It’s the first of September, you’re excited again to be able to begin anew starting a new growing cycle, a rebirth! Your Spring and Summer garden, discussed in a previous article “Natures Garden“, is pretty much quit producing, and it’s time to clear out your garden of the dead and dying plants, breaking that material up in pieces and starting a new compost pile. You know you should always have a compost pile with black gold compost ready to use and one in the process of cooking, and a new one you will start now. Add fresh compost from your oldest compost pile, tilling it in the tops 6 inches of your garden beds. You have been able to freeze a whole Winter supply of fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds. More on that shortly. Your thoughts turn to an old quote on value of gardening by Voltaire.
The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.
Here is your fall garden planting guide, so follow it closely. Pull any weeds that that may have grown in your beds with your weeder tool , because it’ll get all the root, too, and discard of them. DO NOT place them in your compost pile! On removing dried dead flower plants, I always leave at least 2 sunflower plants standing with 8 or 10 seed pods for all the birds to enjoy in the early part of Winter, because food is tough to come by and our neighbors come in droves to feed on the seed pods. It’s quit a sight to see a Blue Jay hanging upside down on a seed pod removing sun flower seeds to eat.
You’ve had a very successful Spring and Summer garden, producing tons of fresh veggies, fruits, nuts, and seeds, more than enough for you and your family, friends, and neighbors, to eat and enjoy all Summer long. Plus you were able to replenish your walk-in freezer with veggies and fruits for the long Winter ahead, by blanching them and then you placed them in ice water, drained them on paper towels, and fresh-froze them in 3 (one bag inside the other) lunch-size brown paper bags, so it’s tripled-bagged.
You folded the bags as tight as possible and stapled them closed, and labeled them, prior to freezing them. Of course, blanching, or boiling the vegetables in water, is the best method for preserving the quality of the food you’re freezing, because it stops oxidation and enzyme actions which otherwise cause loss of flavor, color and texture. Blanching times will vary on the type of veggie you’re blanching. So, use this quick reference table in this Clemson Cooperate Extension article.
We also like freezing in brown bags better because you don’t have a problem of chemicals leaching out of plastic freezer bags, plus, the tripled-bags keep all light out and preserves freshness longer, and you’ll have very little frost form inside the paper bags or experience freezer burn.
You were able to freeze yellow squash and zucchini cut up in slices for future dishes and casseroles, snap beans, speckled butter beans, Italian romas, for cooking later, white corn on the cob, and cut corn, tomatoes, whole and cut up, green peppers and poblanos, with the tops cut off and made ready for stuffing later in the Winter, okra, sliced for rolling in seasoned cornmeal and frying, and the smaller ones whole for boiling, carrots, cut in slices diagonally, strawberries, peaches, cut in pieces, for pies and ice cream, blueberries, and blackberries. You also prepared several large freezer bags of diced green peppers, poblanos, red onions, garlic, green onions, and shallots, for seasoning when you need them. In smaller individual bags, you froze separately herbs of cilantro, parsley, oregano, basil, and chives. You have got quit a Winter’s bounty of fresh, nutrient-dense fruits and veggies, seeds and nuts, prepared and in the freezer, that will taste really good when it’s 15 degrees outside and snowing sideways.
Preparing Your Raised Beds
On the raised beds that you will use for your fall garden, you will add at least a 2 to 4-inch layer of freshly prepared, nutrient-rich compost (black gold) from your compost pile, rake it over the garden soil evenly and turn it and mix it with your garden fork (1), or till it in with your rotary tiller, readying the beds for planting. You then visit your favorite local nursery and buy young organic seedling transplant plants of 24 broccoli, 12 cabbage, 12 butternut squash, 12 spaghetti squash, 12 cauliflower, 12 Brussels sprouts, and 12 tomatoes.
