Know How: Fall Planting

In the fall, after the garden has been cleared of all dead non-decomposed plant material (add this to the compost pile), till the garden area and mark the rows as if you were going to seed. Just before the ground freezes (or after if necessary) seed the desired cold-hardy vegetables, cover with soil from the garden or potting soil (if the garden soil is frozen). Cover the seed as directed on the package. A layer of straw or hay mulch or even shredded leaves (as long as they do not pack down) will help keep the ground frozen and maintain moisture through the winter. A good inch of mulch is sufficient. Even small seedlings like carrots will come through 1 inch of mulch. The mulch will settle so by spring the inch that was applied will probably be about ½ inch thick. In areas where wind is a problem, mulch can be held in place with chicken wire or boughs broken from used Christmas trees. After the mulch is in place, soak the seeded area to provide sufficient moisture for germination.

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