There’s nothing quite as rewarding as eating fresh veggies and fruits from your very own garden! And just because it’s getting cooler outside doesn’t mean you can’t still garden. In fact, a lot of nutritious and delicious veggies actually do better in the cooler temperatures. Not only is gardening a great way to get your own fresh produce and herbs, it also offers many physical and mental benefits for seniors. It’s good exercise, can reduce the risk of memory challenges, improve your immune system, and relieve stress and anxiety. Plus, it’s a fun and entertaining activity! Whether you’re already a pro gardener or you’re a newbie, here are some steps for starting your own fall garden from Brook Ridge, a top independent living community in Pharr, TX. Because in the South Texas weather, it’s always growing season!
If you already had a spring garden that was successful, then that spot should work perfectly for your fall garden. If you did not have a spring garden, or it was unsuccessful, you’ll need to pick a new location. When picking a spot, you should find one that gets at least eight hours of direct sunlight each day and is an area where soil can drain well.
It’s important to prepare your garden soil in advance. You’ll want a fresh slate to work with, so if you’re using your spring garden, you’ll want to pull out and discard any past plant remains and weeds. If you’re starting fresh with a new garden site, you’ll want to remove all grass completely to avoid any growth or interference with your new garden. You can kill the grass and weeds easily by using any herbicide that includes glyphosate.
Once the grass and/or debris is removed, you’ll want to dig the area about 10-12 inches deep. Then, fill 1-2 inches with coarse sand, and 2-3 inches with organic matter. Till it into the soil. Apply 1-2 pounds of slow-release fertilizer per 50 square feet, and then 1 tablespoon of ammonium sulfate around (not on) each plant every three weeks. After the fertilizer is included, mix the soil and create beds in rows to plant the crops in. Leave enough room in between beds for you to move easily through the garden. Be sure to water the garden afterward, and allow it to dry for several days.
While your garden beds are drying, start picking out the fall crops that you want to grow! Below are some plants that do well in cooler temperatures:
After you’ve planted your crops of choice, you need to water them to keep them alive and healthy. Although you may be tempted to water them several times a week, this can cause poor root development. Instead, water the plants thoroughly initially, soaking the soil about 6 inches deep. Then, it will typically need one or two inches a week after. A tip for watering is that you should examine the soil, not when deciding if it’s time for a drink. If the soil surface and an inch below is dry, then it needs some water
There are a ton of resources online to learn more details about tending to a fall garden in Texas that you can find online. Review the care instructions for each of your plants, including how much water and sunlight they need, and when they should be harvested. We hope these steps were helpful for getting your own fall garden started!
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