You also pick up organic heirloom packets of seeds of turnip greens, field peas, kale, butter lettuce, butter peas, and carrots. The fall garden will use almost the entire raised bed area for the exception of the 4 outer raised beds, 2 on the end on the right and 2 on the end on the left, of the garden. In those four beds you won’t be using, you will supplement with at least 12 inches of fresh compost, and till it in so those beds will be ready for planting next Spring. Now you’re ready to start planting using the following plan:
Planting Your Raised Beds
5 Foot By 12 Foot Far Left Front Bed. Using the edge of a hoe, make 3 shallow troughs (no more than one inch deep), equally spaced, in the soil for 6 feet down the bed running length-wise. Sprinkle the kale seeds in the troughs, as equally spaced as possible, cover with topsoil and pack the entire bed down lightly with the head of your garden rake, and say grow, with a smile. In the back 6 feet of the bed, transplant the 12 young Brussels sprout plants peat pot included, the same depth as the soil, in to equally-divided holes. Pull the soil up around each peat pot and pack down with your rake.
5 Foot By 12 Foot Far Left Back Bed. Transplant 24 broccoli plants peat pot and all (2), equally spaced in 5 foot by 12 foot bed, in the same manner as the Brussels sprouts.
5 Foot By 12 Foot Next Left Front Bed. Make 24 equally-spaced shallow one and half inches deep holes in the bed, plant 2 or 3 seeds of the butter peas in each hole, cover with soil, and pack the entire bed down lightly with rake.
5 Foot By 12 Foot Next Left Rear Bed. Make 24 equally-spaced one and half inch holes in the bed, plant 2 or 3 seeds of field peas in each hole, cover with soil, and pack the entire bed down lightly.
5 Foot By 12 Foot Right Front Bed. Make 3 equally-spaced one inch deep troughs running length-wise 12 feet, sprinkle turnip green seeds, as equally spaced as possible in troughs, cover with topsoil, and pack down the entire bed with rake.
5 Foot By 12 Foot Right Rear Bed.
In the first 6 feet of the bed, make 12 equally-spaced holes, then transplant the young red cabbage plants, peat pot and all, pull the topsoil up around each pot, and lightly pack down lightly the entire part of bed. In the back 6 feet, transplant the 12 tomatoes plants in equally-spaced holes, pot and all, pull topsoil up around pot, and lightly pack down that area of bed.
It’s a little late to plant tomatoes because they have a long growing season, but you will still be able to produce enough ripe tomatoes on the lower vines before the first frost of the Winter to enjoy fresh, that makes it all worthwhile. You’ll most likely have many green tomatoes that haven’t ripened, on the top half of the plants that you’ll have to pick so they don’t freeze, which is also good, because you can slice them and roll them in seasoned-cornmeal and have fried green tomatoes, and slice and freeze the others for later. Fried green tomatoes are quite a threat! There is another option, you can use reusable plant protection bags to cover at least some of your tomatoes plants and extend the growing season. These bags are relatively inexpensive (like $4.00 each) and reusable season after season.
5 Foot By 12 Foot Far Right Front Bed. Make 3 troughs one and half inches deep equally spaced down the bed 6 feet, sprinkle the butter lettuce seeds in the troughs as equally spaced as possible, cover the troughs with topsoil, and lightly pack down the entire planting area. In the back 6 foot of this bed, make 3 more shallow troughs, sprinkle carrots seeds loosely in troughs, cover with topsoil, and lightly pack down the back part of this bed.
5 Foot By 12 Foot Far Right Rear Bed. Make 12 equally-spaced shallow holes and transplant young butternut squash peat pot and all, pull topsoil up around pots, and pack down lightly entire front area of bed. In the back 6 feet of bed, make 12 equally-spaced shallow holes, and transplant the young spaghetti squash in the same manner as the butternut squash.
Final Touches. Use your oscillating sprinkler, set to a gentle spray, and wet the entire raised-bed area giving it a good soaking, but don’t overdo it, so you don’t run the risk of washing-out the newly planted seeds. Use some sticks with the used seed packs attached and label each of your seeded-areas, so you’ll know what’s planted where.
