Ready for a break from grocery store food? There’s nothing quite like enjoying the harvest of fresh edibles (veggies, fruits and herbs) from your own garden. Green thumb or not, you can grow a thriving garden that will make nutritious and delicious meals for you and your loved ones.
Try to plan your planting of vegetables at least 55-85 days before a potential first frost, though root vegetables are likely to be more resilient through the cold weather. Root vegetables seem to be best through direct seeding, while others you can grow from table scraps that are transplanted.
Consider composting with organic matter such as tea leaves that contain mineral-rich macronutrients and micronutrients that boost your plant’s growth. Some key benefits composting with tea can offer your plants include deterring plant diseases and increasing nutrient turnover.
Plants aren’t the only ones growing. Because fall temperatures start out warmer, the populations of pests are also rapidly multiplying. It’s best to be equipped to tackle impending insects with preventative measures as early as possible while your plants are still young and tender.
Make sure to grow your plants in plenty of sunshine and keep them well-watered. Clear any dead debris that could easily become a fertile breeding ground for hosts of insects and bugs, potentially soon-to-be rapidly spreading bugaboos for any garden and gardener.
Be on the lookout and guard against flea beetles, slugs, Harlequin bugs, stink bugs, potato beetles, cucumber beetles, squash bugs, and aphids.
Try some of the following tips to protect your garden from weeds and ravenous pests:
- WEED WACKING SALT & VINEGAR – No need to worry about weeds wasting space taking over your garden with this natural, yet potent concoction. Combine 1 gallon white vinegar with 1 cup salt. Add 1 tablespoon liquid dishwashing soap into the solution so the solution will stick to the leaves of the weeds. This is a powerfully natural weed killer, so don’t spray too close to any plants you’re protecting.
- TOMATO LEAF APHID AND MITE REPELLANT SPRAY – Soak 2 cups tomato leaves in 2 cups of water overnight. In the morning strain and remove leaves, add 2 more cups of water and pour into a spray bottle.
- BREWSKI BUGABOOS BE GONE – Sink a tuna can or small disposable pie plate about an inch below the ground. Add beer to just below the top of the container. Slugs will head to happy hour, get drunk on the beer, and drown. Not the happiest ending for the slugs, but this trick will save your plants.
- STOP MAMMALS FROM MESSIN’ RED PEPPER SPRAY – Mix 4 tablespoons hot sauce with 1 quart water and 1 teaspoon dish soap in a spray bottle. Shake well and spray to deter deer, bunnies, mice, squirrels, and birds from chowing down on your crops.
AIN’T NO MORE ANTS AROUND SPICES – Sprinkle ground cinnamon and cayenne pepper on and around plants to ward off ants.
Organic Insecticide & Pest Repellent Recipes from: https://home.howstuffworks.com/green-living/homemade-organic-gardening-sprays
POPULAR GARDEN CHOICES FOR YOUR NC FALL/AUTUMN GARDEN:
- Garlic and onions
- Root veggies: carrots, beets, and parsnips
- Leafy veggies: kale, swiss chard, arugula, spinach, and lettuce
- Cruciferous veggies: broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts
- Fruit trees: figs and pomegranates
- Herbs: parsley, cilantro, and dill
- Flowers: sunflowers, cosmos, and dahlias
Whatever you decide to grow this fall/autumn, remember that all your hard work of composting, mulching, weeding, watering, fertilizing, pruning, and deadheading will contribute to a most glorious garden. You may not be able to control every aspect of your plants’ growth but, God willing, combined with your green thumb efforts, you’ll reap quite a harvest of edibles in due time.
Plus, you’ll benefit in bountiful ways from being out in the fresh air in nature as you garden, burn calories (you burn about 150 calories gardening for about 30-45 minutes), and grow organic, nutrient-rich homegrown produce for healthier living for you and your loved ones!
Happy Fall/Autumn & Happy Gardening!