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Fall Into Fall Gardening

While most serious gardeners consider the planting season to be over by midsummer, this need not be the case and, in fact, some find fall to be the best time of year of all to garden. Fortunately, there are a large variety of tasty vegetables and attractive flowers that can be planted now in time to produce a lovely fall garden.

Of course, a healthy garden depends on a number of factors which include the health of the soil, the types of vegetables or flowers chosen for planting, the fertilizer used, the amount of space available for your garden and for each plant, and ongoing maintenance.

Healthy soil is where every good garden gets its start and one of the most important qualities to look at in soil is how readily it absorbs water. Naturally, the better it absorbs water the better the soil. Good soil also drains sufficiently and should be porous. Porous soil contains more air, which helps roots grow better. Fertilizers are important to the health of the soil as well because they help encourage and stimulate plant growth and production and there are a number of good types of fertilizers available that can be applied easily. Mulching and shade cloths for the soil are also helpful because they contribute toward controlling both soil temperature and soil moisture.

Fall gardeners find the season to be a good time for gardening because the temperature is so much more tolerable than other times of the year when the heat can be unbearable. Also, the plants have a time to grow and reach maturity under the most ideal weather conditions. Some of the best types of vegetables to plant in the fall are all types of greens, such as lettuce and spinach, and arugula, root vegetables such as beets, carrots, radishes, and turnips, and, in some places, potatoes. Perennials, certain shrubs, and trees are also great for fall planting.

How much space allotted for your garden and for each plant should be carefully thought out too, as overcrowding will not produce healthy crops or attractive flowers. One option to consider if you are limited in space is to build a raised bed. Raised beds have been around for a long time and can be built from just about anything including bricks, concrete, and stones. Raised beds are relatively easy to install and prepare and they are easier to work with because less bending over is required.

Maintenance is another important aspect of successful gardening. Making sure that your garden is adequately watered but not over watered, that it has been properly mulched, and that, once plants start to grow from the seeds, the plants are not too crowded, are all essential to maintaining a healthy garden. Regular pest control, (both animals and insects) and weed control is also a necessary part of protecting your garden and ensuring that it produces the vegetable crop or flowers you are expecting. Not to be overlooked is the proper amount of sunlight – both too much sunlight and too little sunlight are the surest ways to destroy your garden.

Indeed, gardening does require patience, time, and energy and fall gardening, in particular, includes its share of challenges. Most people, however, who do garden in the fall, find the garden’s harvest to be well worth their efforts.

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