beans to see if they will grow. I've planted pinto bean seeds here a few times and have been disappointed in their performance. Some seeds I planted weren't that old, but didn't have a good germination rate, then the plants didn't produce very well either. Good question.Fern

  4. This has really been the year of replanting, Sandy. I'm just glad we are able to harvest some things to preserve for now. I'll have to check out your cabbage article. That is still one challenge I haven't been up to yet – successfully growing cabbage. You can never have too many seeds. This has become one of my favorite mottoes, along with this one. Seeds will be worth more than gold. You can't eat gold, but with a handful of seeds you can feed many.Thank you for sharing.Fern

  5. I had no idea that mid summer was too hot for gardening in Florida until you told us that a while back, Bellen. I just love learning new things. It's kind of like Kymber's comment about locations. She is in Canada and has a much cooler climate than either of us.Now that I realized I really miscounted my Mangel and peanut growing season, I don't know how they will do. I know a good frost will kill off the beets greens. And I found out last year that if any of the beet is above ground it will freeze and make that portion of the been bitter, so your idea of mulching is a good one. The peanuts? I just don't know. I'll have to read more and it may just be too late. If that's the case I will have to figure out something else. Thank you again for sharing. We look forward to hearing about your growing season as it progresses.Fern

  6. We're in zone 7, Ilene. The challenge I have in saving some seeds is planting more than one variety of something like tomatoes. I like Arkansas Travelers and Rutgers. Then there are the Cushaw, Buttercup and yellow crookneck squashes. I know they cross pollinate and we don't have enough room to plant them far enough apart so they won't. Good tidbits about seed saving and sources, thank you.Fern

  7. It is very interesting how different our growing seasons and cycles are, Kymber. And even though we may be thousands of miles apart, there is still much to be learned from each other.You are doing much better in the seed saving department than I am. I tend to buy extras and extras and extras, but I need to practice saving more seeds as well. Thank you for sharing your techniques and advice.Fern

  8. I am a seed saver. I have had seed wear out but it was commercial not heirloom. I save seed from my fresh veggies all the time. Put them in my freezer for the next season. I believe the greatest reward is wh a t comes up the next year as a volunteer. I started out with eight tomato plants now have double that from volunteer growing. Squash grew from volunteer too! Great post as usual…have a fine day!

  9. I'm sure glad someone can count better than I can! I'm not sure what I was thinking, but 3 months is obviously not 120 days. Hmmm…..if we have any good hard frosts I think the mangel beets will succumb. The peanuts I just don't know about. Guess I'll find out, huh? You know we all make mistakes, but sometimes it would be better if we didn't publish them to the world. At least you can't see my red face. No really, thank you for pointing this out. It will give me something to think about and know I need to plan better next year.Fern

  10. I wanted to say a big thank-you for your time and effort in responding to comments. I can read how busy you two are and am so thankful you take the time to write personal replies to the comments.I, too, started my fall planting this week. I planted carrots and Brussels sprouts. I still have a week to go for my next round of beets and will have to decide what to plant there. I am letting the runners on my strawberry plants establish new plants, a first for me. I have always pruned back the runners but want new plants for next year. There's always something, isn't there? I also buy seeds every chance I get. Our local nursery has a member's day once a month and I stop by and get packets. I'm slowly building up a nice reserve. I have also used store bought chickpeas to use as seed. I got a nice plant and beans. I wanted to try chickpeas after reading that they did well in our shoulder season's cooler weather but also tolerated the high temps. I haven't experimented with any other beans. Have you tried planting some of those old pinto beans?SJ in Vancouver BC Canada

  11. July31 – October31 is approx 90 days. Do those crops mature after frost since they're underground?

  12. That's excellent advice, Fern. This year has been a harsh teacher. Better to learn this lesson now than later when we really depend on the garden.

  13. Fern, and Frank,I've already started to plant some seeds for a fall harvest. I put in my carrots and parsnips again. A rule of thumb here, never plant all seeds. There's always spare seeds to ensure multiple plantings. A while back, I had to replant more than 3 times because of the rain and storms we had here. I harvested my Yukon potatoes right after our first rain storm, stashed those potatoes to eat over the next several months. I went ahead and planted my 2nd batch of potatoes seeds several weeks back, and they're popping out of the ground. Before our freeze, I will be harvesting my 2nd batch of potatoes (this time red ones). I'm also excited because the cucumbers previously planted have finally taken off, and I have some nice looking cukes starting to show. And the cabbage I've been babying are really starting to look good. I've cut out all the leaves with holes, and water the cabbage nightly. I'll have to make an updated blog post on the cabbage. My secret is to save some of the vegetables planted just for harvesting seeds. I also keep all of my seed catalogs and order routinely to always have plenty of seeds stored just in case the SHTF. Being prepared is always the motto in our home.

  14. It is surprising to be planning for the fall garden already… where did the summer go? It has been non-stop busy here… It was nice to have a glimpse into your garden. Thank you.

  15. Fern – as you are starting your Fall garden, I'm getting ready for my main growing season. This summer's veggies have been plagued with white fly that I keep under control with a Neem oil spray – almost all veggies are grown in containers inside the lanai surrounding the pool. Luckily no aphids so far.Seeds should be here today or tomorrow and all are Certified Organic Non-GMO and since I garden organically anyway it made sense. Plus, the seed packets are in the same price range of other brands and there is no shipping, a real plus. I order from HIgh Mowing seeds – I've used their sprouting seeds before and they were excellent.Peanuts are frost sensitive but I think Mangel beets, like all beets, should be okay until a real hard frost. Can they be mulched over to keep in ground until needed?Happy gardening!

  16. Are you in zone 7 or 8? We're in 6a. So are behind you a little. But our first average frost seems to be October 31, also. Sometimes we don't get the first frost till a lot later than that and I hope that will be the case for us this year. You are so right about not planting ALL your seed. There's also the risk that one year's seed will have crossed with another variety and you may have to go back to the previous year's seed to be able to grow what you would expect to get from that particular seed. So don't throw the old seed away till you know the new is good. My mother used to buy new seed every year, she thought the previous year's seed would not germinate. And that's what most of her gardening friends thought, too. OMG, this year I scattered coriander FROM MY SPICE CABINET, and who knows how old THAT was, and it came up. She also told me that if I saved seed from a grocery store green pepper, it would not germinate because the pepper was not ripe. That's not true, either.

  17. Dear Fern – we haven't even started canning yet and there you are starting your fall garden – isn't it interesting to note all of the different times for planting in all of the different locales on all of our different blogs? i find it incredibly interesting!as for seeds – i save every single seed i have from every single plant that i let go to seed. then i vaccum-seal them and into the pantry they go. i save a large portion of seeds for the following years planting – i save all of the rest of the seeds for sprouts. in the event of a really bad harvest/bad year – those sprouted seeds can get you easily through a winter. we have about 10 years worth of saved seed now that we intend to use for sprouting. they take up very little room and i test them every year and so far – they all sprout (which makes me wonder about all of the information about how long you can store seeds? if they sprout – then a plant could grow from them, no?)! sprouts are very nutritious and really can get you through a bad harvest year/winter.your friend,kymber

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