July is in full swing, and we’re finally experiencing some legitimate summer weather—just in time to start thinking about the onset of fall. It’s getting close to the time of year when gardeners begin planning and prepping their fall vegetable gardens.
Anyone that has been gardening throughout the summer won’t have much to do—a quick refresh will often be enough to keep these gardens going into the fall. If you’re starting your garden up for the first time this year, however, there are some cleaning tasks that will need to be undertaken to get it ready for your fall vegetable garden.
- Weeding: It’s critical to get weeds out of your garden before you begin amending the soil and clearing out other issues in order to prevent them from hijacking nutrients and taking root in your garden beds.
- Clearing the rot: Spent plants, fallen fruits, and other garden debris must be cleaned out. These items will begin to deteriorate and rot, causing rampant disease and pests.
Preparing the Soil
- Loosen it up: If your soil is compacted, you can use a garden fork or similar tool to loosen up the top layers. This allows roots and nutrients to travel through the soil more easily, making for happier and healthier plants.
- Amend your soil: Now is a good time to test your soil, especially if you haven’t done it in a while. Remember that you can send soil samples to your local lab for highly accurate results that outline any issues and recommend products that will help you get your soil back in tip-top shape.
- Refresh your mulch: If you have mulch from the summer, it’s time to pull it all up. You might be able to reuse some of it, but any mulch that has begun to deteriorate should be composted and replaced with fresh mulch to keep your garden free of pests and disease.
It’s important to know which USDA planting zone you’re in to determine which vegetables are best to plant during the fall. Maryland ranges between zones 5-7—while there will be some overlap, each zone has its own unique features that determine what will grow and what will struggle.
Anyone in this zone should have their fall vegetable garden planted around late August or early September.
Anyone in this zone should have their fall vegetable garden planted around early or mid-September.
- Chinese Cabbage
- Collard Greens
- Irish Potatoes
- Mustard Greens
- Swiss Chard
It’s recommended to plant your fall vegetable garden in Zone 7 in early August.
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