Sage Hill Inn's Justin Raiford Shares Expert Gardening Advice
Preparing Your Garden For Fall
In a normal August the ground would be baked dry hard cement. With this cooler, wetter August, it’s looking to be a wonderful year to have a fall garden and maybe the best and easiest year to start one for the first time if, you have been thinking about taking that project on. Normally gardeners cannot wait for Fall planting, Sage Hill’s Justin Raiford thinks it is the best time of year for this part of the country, but in order to fully take advantage of our mild Fall and Winter there is some heavy lifting, even when the temperature is 105 degrees!
1. Preparing the soil for fall planting. I recommend soil testing which you can do through Texas A& M AgriLife Extension to know exactly what you are working with. If you have a large area or different spots in your yard make sure to take a couple different samples.
2. Feed the soil! Nothing is better than really good rich compost. I like using a mix homemade, farm style compost, and turkey compost. Here in the Hill Country the soil is full of clay so we add composted rice hulls to help bring down the ph and also add loftiness to the soil. The rice hulls really help keep the soil from compacting, letting the roots spread out and keeping the clay from turning to solid concrete in the summer. Soil testing will let you know further amendments that your particular garden may need.
3.Work on bringing your soil back to life or boosting the life of your soil with Plant Success granules. These granular mycorrhizal granular inoculum consists of 13 carefully selected endomycorrhizae, ectomycorrhizae and Trico derma fungal species. Basically these are beneficial bacteria and fungus that keep your soil alive and healthy. They break down the nutrients in to a form that your plants can then take up through their roots. If your soil is dead you are wasting money adding fertilizer. Some people also use compost tea to recharge and awaken their soil.
4. When plating seeds or transplants make sure you know which plants grow well next to each other. For example for our Fall planting, brassicas (i.e. broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kohlrabi, turnip) do not like strawberries and would hate being planted near your fall tomatoes. There are many plants that benefit from growing next to each other! A little internet research can really help you out! Click here for more information.
5. Make sure to mulch, mulch, mulch! Keep the soil moist, protect your beneficial bacteria and fungus in the soil, and keep weeds down.