Fall has arrived in the USA! If you’re an organic gardening enthusiast (good on you), you’re going to be mulling over what to do in your eco garden this season. Gardeners in the sunny south, pull out your spades and stock up on mulch, because your gardening season is just reaching its prime. Northern gardeners: yes, “winter is coming”, but there are some fast-growing plants that you can still enjoy before the icy weather sets in, and some hardy ones that (with a dose of TLC and a touch of luck) will make it to spring.
When planning which seeds to plant, you’ll need to figure out when your first frosts start. Then check the back of your seed packet – or the internet, if you harvested the seeds yourself or got them from a friend – for time to harvest. If you can plant the seeds and harvest them before the first frost descends upon you, you’re good to go.
Some hardy winter garden vegetables will survive the cold weather. You can up their chances by building a cold frame to protect them. Plants that are usually grown in the spring often do well in the fall, too.
If you’re in the North, here are some seeds you can plant in September.
· Collard greens
· Mache (these tough salad greens can survive on under 10 hours of sunlight a day)
· Mustard greens
· Lettuce (winter varieties can survive in a cold frame)
How wonderful: all this leafy green, organically grown food to boost the immune system during the cold months!
If you’re a lucky southern gardener, you can also grow these.
· Broccoli transplants
· Cauliflower transplants
Brighten up your fall/winter garden by planting flowers in September.
Here are some incredibly hardy flowers that can survive most winters.
· Cone Flower
· Lily of the Valley
· Siberian Iris
· Ornamental cabbage
· Flowering kale
· Primrose (added bonus: primroses provide bees with food during the winter – and attract these industrious pollinators to your garden.)
Indoor gardens shine in the colder months.
If you’ve been thinking about planting an indoor garden, September is the perfect time to start, as plants will be protected inside. You’ll need to stock up on plant pots of all shapes and sizes – we recommend biodegrable plant pots as they are good for the environment, and ceramic or clay pots as they can stand gardening wear and tear and are less likely to end up in the trash.
Here’s how to grow an indoor garden.
Involve your kids this month.
Bring your kids with you for some outdoor play while you tend your garden this fall. It’s a time when nature goes through some dramatic changes, and kids find this fascinating. Being with your kids in your garden is a productive natural learning initiative, as they ask questions and you explain what you are doing, and why. Allow yourself to slow down, enjoy the colors and fragrances that surround you, and the small wonders that delight your child.
Then finish up by savoring a cup of hot chocolate together. You’ve earned it!
Written by Rifke Hill
About the Author
Rifke Hill was raised on the sort of farm your grandparents told tales about – milking cows, gathering eggs, hoeing the soil, and building fires to heat water. She now spends part of her time copywriting online as a freelancer. The rest of it is spent nurturing and teaching her four energetic children, growing vegetables, baking bread, reading voraciously, having coffee with the neighbors, and enjoying the sunny slopes of the smallholding where she lives, in the Garden Route, South Africa.