Tracey Crehan Gerlach
It is steaming hot outside. I know, I know! But, can you remember September? The days are crisper, there is usually more rain and things come back to life in the garden, remember? Remember?!
I want to take advantage of this second wind in the garden this year and for the first time I am going to try growing a few fall vegetables. But, instead of banging my head against the wall with the dryness of August and the dustiness of our summer-beaten soil, I am going to grow these vegetables in containers. We’ll do small crops on our daughter’s south-facing bedroom balcony so she can water them and harvest them and take a little ownership in them.
I have slowly been collecting sturdy containers in different shapes – galvanized tin buckets and tubs, big enamel basins, some terracotta pots to act as bases for these tubs and basins, and I am hoping to score some wooden wine crates (or even dresser drawers) over the next week or so. (Ideas inspired by reviews I have seen in Garden Anywhere by Alys Fowler.)
And I have slowly collected some container-worthy seeds – Heirloom ‘Parisienne’ carrots, ‘Purple Plum’ radishes and Italian flat leaf parsley, as well as swiss chard, kale and beet greens and two types of lettuce (all will be harvested as salad greens in their tender, earlier stages). And some peas.
I am using this site as a guiding resource. I am even thinking about making the potting soil outlined on the site, as potting soil can get really expensive by the bag and it is difficult to find organic potting soil some days. Also, a good alternative to peat moss (which is being overharvested these days) is coir – coconut fiber.
Here is a fall vegetable planting timeline. I will start the seeds directly in the soil for everything.
Peas - July 7 - August 15
Kale - July 7 - September 1
Cabbage - July 7 - August 15
Collards - July 15 - August 21
Spinach - July 21 - August 21
Beets - July 21 - August 21
Carrots - July 21 - August 21
Leaf Lettuce - August 7 - September 15
Radishes - August 15 - September 15
Mustard Greens - August 15 - September 15
I will chronicle our balcony fall garden progress in the coming weeks!