Planting a Fall Garden

Ahh, can you smell the crisp smell of fall in the air? Well that can mean only one thing! It’s a great time to plant your fall garden! Here’s a quick guide to help you know how to get those plants in the ground!

How to Begin: If you have a garden established already, clear out any dead or diseased summer plants.

Add some compost: An inch of compost applied to the top of the soil and then worked in with a tiller, shovel or rake will give your plants plenty of organic matter to grow

Add an organic all purpose soil fertilizer like Garden-tone available at your local hardware store. Add the recommended amount on the packaging and work into the soil

Now you are ready to plant!

What to plant? Here is an easy to follow planting guide for our region: Central North Carolina Planting Calendar

These are great vegetables to plant as transplants:




Brussel Sprouts



Swiss Chard



How to plant transplants: At the garden when we plant we like to give our transplants a little boost before they go into the garden

Soak the transplants, still in the 4 packs, in a weak solution of water and fish emulsion about a 1/4 cup per gallon. Fish emulsion is an organic fertilizer that is in liquid form, so the plants are able to take the nutrients up right away as opposed to the granular fertilizer you added to the soil that will breakdown and be available over time.

Here at the garden we like the Neptune’s Harvest Seaweed and Fish Fertilizer and we are now testing a new LOCALLY made fish emulsion called Brown’s Fish Fertilizer, made right here in the mountain of NC

Soak the transplants in a shallow tray so the water is even with the top of the top of whatever the transplants are in.

Let soak 10-15 minutes

Remove transplants from fish emulsion solution (warning, you will smell a bit fishy, so don’t wear your Sunday best for this!)

Plant! Dig a nice big hole, loosen the roots when you remove the plant from the tray, set in the ground up to the base of transplant. Fill the hole back in, gently pack dirt around plants with your hands and water in!

But what about all of those other great fall crops??! Like carrots,cilantro, turnips, beets, arugula, mustards, parsnips, radish, and spinach?!

Well those my friends are what are called “direct seeded!”

This means you buy the seed,

Check the package for how deep and how far apart to sow the seed

Make a furrow with a garden trowel, your finger, a stick, hoe, whatever you like

Drop the seed in

Cover  and water lightly but thoroughly

Remember no matter if it’s transplants or direct seed keep these watered well for the first week or so, they are baby plants just getting established so keeping them well watered at this stage is critical

Also scout for pests, they can eat fall transplants in the blink of an eye (trust me I know from experience)

The worst one now is the Cabbage Looper caterpillar who looks like this:

You can hand pick them off, be sure to check the undersides of leaves,

Use a cover over the plants so the moths cannot lay eggs on the plants,

Or use an organically approved spray called Bt that is a bacteria that kills the caterpillars when they eat a plant that has been sprayed with Bt

Fall is a wonderful time to grow greens, and tasty root crops! Enjoy and get out there and get dirty!