Fall is upon us and now is an ideal time to explore gardening or revisit it if it’s been a while. Tending to a garden can be a way to escape the outside world, a serene and relaxing outdoor hobby where you can enjoy nature. And nothing compares to home-grown vegetables.
Here are some quick and easy tips for gardeners this Fall:
- Choose the spot. If this is your first time, you’ll want to start small which can be a space around 6X6 for beginners. You do want to ensure the space has optimal sunlight and easy access to water. The fastest-growing vegetables need full sun (at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight a day) without blockage from trees, shrubs, or fences. Check the space at different times to see it’s sunlight coverage.
- Grow What You Love. You will get the most from your garden if you produce what you and your family will eat. Vegetables that do best in the Fall include beet, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrot, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, endive, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, leek, head and leaf lettuce, mesclun mixes, onion, pea, radish, spinach, snow peas, Swiss chard and turnip.
- Soil matters. The better the soil, the better your vegetables will grow and taste. Rich, healthy soil is obvious once you’ve felt it, it’s easy to dig and drains well. Soil that isn’t the best may feel gritty, sandy or powdery. One of the best ways to improve soil is by adding organic matter. You can mulch with all kinds of materials. You can read more about that here.
- Proper watering is key. If your vegetables don’t get enough water, they may not grow and too much water can drown the roots. It’s best to strike just the right balance. Using a watering nozzle at ground level is best and to make it super convenient, hook your hose up to a timer. You can set it and tend to other areas of the garden.
- The time to pick and eat can depend. Different vegetables will ripen at various times over the season and picking too early can produce bitter or tasteless vegetables. Lettuce for example is best picked when they are moderately firm and about six inches in diameter. And broccoli is best when the buds are compact and before the buds turn yellow or open into flowers. Its best to do some online research dependent on which vegetables you choose to grow and check plants daily, so you don’t miss out on perfect timing.
Your gardening journey can be very enjoyable, especially when you begin to see results. With thought, care, and attention, you are one step closer to home-grown vegetables. Your best gardening tricks can then be passed down to future generations.
Inter Valley Health Plan hosts several online “Master Gardener” classes. Click here to view their Vitality class calendar and to RSVP to any of their classes. Visit Inter Valley’s blog at https://blogs.ivhp.com/blog-2/ for tips on health, lifestyle, Medicare Advantage and living a life full of vitality.