Tag Archives: fall

3 Reasons to Transplant Lettuce

Lettuce is a perfect crop for cool season gardening. The incredible array of varieties brings a colorful assortment to fall, winter, and spring meals. As you’re planting your fall crops there are a number of lettuces to choose from. You can sow loose leaf mixes, romaine, bibb, or crisphead lettuce. If you’re growing a heading variety you may want to consider starting your lettuce indoors and transplanting seedlings out.

  1. Better germination.

    Starting a fall garden often means seeding cool weather crops in hot weather. Starting seeds indoors, in a cool place typically means better germination rates. Lettuce doesn’t need light to germinate so you can set them in a basement or root cellar even if it’s dark until they germinate. Alternatively you can set them in the refrigerator for the first night.

  2. No wasted space.

    Having reliable, healthy seedlings means you waste less space in your garden. When you’re planting a fall garden you’re often dealing with restricted space, only planting what you have a cold frames, row cover, or a hoop house to protect. You also have a relatively small window to get crops started. Setting out transplants means that you can make the most of every square in of your garden. You won’t have patches where seed failed to germinate as we discussed above.

  3. More time.

    Having transplants started also means that that you have a little more leeway for when you plant. It’s essential to get fall crops started on time so that they get established before the temperatures drop.

 

Growing Transplants

Start your lettuce in flats or soil blocks of moist, quality potting mix. Keep them somewhere cool at least until they germinate. Once germinated your lettuce should be placed under lights or somewhere they get direct sunlight. Lettuce should be transplanted when the plants are between 2-3 inches tall.

Transplanting

You should harden off your lettuce plants 7-10 days before transplanting. Bring them outdoors for a few hours, increasing the length of time each day. Prepare your bed by loosening the soil and adding compost if available.

Plant your lettuce at the same depth as they were in the pot. Even if they’re leggy, don’t bury the stem. Lettuce stems won’t grow roots like tomatoes and some other plants. Water them in after planting and keep the soil moist especially as they get established. Be sure to have your season extenders ready to go in case of frost.

 

August Planting

August is generally thought of as harvest season. Many gardeners are busy canning tomatoes, curing winter squash, and trying to figure out exactly how to use all that zucchini. No matter where you live you can also plant in Agust. Exactly what you can plant when varies depending on your climate.

Below you’ll find a few great varieties for August planting. To find out more specific about your climate and when you should plant check out The Farmer’s Almanac First and Last Frost Date Calculator, our post Everything You Need to Know About Plant Hardiness Zones, or this handy Frost Zone Map from The Spruce.

Tatsoi Mustard

Cool Climates

In cool climates, August planting can be a challenge. Your area may still be experiencing hot temperatures but won’t be for very long. You’ll need to select varieties with short seasons and some cold tolerance. If it’s still hot in your area these cool-season crops may need extra care to germinate and get started. Be sure to keep them moist and use shade cloth and/or mulch to keep the soil cool if needed. Those in cool climates may also want to consider some form of season extension which is discussed later in this post. Here are just a few good varieties to plant this August.

American Purple Top Yellow Rutabaga

Warm Climates

Those who live in warmer climates (especially zone 8 and farther south) will be able to plant more heat-loving vegetables in August than you could further north. However, some fall crops like spinach and radishes that are great for cool climates will have trouble germinating in the heat and may need to be planted later. Here are just a few good varieties to plant this August.

Other Plants

There are many other varieties that can be planted in August. Root crops like carrots, beets, turnips and rutabagas are all great choices. You can also look at cold hardy brassicas and greens.

You can also plant or begin planning to add perennials to your garden. Perennials like fruit trees and rhubarb transplants are an excellent way to add to your garden this fall. They should be planted several weeks before the ground freezes so they can get established. Be sure too keep them watered even though it’s cool.

Season Extension

August is also a good time to think about season extension. You’ll be able to grow crops farther into the winter if you can provide them some protection. Depending on your budget you may consider setting up cold frames, low tunnels, or even a hoop house. Cold frames and low tunnels tend to be the quickest and most budget-friendly options. Cold frames can be made from simple materials and like straw bales and old windows and may help you grow cold-hardy greens right through the winter.

Easy Season Extension For Fall

A gardener’s work is never done! Keep planting this August with a few of these awesome varieties.

 

DIY Autumn Wellness Tea

In my mind fall is this perfect time of year when we welcome the cool crisp air, autumn festivities, and the break from a busy summer season. It’s a time for crafts and reading and enjoying and celebrating the harvest with family and friends.

Unfortunately the reality is that autumn is usually just as busy as summer. There’s always more gardening projects whether it’s repairing tools for next year or putting up the last of this year’s peppers. Throw that in with visits from relatives, less sun exposure and vitamin D, tons of stress, and unhealthy food and you get the start of flu season!

One of my favorite ways to try and combat this problem, besides learning when to take a break, is to drink herbal tea. I’m not willing to give up my Halloween goodies or Thanksgiving feast but I can still make sure my body is getting some of the good stuff.

My favorite autumn tea blend includes the following herbs.

Echinacea any variety

Echinacea is an excellent herb for this time of year because studies have shown that it make act as an immuno-stimulant and even increase the production of white blood cells. All parts of the plant can be dried and used for tea. If you haven’t grown it yet it’s fairly easy to cultivate and is perennial in zones 3-9.

Ginger

While ginger certainly adds nice flavor to this blend it too has medicinal properties that are great for fall. Ginger is high in vitamin C, magnesium, and other important minerals. It also helps with nausea, heartburn, inflammation, and respiratory ailments.Plus it adds a nice warmth to this fall beverage.

Catnip

Not just for cats, catnip is actually very beneficial for humans. It has a calming effect and contains high levels of vitamins C and E to help keep your immune system strong. Catnip is another easy herb to grow and is perennial in zones 4-10.

Licorice Root *optional*

If you’d like your tea a bit sweet without the added sugar consider adding some licorice root. Beyond its flavor licorice root also has the added benefit of soothing upset stomachs and easing coughs. I put it as optional as its flavor is not everyone’s favorite.

 

To make the tea blend 4 TBS of dried echinacea, with 2 tsp of dried ginger, 2 TBS of dried catnip, and 1 TBS of dried licorice root (or more to your taste) in a small jar. Then steep 1 TBS of tea mix per 8oz of boiling water for 5 minutes. You may find you like it stronger and can use more than 1 TBS.

If you wish you can use a tea ball or strain the herbs out before drinking your tea.

 

Enjoy your tea, your harvest, and all the important people and events in your life this autumn. Stay healthy and happy!

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