Is Fall the Best Time for Vegetable Gardening?

purple cabbageIs Fall the best time for vegetable gardening?  It just might be!  While I adore Spring–can’t wait to get out into that fresh, warm soil, Fall has a lot going for it.  It’s a wonderful time for harvesting late summer produce as well as for planting new seeds.

The sun is warm enough to encourage a few vegetables like cucumbers and beans to continue to produce and ripen.  My late strawberries are ripening more slowly, making them so sweet and juicy I can’t wait to pick some each day.  And I don’t have the competition from the robins I had in the spring for that lovely fruit.

The strawberry plant itself is prolifically sending out all those babies from the mother plant.  I can strategically place the yet-to-be-rooted babies in bare spots for next spring’s production.  I typically use the strawberry plant as a decorative ground cover throughout the garden.  It grows under the raspberries acting as a mulch for the roots, holding in the moisture, while producing lucious fruit.  It is also a part of my new lawn replacement program in the front yard.  While the strawberry plant is not evergreen, like the rest of the ground cover plants I’m using, the plant itself is beautifully full and will maximize all my soil space for a little food production.

I nibble each herb as I harvest for drying or freezing.  So sweet! The flavors have developed beautifully. Thanks to the evenly warm days and cooler nights, the plant can fully develop its sugars.  Although, I have to be careful as I forage since I’ll encounter a drowsy bee or two.  The bees are more docile, but they can still sting.

As I’m rooting around the soil, cutting herbs, I can shake loose the seed heads from the dill and parsley so they’ll re-seed for new herbs this fall.  I’ll be able to cut them all winter, even when it snows, because I’ve created microclimates. Then I can inter-plant with all the ‘cut and come-again’ salad greens like heirloom curly kale, mesclun greens, spinach and baby pak choi.

BunBun nibbling
BunBun loves to nibble

BunBun loves the mint and drying pink lavender, but I’ll take the Italian parsley, tricolor sage and a few nasturtiums to flavor my freshly dug, roasted potatoes.  The mint will be fresh until we get a hard freeze, but the lavender stems are already drying on the plant.  I can take the time to prune and shape the lavender plants, then bundle the stems for hanging and drying from twine on the ceiling of the laundry room.  BunBun gets lavender treats all winter and I get the fragrance throughout the house.

Yes, Fall is the best time of year for vegetable gardening–harvesting, planting and to just plain enjoy.

In sync with nature,

Tova Roseman
Earth Diva