Thu, April 09

Planting the fall-winter garden

Fall is a great time to start gardening and the best time for many plants that thrive in cooler weather. For gardeners in Sedona and the Verde Valley fall is the "second spring," and the time to plan and plant the Fall-Winter garden.

For many people transplanted from the northern and eastern parts of our country, fall is time to put the garden to sleep for the winter and to wait for spring to start planting. Not so in Sedona!

In the less tamed, wild part of my vegetable garden where I have let the spring salad and winter greens go to seed, the plants are telling me, "Now is the time to grow again!"

After the August monsoon rains I am seeing many volunteers popping up − endive under the squash, red and green-leaf lettuce under the beans, spicy Asian salad greens like mizuna and mustard under the okra, and of course arugula everywhere.

September is both a harvest and a planting month. Summer veggies are at their peak of abundance, and as we plan what to plant before first frost we have many choices for our elevation and climate.

This is the month for sowing fall peas, root vegetables, winter greens, lettuce, spinach and any of the cabbage family.

All will do fine through the winter, and some insist that the flavor of greens improve when a frost has touched them. Plan a space to plant your garlic in late October and November.

Don't forget the cold hardy herbs like parsley, cilantro and chives.

This time of year also gives us the added task of growing our soil. Adding compost and organic matter will keep soil rich and moist, and nature, ever willing to help, will soon start to provide abundant materials as trees shed their leaves.

One can compost them, or simply spread them like a cozy blanket over the garden, and they will decompose throughout the winter and be ready to turn into the soil in spring.

Starting this month Gardens for Humanity will offer a regular monthly series of workshops for the home gardener with the first taking place Saturday, Sept. 13.

The workshops will take place every second Saturday of the month and cover a broad range of topics. On Sept. 13 from 10am until noon we will present "Growing your Soil" at the backyard farm of Joshua Capy in Cottonwood.

In the afternoon we will move to West Sedona where our Greening Harmony gardeners will present "What to Plant in Your Fall Garden" from 2 until 4 pm at Pro-Build. For more information about these workshops and locations visit our website or email us at

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