Whether you’ve been gardening for decades, or your first foray into gardening was during our first COVID summer, now is the time to start planning and planting your garden for fall and winter harvest. For the first time this year Harvest Market has brought in new crop seeds from Botanical Interests for late summer and early fall planting. These seeds are packed for use through the end of 2022, so you can easily save what you don’t use now for planting next spring.
Our current selection of seeds is geared towards cool season loving plants, but if you get them in the ground during the first week of August you can probably beat the first frost and get a week or two of harvest from bush green beans and zucchini. Carrots, lettuce, beets, turnips and greens (like kale, collards and chard)) can be sown through early September. Radishes and spinach can be planted through late September. Of course, you can push your planting and harvesting windows a bit by using season extenders like a row cover or low tunnel.
We also carry an assortment of cover crops. Part of the buzz about regenerative agriculture is the importance of minimizing bare soil through the use of no-till methods, primarily through the timed use of cover crops (buckwheat, clover, hairy vetch, peas and oats) or a permanent mulch (woodchips, grass clippings, shredded leaves or straw). Covered, undisturbed soil retains more moisture, has increased microbial and fungal activity, sequesters carbon more effectively and produces healthier, more nutritious plants.
If you want to plant a garden now but haven’t prepped a site yet, hope is not lost. You can create an instant, raised bed garden sheet mulching with cardboard and purchased soil. There are dozens of Youtube videos available that will show you how. Here are two local companies that can help you with what you need to pull off a quick garden for a reasonable investment:
- A&A Lumber is a great, local supplier for rot-resistant, cypress “mushroom” boards in various lengths and widths. They’re located on Rt 7 just over the PA line about four miles from Harvest Market.
- Laurel Valley Soils has an assortment of compost and soil products. Though you can get pure, certified organic compost, to fill an instant, raised bed garden go with their Enriched Topsoil.
I tried it for the first time this year in a raised bed garden located directly on cardboard smothered lawn and have been very impressed by the results.
Written by Bob Kleszics
Harvest Market co-owner Bob Kleszics completed the University of Delaware Master Gardener Training Program in its inaugural year—1986.