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Planting leafy veggies for fall harvest

by Dave Owens, The Garden Guy / Special to azfamily.com

azfamily.com

Posted on August 15, 2013 at 7:37 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 4:29 PM

PHOENIX -- As we start to go into fall soon we want to start considering what types of leafy veggies we want to plant so we can harvest them before the first frost season. As previously mentioned in the last segment we talked about preparing your soils in your garden and that is important to having a successful garden.

As the temperatures start to cool down, it is time to start considering what you want to plant. Cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, kale, chard, spinach, parsley and lettuce are some
great ones to start with between September and December. Each of the veggies has different
tolerances to the cold so harvesting times will vary and some can even be picked when the
leaves are still young or you can wait till they get mature.

It is best to do some research on each to find the best times to harvest. There are so many varieties to choose from. Plant what will suit you and your family. It is best to plant a variety so you can enjoy a mix in your garden.

If you are going to plant by seed or transplant, something important to look at is what will grow in our environment successfully. Try to buy new seed. Seeds over a year old might not germinate well, but it depends on how they were stored. Saving seeds from previous harvests is always a great thing, but make sure they are sealed and stored in cool areas. Transplants can be purchased at many nurseries. You should make sure they look healthy and have strong roots. Of course, avoid transplants that are already wilting or have yellowed leaves. Transplants can be harvested sooner than seeds but always handle them with care as they can also be fragile.

Some steps to remember

• Have your garden layout ready and mark what has been planted and where so you can keep track of it.

• Grow a variety and see what grows best for you in your area and how you can improve for next time on the ones that don’t do great.

• Find good seeds and or healthy transplants you will plant.

• Make sure the soils have been prepared and you have planted the seeds or transplants properly. (Transplants need to be planted slightly deeper than what it was in the container.)

• Water your garden. Keep the soils moist but try not to over water . If the soil is dry, you aren’t watering enough.

• Apply mulch when necessary and remove any weeds that could have potentially grown but do not add any types of weed preventers that are harmful.

• Harvest veggies when they are at their peak (will vary depending on what was planted). You might encounter some pests, as well, or your own dogs or cats might go through the garden so properly enclosing it with a mesh fence to try and keep them out can help but do not block the sunlight.

Remember: If you plant anything by seed, you must keep that seed moist until it germinates or you can place it in a pot inside your home if the temperatures have not dropped yet. A dry seed is a dead seed.

Watering rule: Be sure the water penetrates at least 6 inches into the ground each time you water. And make sure to cover the surrounding soil with 2 to 4 inches of mulch.

Fertilizing tip: Keep it organic! Fish emulsion and liquid seaweed or my Extreme Juice are
wonderful fertilizers. When the weather gets cooler, try mixing a little liquid humate into your
fertilizer. It will break things down and make it easier for plant roots to absorb the nutrients.
 

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Well-known gardening guru David Owens, aka "The Garden Guy," shows experienced and novice gardeners alike how to grow organic foods in hostile climates (all desert climates) and land. For more information, check out GardenGuy.com or PocoVerde.com. If you have a gardening question, you can email gardenguy@gardenguy.com.

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