Summer may be winding down, but there’s still time to plant a fall garden now and enjoy fresh vegetables as the seasons change while reaping the many health benefits of gardening, including lower blood pressure and improved mood. Use these top 3 tips to help make your garden grow:
1. Pick your plants wisely
Although it’s too late in the season to plant peppers and tomatoes, which are my personal favorites, there are plenty of vegetables that thrive in cooler temperatures, including beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, kale, leeks, and lettuce. Plant some arugula and spinach, and you’ll be tossing a salad in no time — these fast-growing greens pack a nutritional punch and can be ready to pick in about 30 days.
2. Get growing
Timing is everything, especially when you’re gardening. The Old Farmer’s Almanac A-to-Z growing guide can help you decide which vegetables are the best ones to grow now based on our region’s climate. Click on a vegetable, and learn how and when to plant it, care for it, and harvest it. As you nurture your garden, you can use it as an opportunity to practice mindfulness. It’s just one way that gardening can help you reduce tension and relieve stress.
3. Share your bounty
Use a seasonal produce guide to help you turn the “fruits” of your labor into healthy meals for family and friends. If you wind up with more carrots and kale than you can eat, consider donating your extra veggies to a program like Share the Harvest, sponsored by Philabundance. National non-profit AmpleHarvest also coordinates donations of fresh produce. Visit their website and enter your zip code to find a participating food pantry in your community.
Which cool-weather crops will you grow in your garden?