Some might think that the growing season ends at the end of summer. But don’t put your gardening trowel in the toolbox just yet - cultivating during fall is not only possible, but it is also efficient as you will get a headstart harvesting in spring. There are several plants that are well suited to be sown during autumn; we will teach you what plants, and when and how to cultivate them.
There is a variety of common plants that are popular to sow during fall. For example, ramson (also known as wild garlic), green onions, lettuce, carrot, parsnip, different varieties of radishes, and black root are well suited for colder soil and lower temperatures. Several herbs, such as dill, chives, and parsley are also perfect to cultivate during fall.
For our seed bags, you can check on the back of the bags, or under “pre-cultivation instructions” for the seeds we sell in our webshop. There are instructions about preferred planting time, and which weather conditions are best for the seeds. If that information is missing for the seed you want to plant, ask us or your local gardening shop for help.
To succeed with your fall cultivations, it is important to sow the seeds at the right time. During early autumn, the soil is still warm. Cultivating at this point is not a good idea, as the seeds will germinate directly and then die from the frost and cold.
Therefore, fall-friendly plants such as ramson, green onions, carrot, parsnip, black root, different varieties of radishes, lettuce, dill, chives, and parsley, should be sown as late as possible during fall. But not too late; plant them before the frost comes. Sometime in October or November is usually a good time. The soil is at that point cold enough and the plants will therefore hibernate. As the light and heat return in early spring, your seeds will be ready to germinate!
There is also the possibility to cultivate indoors. This is a perfect choice if you, for example, want to cultivate with your kids. Plants such as herbs grow fast indoors, which is positive as kids like to see results fast. During the colder and darker months, your plants will need grow lights in order to germinate and grow.
Here is a complete checklist for cultivating during fall; follow it and you will have a nice harvest to look forward to at the beginning of spring!
1. Cultivate at the right time: Fin out at which point your plants should be sown; during early autumn (September-October) or late autumn (October-November or later)?
2. Clear the soil: Remove pebbles and weeds from the soil to facilitate the sowing of the seeds, and also to clear the way for the plants as they will germinate in spring.
3. Rake the soil: Make an even and nice surface to cultivate on.
4. Add nutrition: For example, mix compost into the soil with the help of a cultivator or gripper.
5. Keep the soil moist: Add water to the soil so that it is moist before you sow.
6. Make garden rows: Use a garden stick or any other pointy object to make rows in which you plant the seeds. This way, you will easily see where you planted what, and the rows will help distinguish the plants if you forgot to mark the different varieties you planted. Also, the garden rows will help you tell sprouts and weeds apart in spring.
7. Sow at the right depth: The recommended depth for specific seeds is often presented on the back of the seed bag.
8. Keep a proper distance between the plants: If you sow the seeds too tightly, you will need to thin out the smallest plants in spring, which can be tricky.
9. Sow evenly: Cut the upper edge of the seed bag and pour the seeds from the bag by tapping with your index finger on it gently. This way, the seeds will fall evenly onto the soil at a proper distance. Alternatively, fold a piece of paper and do the same procedure.
10. Cover with the right amount of soil: The smaller the size of the seeds, the thinner the layer of soil. You can cover really small seeds with a thin layer of soil by sifting over the soil through a colander with tiny holes. Larger seeds should be covered with a layer of soil about 3-5 times the size of the seeds.
11. Mark your plants: Use planting labels to help remind you of where you planted what, once the seeds start to sprout.
12. Water gently: When watering your planted seeds, use a sprinkler that has a nozzle with many small holes. Otherwise, since the seeds are so small, they might fly out of the garden row due to the force of the water. Alternatively, to avoid this, cover the cultivation with non-woven fabric and then water on top of that.
13. Protect your cultivation: Cover it with leaves or non-woven fabric to protect it against hungry birds, frost, and coldness.