It's July: time to start planning your fall garden! Last year was the first time in 11 years I successfully grew a fall "garden." One bed of kale and another of rainbow chard, which overwintered nicely since it didn't get very cold at all. Fall gardens are tricky for me, because here in California the weather is VERY hot during the time you are supposed to plant your fall crops. "Late summer" might be August, but it stays pretty warm until around early to mid November, which is way too late to put fall garden seeds in the dirt. This means you have to start your seeds indoors, where the temperature is more controlled. At my house, this means that every available surface near sunlight must be covered with ugly dirt-filled containers in order to sprout seeds. Last year I started cabbage, brussels sprouts, and celery seeds in red solo cups, per my brother's recommendation. He said that the larger cups (with a hole punched in the bottom for drainage) allow for better root growth and a sturdier plant when it is time to plant out the seedlings. What he didn't think about, and what I soon realized, is that red solo cups clash dreadfully with the rest of my interior decor. I hated those red cups, and they were everywhere I looked. I began to hate the spindly little seedlings inside of them. It was because of them that my house was now not only too small, but ugly as well. I began to neglect them. More and more time passed between waterings, and when I did water them I muttered bad things to them under my breath. They began to do poorly, which, of course, made them more ugly, and I eventually whisked them off of every windowsill into the garbage can. I didn't even feel bad about it. Stupid ugly red cups.
Maybe you are beginning to wonder why you are reading a blog about somebody who can murder baby plants because their containers clash with her couch. I'm actually kind of wondering why I'm telling you this. I guess my point is that THIS year I am trying again. Kale and chard seeds will go directly into the ground like they did last year, and hopefully thrive. I've also started cabbages inside. This time I rummaged around in the shed and found a bunch of discarded orange and green flower pots - yes, orange and green match my kitchen. Today two of the little seedlings poked up. I love them. If I can find more pots I will try again for celery. I'm really hoping for a good fall garden because we eat tons of vegetables all year round. Do you plant a fall garden? I obviously need any tips you can give me. What are your favorite fall crops to grow? I'd love to hear all about it.