Starting Up the Fall Garden!

admin July 21st, 2011

Just to let you know, I’m starting another class this week - this one helping people get started with fall gardening and season extension. If you are like most folks, you probably start out enthusiastic about your garden, but around the middle of the summer, you get focused on harvesting, or overwhelmed by the heat and the weeds and let the cool season garden peter out.

That’s a mistake, because with very simple and cheap methods of season extension and a little attention right about now (for those as northerly as me, a bit later for folks south of me in this hemisphere), you can be eating fresh produced well into winter.

Moreover, cool season gardening is satisfying and a lot of fun - fewer bugs, cooler weather, usually more rainfall - the conditions are optimal, the air is crisp and cool and there’s just no reason to watch things peter out when you could be enjoying your garden until snowfly - or longer in many places. While a perfectly ripe tomato is one hallmark of the gardeners art, another is a fresh salad in the dead of winter straight from your garden.

Getting the timing right of fall crops takes practice, and learning what techniques work and don’t to extend your season, or how to deal with hot weather at planting time can be challenging. This class is for people from beginners to advanced gardeners who need a little help (or motivation) to move forward.

Like all my classes, this one is online and asynchronous. It lasts four weeks, from July 21 to August 11. You participate when you have time, and while I put up most of the week’s material on Thursdays, I’m available regularly through the week. The class includes weekly readings, lots of discussion and planning help and guidance, and one 15 minute phone conversation to talk about any questions or problems you are having, or strategize on designing how to get the most out of your garden.

Cost of the class is $100, and I also have two spots still available for low income scholarship students. I ask that if you are applying for scholarship you give me a brief explanation of why you would qualify. Anyone who would like to donate a part or whole of an additional scholarship spot can get in touch with me about that and 100% of the cost of your donation will go to making the class free for another low income participant.

To join the class or get more information, please email me at [email protected] Here’s the syllabus:

Week I, July 21 - Introduction to the basics of cool season gardening and fall planting, garden planning, choosing varieties, estimating planting dates, finding space in your garden, designing for a three or four season garden.

Week II, July 28 - Introduction to Season Extension, strategies for extending your season, dealing with heat and cold, water and irrigation, cheap and dirty season extension techniques, timing for preservation.

Week III, August 4- Cover cropping, using containers to extend the season, seed saving, Greenhouses, hoophouses and more advanced season extension, winter harvesting, recipes from a cool season garden, nursery beds, troubleshooting the fall garden.

Week IV, August 11 - Mulching, making the best use of small space, using vertical space in the winter, tropicals and pushing your zone hardiness limits, Choosing perennials to extend the season, Winter seeding and stratification. Menus from the snow.

Hope you can join us!


5 Responses to “Starting Up the Fall Garden!”

  1. Stephanie R. says:

    this sounds like a great series! my coworkers and i just put in a raised bed at our office and are starting to plan for a fall garden. do you have any materials that you would recommend? unless you’re located in madison, wi, in which case i’ll just take your class!

  2. admin says:

    Hi Stephanie - the class is online, so it doesn’t matter where you live ;-) . But if you’d rather not take the class, I’d start with Eliot Coleman’s books.


  3. Keely says:

    Would love to take this class sometime, but with a newborn, I’m thinking I wouldn’t get to put much into practice this season…

  4. Russell Mayland says:

    nice post!

  5. robbie @ going green mama says:

    I took this a few years back, and it was just what I needed to give me that bit of confidence to not quit in the summer heat! While we still aren’t able to afford many of the season-extending options out there, it was GREAT to do a large harvest of carrots last November! And now I’m teaching my neighbor some of what I’ve learned.

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