- Your newly transplanted plants will need water twice daily for the first two weeks after planting this September (if your garden is mainly shaded and retains top moisture well, once a day is just fine!).
- Water your plants morning and evenings (avoiding afternoons) using a watering can with shower spout or carefully with low pressure water so you do not disturb the plant and wash away seeds or soil. It is best to avoid watering the leaves of the young plants as much as possible.
- Provide enough water so the soil is moist but not wet. You should be able to form a small ball in your palm that slowly breaks apart. If it breaks apart immediately, it is likely too dry. If it stays as a tight ball, it is too moist.
- Areas that have been seeded like beets, carrots, and radishes will need daily watering until they have germinated and grown to one to two inches in height.
- Once your plants are established, resume typical watering by topping off your reservoir once a week and avoid top watering.
- We often get some of our warmest weather in September, meaning many of your cool weather Fall vegetables will require relief from the heat.
- To maintain soil moisture so you aren’t having to water all day and protect your newly planted plants from heat stress, keep your umbrella raised for ten days. Continue to keep your umbrella up during temperatures above 75 degrees. Providing shade relieves heat buildup in your plant and soil, lowering the amount of water lost and eliminating the need for extra water!
- Did you know, gardens in Sonoma county will greatly benefit from shade during sunny, hot afternoons of mid to late spring through early Fall? Plants shaded from afternoon heat get plenty of energy from a few hours of sun in the morning through photosynthesis without excess heat stress.
- A new season means new plants and different types of pests! This Fall, be on the lookout for cabbage worms. These pests can devour a baby broccoli plant in no time. They are especially good at hiding under leaves. Be on the lookout for all stages of this pest including tiny eggs on the underside of leaves, green worms causing damage to leaves, and white cabbage moths which lay eggs continuing the life cycle. Remove and squish to destroy these pesky critters. If you have chickens, this is an instant favorite snack!
- Brassica plants (cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, kale and mustards) are particularly attractive to grey aphids (commonly called cabbage aphids). You may have noticed them on your kale plants before, and they can quickly colonize Fall gardens, (their favorite variety of plant buffets). Squish these soft bodied insects to kill them and rinse them off of the plant. Make sure to thoroughly rinse your hands and arms before tending to other plants to prevent spread.
Fruits of Your Labor
Fall gardens sometimes get the bad wrap of being tedious while less prolific than a summer season, but they’re more than worth the effort. Many root vegetables are high in vitamins A and C, dietary fiber and other essential nutrients. These crops can be successively sown nearly year round in mild winter climates like Sonoma county’s, and they can continue to grow (slowly) through winter. The Brassica family contains most of what are considered, “superfoods” and their nutritional value is hard to beat! With plants like broccoli and spinach, studies have found they can lose nutrients within hours of being picked. This means by harvesting from your garden, you are getting the most nutrients for you and your family; in this case, the fresher the better, truly!