fall garden
gardening

Why I Ripped Up My Garden in the Middle of the Summer

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Anytime a family member or friend comes over, their first comment is “Wow, look at the garden!” It’s lush, overflowing, and beautiful.

But it got the point where even though the garden was full of plants, I told my husband, “I feel sad about my garden.” He was surprised and was like, “why?! It’s full of plants!”

I explained that even with the boxes overflowing, most of the food in it was ready to be harvested. I had two patches of kohlrabi that were ready to be pulled. I had a bed of beets ready to go. I had one failed, sad bed of carrots I was ready to pull I’d already harvested all the potatoes. I’d just pulled both patches of peas. All 4 of my garden beds had been cleared at least a little with some losing about half of their contents!

I’m not sure if it’s a good thing that I can look at a happy, full garden and see it as empty, but the funny thing about gardening is that it’s just as much about what’s in the garden as what’s not. The plants in the garden right now are only temporary; they’ll die or be harvested at some point. After they leave, something else will take their place. I have to see both gardens at the same time: the one here right now and the one I’m planning for.

In fact, I think most gardeners have some of this mindset all the time. In the winter, we let our beds rest or grow a few cold hardy crops. We start to imagine the spring and summer garden, starting seeds inside or creating a map of what we want to plant. In the spring, we visualize the summer plants like tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. In the summer, we start to plan for fall and in the fall, we start thinking about winter. It’s a seasonal way of living that keeps me grounded and rooted. Gardening is incredibly slow and incredibly fast at the same time. I’m shocked to imagine all the salad, kale, peas, herbs, kohlrabi, beets, onions, and potatoes I’ve already harvested in just the past 3 months!

I decided that the longer I waited to harvest everything and plant my fall crops, the longer I’d feel like my garden was in an awkward in-between stage and the less likely I’d be to actually get some food before winter. When the plants were out, the garden would look even more bare, but then I could plant seeds and get ready for the fall garden!

How do I know what plants to sow? I always consult this gardening guide.

I had to tell myself that since it’s July, seeds would germinate really quickly and I’d get to enjoy watching the garden grow again right away!

My fall garden changes

Pull a patch of beets, carrots, and kohlrabi —> plant half the space with a final crop of Dragon Tongue beans and some European Mesclun salad mix.

fall garden

A bed of peas –> a row of cilantro and a row of arugula

A big patch of potatoes –> an interplanted mix of cauliflower starts nestled between allysum with a large row of arugula in the middle; a row of cilantro and a row of escarole

A smaller patch of kohlrabi –> a row of fennel, kale, and two seed-starting plots for sprouting broccoli and cabbage

Another bed of peas –> even more cilantro (tomatoes are coming!)

I also added fertilizer throughout the garden to support the existing plants and replenish lost nutrients from my earlier crops.

How to Start Seeds for Transplant the Easy Way

Once the seeds I start for broccoli and cabbage are larger, I’ll transplant them into separate beds. I find that starting seeds in the garden directly is incredibly easy and effective! I simply sprinkle seeds in a specific patch closer than I’d normally grow them to allow the seeds to grow. Once the plants are big enough to transplant, I remove the plants and transplant them directly into their new locations.

This system works really well for me. I sometimes start seeds out of the garden bed in little nursery pots, but only when I don’t have extra space. This is how I started my cauliflower.

I’m not done planting yet!

It’s still not too late to plant even more for the fall garden. I’ll definitely be planting a lot of greens, especially endive, escarole, salad mixes, and kale. I’m considering planting more carrots but honestly, carrots never do that well for me! I know that the beans will end soon and then the tomatoes and squashes…I’m excited to have so many opportunities for a fresh start and look forward to extending the season with some cool weather crops!

What do you love to plant in your fall garden? Tell me below!

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Rachael

Rachael is a schoolteacher who loves to grow her own produce in her backyard garden, cook from scratch, and update vintage furniture for her farmhouse look. She lives in Western Washington with her husband and her cat.

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Karen
Karen
2 months ago

Your grandpa is very proud of you!

NancyC
2 months ago

Wow–you’ve really harvested a lot from your garden! It sounds like your fall garden with be brimming with wonderful things, too! 🙂

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[…] Plus, arugula matures quickly, too. In just a few weeks, you can go from seed to harvest! The leaves have an amazing, slightly peppery flavor. I really, really appreciate that arugula is not thin and papery like most lettuces. It is great served raw in a salad or wilted over hot, fresh pasta. Because it is so flexible in the kitchen and easy to grow, I count this as my number one must-grow crop and recommend it to ALL new gardeners! It’s also ideal for your fall garden! […]