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How to Prepare for Fall Vegetable Gardening

Planting a fall or winter vegetable garden in Arizona is a great way to provide your family with fresh produce during a time of year when grocery stores typically raise the prices on produce. Not only will you be saving money by planting a fall vegetable garden, you'll also have tons of fun getting your hands in the dirt and creating plant life! Plus, installing a garden in your backyard is a great way to add some variety to your Tucson sod lawn landscape.

Many varieties of vegetables can be planted around mid-to-late summer for your fall harvest. Here are some examples of cool-season crops:

* Kale
* Turnips
* Mustard
* Broccoli
* Cabbage

The key to a successful fall garden is timely planting. First, you need to know the average date of the first killing frost and the number of days to maturity for your chosen produce. If you plan on planting some vegetables late in the season, you will want to make sure they are plants that mature early. Basically, you need to determine the average harvest period of each plant, then factor in an extra 2 weeks grow time just in case your plant needs more time than average to develop. Then consider how tolerant the plant is to frost and plan your planting accordingly.

Next, you need to ensure you have healthy soil for growing your vegetables. Prepare the garden soil by restoring nutrients removed by your spring and summer crops. To do this, add a light layer of compost or manure. Alternatively, you could use a complete chemical fertilizer to boost the soil nutrients as well. It's a good idea to prep the garden soil at the same time that you are preparing your Tucson sod lawn for winter overseeding.

Once you hear news that the first frost is on its way, you need to harvest all ripe, tender crops. Tomatoes, summer squash, melons, eggplant, cucumbers, peppers, and okra are some of the crops that cannot withstand frost and should be picked immediately. If the first frost is going to be mild, you can try to protect some of your plants that still have immature fruit by placing boxes or blankets over the crops at night.

You also need to consider the placement of your garden. For example, if you place it in an area that is slightly on a hill you will have less chance of frost ruining your crops. It's a good idea to create your garden along one edge of your Tucson sod lawn to create a stunning garden border to your backyard landscape.

Finally, don't forget to care for your garden equipment during the fall and winter months. Making sure you keep all your tools indoors will prevent them from rusting and will ensure that you have tools in top shape come spring. Also, you'll want to clean all your tools of dirt and debris, repaint any marking that have faded, and sharpen any tools that need it. By following these tips for a healthy fall vegetable garden you will ensure that your garden will be ready for the growth of healthy vegetables next spring.

If you have any questions about lawn or garden care, contact us at