The Fall planting is perfect for container gardening
By Farmer Bubba
How many people really know what 'Aloha' means? In Hawaiian, it means hello and goodbye. Having said that, it's time for Farmer Bubba to Bring the Farm Home column to an end today. I've enjoyed sharing the Hows and Whys about the way I do my farming in Bubbaland with ya'll.
Well, another week gone by and now it's time to talk about the plants you might want to put in your garden containers.
As you can tell if you have been to the garden shops, a lot of the stores are gettin' stocked up with plants for the upcoming growin' season. What gets me is that quite a few of the stores are selling Spring and Summer plants for your Fall garden. An example are the out of season plants such as tomatoes and peppers. My advice is to be careful if you buy some of these out-of-season plants as I call them. You may not get the results you want with these plants. Remember this. It's going to start gettin' cooler, and tomatoes and peppers don't seem to like real cool weather. How do I know that? Because I've tried, failed, and ultimately succeeded in growin' these plant out of season.
BUBBA NOTE: Out of season plants are plants that do well in winter, spring, summer or fall but are grown out of their season. Can it be done? Oh yeah! But it'll take more than one article to describe how to make that happen.
So let's talk the about the season and month we're in. October is here and most of ya should already have Fall harvest plants growin'. For the beginner gardener, I recommend growin' what will bring you the best harvest at this time of year. On my farm, it's all about greens and green crops, specifically mustard greens, chard, beets, and chrysanthemum greens.
Right now, I have a whole lot of lettuce seedlings in seed trays. Also a lot of greens.
Since we're talking about containers, I'm going to give you a little insight into what's growin' on my farm. If you are a regular, you will know reader, I start most all my plants from seeds I've saved over the past year and some seeds from way back.
I know what these seeds did last season and what they can do next season. This 'historical seed' information makes for a very interesting growin' season with good expectations of a good bounty of produce.
I also buy seeds and plants from local feed stores. I call these purchases experimental plantings. When it comes to plants, I like to see how other growers' plants compare to my seeds and plants.
So when you're out and about and in the plant buying mood, keep the kale, mustard, and turnip greens at the top of your list.
When you buy these plants, believe it or not, you're going to be back into the transplanting part of gardening again. HUH?!?!
I've written about this before and for some, this seems a little out there. You're probably saying, "TRANSPLANTING? Oh my!" So let me clear the 'OH MY' up. When you buy plants in 4 or 6 container packs, 4" pots, or 1 gallon containers, you're gonna bring 'em home and put these plants somewhere to become stabilized. At least I hope you do. That's called transplanting.
Since plants on my farm have now been growin' for generations because they come from seeds of plants I grew, I already know the areas where I'll be starting my fall garden in regard to lighting, drainage and maintenance. I have containers already there waiting in those select locations waiting for their new guests.
Bubbaland is still in the clean up stages from the last growing season. Getting containers ready for planting takes time and also gives me a chance to check the pots' soil out to see how much of the new compost has packed down.
When you start filling your containers with plants, give 'em some room. I plant my leaf lettuce seedlings about 6" apart. The 6" spacing gives the leaves room to open up on the outside and gives the new root growth in the soil room to grow. When you get in to collards, broccoli and cauliflower, I keep these plants individually in their own containers. As this group grows, I'll add some other plants around the base. An example is radishes, carrots and some other type of lettuce.
With this style of GROUP planting, not only will I have a VARIETY of plants to eat from, the dirt won't dry out as fast.
If you're just set on tomatoes and peppers this Fall, grow 'em in separate containers. And why is that you might ask?
Fall harvest plants like greens like a lot of nitrogen in the soil. And most all greens have a short root system. That's why it's easy to grow these plants in shallow containers.
BUBBA NOTE: When you look at fertilizers or soil amendments in the store, you'll see three numbers like 5-7-3. The first number is Nitrogen. And this is something you'll have to add through the growin' season. That's because Nitrogen is the only ingredient, which is leached out of the dirt through the air and by watering.
I would suggest a balanced natural fertilizer when starting your plants. Most of your feed stores will carry these products. One thing to remember when buying fertilizers. If all three number add up to over 18, it's not a natural, organic fertilizer. Which means it's chemically created -- and I stay away from chemically manufactured products. And why do I do that? It comes from a lot of years of growin' and payin' attention to my farm results that don't need modified garden additives.
BUBBA NOTE: Ever wondered how anyone grew anything a long time ago without the help of books and the computer, before the Farmers Almanac? I'll bet they didn't sit around waiting for a book to come out to explain the hows and whys of farming. Some of us are blessed with farming instincts so others can eat and enjoy what we grow.
So head out, do a little plant buying, and have fun on your gardening journey. When things don't go as planned, it's OK to change direction and learn from your mistakes. But no matter what, DON'T GIVE UP!
Aloha from the desk, on Farmer Bubba's Farm.
Do you have a gardening question for Farmer Bubba or a photo of your garden you would like to share? Email Bubba or add your question in the comment window below, and Bubba will try to reply as quickly as possible. Farmer Bubba is an all natural grower who sells seeds, plants, and produce in various N. Florida locations. Email Farmer Bubba for a location near you and to do whatever it takes to get you get your garden growing.