Planting Seeds - It's not too late! September 22, 2015 05:30
If you're like me, the first hint of fall leads to a marathon of canning, dehydrating, and pulling winter clothes out of storage while tearfully packing away the summer ones. Generally, the last thing on my mind when the weather turns cold is getting out into the garden. I mean, that's what spring is for, right? Winter is for letting everything turn to mud and waiting for the sun to come back. I'd rather be inside with my cup of tea, thank you very much.
Except, the garden doesn't hibernate over the winter. It's still going strong, and if I want to really make the most of it, there's plenty to do in the garden in the fall. It all depends on what I want out of it!
1. Fall Veggies
With Vancouver's relatively mild falls, there are plenty of veggies you can plant and harvest in this season. Leafy greens like Arugula, Pac Choi, Mescluns, and Corn Salad can still be sown up until frost, and with a little bit of crop cover, root veggies like radishes and turnips can also go in the ground now. You could be eating your own home grown salads for Thanksgiving!
2. Spring Flowers
I always mix flowers in with my veggie garden. I can be logical about it and say that it's to provide a bit of biodiversity, as well as attracting pollinators, but secretly I'd do it anyway just because flowers are pretty. Many flowers, like Calendula, Lavender, Pansies, Sweetpeas and Poppies can be sown right now, ensuring you get flowers as early as possible in the spring. Even Strawberry seeds can be planted now for a spring harvest!
3. Cover Cropping
When in doubt, cover crop it. If you just don't feel like dealing with your garden, the nicest thing you can do for it is give it the equivalent of a blanket and a nice meal. Cover cropping is often thought of as being only for large-scale farming operations, but the benefits - returning nitrogen to the soil, smothering out weeds, and reducing soil erosion - are just as good in a small backyard garden. If you choose this method, make sure to read the directions on your chosen cover crop - some of them need an application of mycorrhizal root inoculant in order to perform the nitrogen fixing that you want.
No matter you choose to do with your garden this season, you'll probably be happy you didn't just ignore it.