Feeding fall vegetables

Boost your garden so you'll have veggies to harvest in the fall and winter.

Credit: Flickr / krossbow

Fresh, organic winter vegetables are costly and the selection is sometimes poor, so gardeners are increasingly turning to growing their own crops.

If you have started a winter garden, now is the time to give those veggies a boost to get them ready for fall and winter. By now, seeds sown in late July for winter crops, such as kale, chard, rutabaga, oriental greens and lettuce, will have produced young seedlings. This is an excellent time to stir up the summer compost and use it to mulch the fall vegetable garden. The beneficial organisms and bacteria will help get the garden soil moving and active and the compost will provide nutrients and trace elements to produce tasty, colourful, and vigorous vegetables. In fall I also recommend an application of glacial rock dust, which contains many extra trace elements and minerals that help protect the plants from early and severe frosts.

Another fall treat for your garden is compost tea. Fill up a garbage can with water, add 12 shovelfulls of compost, stir and let steep for one week. Use the water as a foliar spray, applying it to the leaves of your vegetable plants every 10 days. The more they grow, the more you can harvest, eat and enjoy!

Fall Vegetable Mulch
6 gal. (28 litres) garden compost
2 cups (500 mL) kelp meal
2 cups (500 mL) glacial rock dust

Mix all ingredients and mulch vegetables with a 1-cm (1⁄2-in. layer).