Look for your planted seeds to emerge from the ground in 7 to 10 days, and that’s when you will be glad that you followed the fall gardening planting guide, and you realize that all the hard work has been worth it! After the seedlings get 2 true leaves, thin out over-crowded ones by pinching out the top of the plants, or clip them with small scissors. You don’t want to try to pull the plants out because their roots could be intertwined and you pull out more than you intend to. Take a deep breath and watch them grow into healthy, nutrient-dense vegetable-producing plants in the coming weeks!
Health and Wellness Benefits Of Your Fall Veggies
Broccoli. When it comes to great-tasting nutrition, broccoli, a cruciferous vegetable, is an all-star food with many health benefits. While low in calories, broccoli is rich in essential vitamins and minerals, in addition to fiber. Broccoli contains sulforophane, a sulfur-based compound present in many cruciferous vegetables. Researchers are studying the antioxidant and anti-cancer properties of sulforophane and have come to some interesting conclusions, but nothing definitive yet, so more studies are underway.
This NIH study provides insight into the potential for broccoli micro-greens to provide a dense source of minerals and other nutrients. Quoting NIH:
Micro-green production could also diversify the average diet, as broccoli is only one of many nutrient-rich micro-greens that can be easily produced and consumed by individuals.
It contains Vitamin K which is essential for the functioning of many proteins involved in blood clotting. Vitamin C is present, which builds collagen, and forms body tissue and bone, and helps wounds heal. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and protects the body from damaging free radicals, which is huge. Broccoli contains a lot of fiber and foods high in fiber promote digestive health. A high fiber intake can also help lower cholesterol. It contains ample amount of potassium, a mineral and electrolyte that is essential for the function of nerves and heart contraction. And last but not least, folates, or folic acid, which is necessary for the production and maintenance of new cells in the body.
Brussels Sprouts. Like broccoli, Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous veggie, low in calories but high in many nutrients, especially fiber, vitamin K and vitamin C, and provides the same health benefits like broccoli. In addition to the nutrients above, Brussels sprouts contain small amounts of vitamin B6, potassium, iron, thiamine, magnesium and phosphorus.
Kale. Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, low in calories, high in antioxidants, containing beta-carotene, it is loaded with all sorts of beneficial compounds, some of which have powerful medicinal properties. Kale contains very little fat, but a large portion of the fat in it is the form of an omega-3 fatty acid. Kale is loaded with vitamins A, K, C, B6, and minerals manganese, potassium, manganese, and copper. As broccoli and it’s possible anti-cancer properties, it contains sulforophane, lowers cholesterol, and has all of the same benefits of broccoli. Laboratory studies have shown that glucosinolates in kale, which are the plants first line of defense, inhibit inflammatory processes, prevent the growth and spread of tumor cells, and protect healthy cells.
Field Peas and Butter Peas. These peas are also rich in polyphenol antioxidants, which are likely responsible for many of their health benefits. Most peas are fairly low in calories and contain all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants you need to be healthy. They’re also high in fiber and protein. Field peas and butter peas are one of the best plant-based sources of protein, which is a major reason why they are so filling, along with their high amount of fiber for good digestion. They also increases the levels of certain hormones in your body that reduces appetite.
Turnip Greens. Turnip greens, which has the same health benefits as kale, but our favorite choice because of taste, and you can eat the root, too, are an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, as in the form of beta carotene and lutein, vitamin C, folate, copper, manganese, dietary fiber, calcium, vitamin E and vitamin B6. You could also choose mustard greens, or bok choy. They are a very good source of potassium, magnesium, pantothenic acid, vitamin B2, iron and phosphorus. Turnip greens contain glucosinolates, which are unique sulfur-containing nutrients that are well-known for their link to cancer prevention as well as their ability to support detox processes within our cells.
Red Cabbage. Despite its impressive nutrient content, cabbage is often overlooked. Cabbage has basically the same nutrient-dense properties and health benefits of broccoli, and particularly rich in vitamin B6 and folate, both of which are essential for many important processes in the body, including energy metabolism and the normal functioning of the nervous system. It is also especially high in vitamin C, which protects against inflammation, heart disease, certain cancers, and loss of vision.
