This is a very critical part of any garden scheme. Do not plant the same fall or winter vegetable crops in the same location as they were planted the previous year or the summer season. It is important to note that if the same crop is planted in the same location, not only will the soil be weakened through continual loss of the same nutrients but the plants will also attract the same insects and diseases to that part of the garden.
FALL Garden Bed of Beets, Swiss Chard and Borage
It's only August but it's never too early to start thinking about our FALL Garden!
Even in September it’s not too late to plant a fall crop. Vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, radishes and peas are hearty decisions for climates that are likely to encounter frost. Vegetables like beets, carrots, cauliflower, and other lettuces can also tolerate a light frost and will still yield a good harvest if you get them started in early October.
Something I read that really stuck with me, "The gardener feeds the plant, the organic gardener feeds the soil."
If you plan on planting a fall garden, a little planning can go a long way.
Pull up old or dying plants. Add disease-free debris to your compost pile/bin. Do not compost diseased plants as this could further spread disease.
REPLENISH YOUR SOIL!
Whether you plant to let your garden rest after Summer gardening or you plan to plant fall crops, giving back to your soil is important.
Adding fresh compost or essential minerals and nutrients is a must for healthy soil.
RADISH! If you grew spindly radish or your radish did not form a "bulb," that usually means that your soil in calcium deficient. This is an indicator that other plants might be suffering as well.
TOMATOES If you experienced issues with "Blossom End Rot" then adding calcium to your soil might greatly improve your harvest! Blossom End Rot: "This funky-sounding plague is a disease in tomatoes due to a calcium deficiency (or a watering issue). It manifests itself as a watery spot near the blossom end (the bottom, the butt, etc) when the tomato has begun to develop. Eventually, the spot will spread like a cancer. And it will be game over for that fruit."
Alfalfa Meal Tea and Kelp Meal Tea are both excellent liquid fertilizers you can make at home. These are readily-available nutrients to boost soil health.
As a garden fertilizer, alfalfa meal is used to increase organic matter in the soil and makes an excellent fast and effective soil conditioner. The high amounts of carbohydrates and protein encourage beneficial soil microbes and earthworms that are responsible for quickly breaking down the nutrients and making them available for use by the plants
BONUS: Sprinkle a small handful of kelp meal early in the growing season around and on the base of squash plants to help deter squash bugs. Do this every 10 days where squash bugs are a problem.
Mycorrhizae is a fungi that has a beneficial relationship with a plants roots. When Mycorrhizal fungi comes into contact with a plants roots it begins to colonize, or multiply, on the roots and begins to spread out into the surrounding soil. These strands of mycorrhizal fungi effectively become an extension of the roots and can increase the absorbtion area of a plants root system by 10 to 1,000 times. This allows the root system a more efficient intake of nutrients and water.
Azomite rock dust is a naturally mined volcanic rock composed of over 70 minerals and trace elements that are essential for optimal plant health. The rock formation in Utah from which Azomite is mined was formed when volcanic ash merged with sea water. This mixture of volcanic ash and sea water created a unique source of trace minerals and elements that most soils are void of. Just like humans, plants require many minerals to reach peak health and vigor.
For a complete breakdown of Organic Nutrients, read our article