Growing plants from seeds is very cost-effective, fun and rewarding! There is still time to plant seeds this month to enjoy for a late fall harvest.
Tip #1 – Select plants with a short period to harvest.
A killing frost typically occurs in Metro Detroit in mid-October. Plant now and you’ll have about 6 to 8 weeks to grow mature plants. Great options include all types of lettuce, arugula, spinach, radish and carrots.
Plants like cabbage, kale, swiss chard and spinach need warmer day time temperatures so get these crops in the ground soon, and you’ll have plenty of time to harvest before the frost.
Tip #2 – Give yourself a buffer.
Check the number of days to maturity for your seeds and add about 14 days. This buffer gives your crops more time to mature as daylight starts to dwindle and temperatures become cooler.
Keep in mind, most plants don’t like nighttime temperatures below 50 degrees, so if you have a cold spell coming, move that harvest time up.
Extend the life of your crops by covering them with a frost blanket, if temperatures are dipping below freezing. This can help with an early frost, and get you a few more weeks out of your harvest. An old sheet, blanket or newspapers will work for larger areas. Do not use plastic.
Tip #3 – Read the seed packet.
Learn how to be successful in planting and growing each specific type of crop. The back of the seed packet has a wealth of information, including germination time, and if the plant is frost tolerant.
For fall crops, look for seeds that have a germination time of 30 days or less. Many options will have a viable harvest in as little as 14 days.
Tip #4 – Seeds can be grown in the ground or in containers.
Seeds can be grown in the ground or in containers. When using a container, use a potting mix specially formulated for planters. When planting seeds, use a seed-starting mix.
If planting herbs this fall, using containers makes them easy to transport indoors for the winter and increases the longevity of your plant.
Monitor water, just like you do in the summer months. Once plants are established, you can reduce how often you water. As a general rule, when temperatures are cooler, plants don’t need to be watered as much.
Helpful Hint: Have fun experimenting! Since seeds are so economical, try a few varieties you wouldn’t normally grow. The shorter season gives you a quicker reward to harvest.
For help planning your fall garden, visit any English Gardens location and talk with our experts.