Tomatoes. Tomatoes are the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. They are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin K. Increasing evidence from clinical trials shows that lycopene supplementation is effective at lowering LDL cholesterol. Low levels of lycopene and beta carotene are linked to increase risk of heart attacks and strokes. Clinical trials of tomato products have also shown benefit against inflammation and markers of oxidative stress. Observational studies have found links between tomatoes, tomato products, and fewer incidences of prostate, lung, and stomach cancers.
Butter Lettuce. This food is low in Sodium, and very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It is also a great source of Folates, thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, and a very good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin A (beta carotene), Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, iron, potassium and manganese. Vitamin A is beneficial for skin and eye health and mucus membranes such as the lips. Lettuce is also a good source of vitamin K, which stimulates osteotrophic activity in the bones and can help increase bone mass. People suffering from Alzheimer’s disease also benefit from vitamin K as it limits neurological damage in the brain, per this NIH study. Furthermore, butter lettuce contains vitamin C, which helps the body fight off infectious agents such as viruses.
Carrots. Carrots are high in antioxidants, beta carotene, and also rich in vitamins, such as A and K, minerals, and fiber, and we have all heard since we were a child, “Eat your carrots so you don’t go blind!” Well, there a lot of truth in eating carrots and your sight, according to tons of research! A variety of dietary carotenoids have been shown to have anti-cancer effects, due to their antioxidant power in reducing free radicals in the body. Consuming more beta carotene may reduce the risk of colon cancer, and studies have found that carrot juice extract could kill leukemia cells or inhibit their progression.
Butternut and Spaghetti Squash. Winter squash such as butternut and spaghetti, has high levels of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, which converts to Vitamin A, a good source of vitamin C, healthy source of fiber, and is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and polysaccharides, which help regulate or control blood sugar and lowering blood pressure. According to an NIH study, polysaccharides not only lowered blood sugar levels but also reduced total triglyceride level, and…
were effective in blocking cascade of inflammatory events in the treatment of T2DM (type 2 diabetes) to block overweight progresses to obesity.
Save the seeds that you scoop out of your winter squash! Seeds are a healthy and delicious snack food and can prepared the same way as pumpkin seeds.
The Missing Fall Vegetable
Unfortunately, the one, and best, nutrient-dense, organic, non-GMO, whole-food, vegetable plant, you will not be able to grow in your Fall garden in the US, is the Adaptogen, Peruvian Maca. P Maca is a cruciferous root plant similar to a turnip, and most likely a distant relative, but with far-greater health benefits and healing properties, than any of the cruciferous veggies you will be planting in your garden. Don’t misunderstand, all the vegetables recommended are great for health and should be planted and eaten, it’s just that P Maca is by far the best! Not only can you not get the young seedling transplants to plant directly in your garden, you can’t get the seeds either.
The Peruvian Government does not allow the export of any fresh form of Peruvian Maca, including the whole root, because it’s considered a heritage plant. However, outside of Peru, we are able to get fresh forms of P Maca in powder, gelatinized, and in pieces. If you are interested in learning more about this incredible healing plant and why you should be supplementing with it, read these articles “What Is In Maca Root?“, and “What’s Healthy Living?” If for some reason, you decide not to plant a fall garden, you will still want to find a good source for fresh, nutrient-dense, organic, non-GMO, vegetables, and you can get that information in the “What’s Healthy Living?” article, and this article “Where Can I Buy Maca”
One final thought on nature’s bounty, and it was best said by Mahatma Gandhi….
Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed
Are you going to take advantage of your fall garden planting guide, when the time comes? Or, do you still have question? If so, please leave your questions or comments below.
(1) Learn To Grow Video
(2) Learn Organic Gardening At Growing Your Greens Video
For you ladies, before you leave, request your FREE 7-night trial sample of JULVA! And, you men, go ahead and request a free sample for your better-half.