A Fall Garden, even in Toronto? You Bet!

Toronto garden

As odd as it may sound, the perfect weather, climate, and time available for many vegetable gardens is in the fall, not the spring! Pleasant early fall weather is much nicer to work in and healthier for plants than the wet, cold weather associated with springtime.

Planning for a fall garden can be exciting and fun, and a huge success. Even in colder climates, such as areas of Canada, like Montreal and Toronto! No still-frozen ground to work, or the army of insects to battle. And plants sprout faster!

Quicker, Hardier Plant Growth

Seeds planted in the colder ground temperature of spring take 25 - 60 days or more to sprout. Seeds planted in late summer to early fall when the ground is some 30 degrees warmer generally sprout within 4 to 7 days, greatly reducing the overall growing time before maturity.

Seed or transplant, everything starts off faster and stronger when planted in the late summer. That's because there is warmer temperatures, less wind, and more light. In the spring, early plant growth is inhibited by cold temperatures. They mature too rapidly in the hot summer months, and many plant varieties go to seed quicker than they can be harvested.

The opposite is true for a fall garden. Plants start out in the comfort of mildly warm weather, so seeds sprout quickly. As the weather begins to cool, the plant matures at a slower rate, which produces a stronger, healthier plant. Tending a fall garden when there is more leisure time is enjoyable, and the weather more pleasant to work in. Many plants can be carried right into the early winter with just a little protection.

Fall Gardening Using the Square Foot Method

Try doing a small trial fall garden using the square foot method of gardening (SFG). This type gardening requires less space, and makes it very easy to protect plants from adverse weather.

Build a few 4' X 4' boxes, 6 to 8 inches deep, each to be sectioned off into four 1' X 1' squares using a grid. You will place a different plant type in each square, 1 to 16 individual plants per square, depending upon plant type. Remember, unlike row gardens, in a square foot garden you plant only the amount you actually plan to harvest.

Square foot gardening is an easier method of gardening; less weeds, less thinning, less work, and less watering. It is the only type gardening available to wheelchair bound individuals, and the most convenient method for those with certain health limitations or with limited mobility.

To insure SFG success, find books on square foot gardening at the library, online, or in a bookstore that offer detailed information and fully explain the specifics. Select plant types for your fall version of the SFG that are cold hardy. As they mature they will acclimate to the cooler temperatures and last long into the winter.

For Best Results

For the best quality garden boxes possible, sure to last year after year, acquire the services of a professional handyman or landscape contractor. Have several raised square foot garden beds made; either the 4'X4' size mentioned earlier or 6' X 4' beds - each sectioned into 1' X 1' squares.

Have the beds made from either plastic lumber or rot resistant cedar. Also request heavy-duty aluminum or copper corner joints that will allow for dismantling for easy winter storage. Beds that will be placed on patios, or spend time inside the house for indoor vegetable garden enthusiasts will also need bottoms.

Better working conditions, better growing conditions, and a healthier harvest; all good reasons to consider as you contemplate establishing your own fall garden. Even in colder climates, like Toronto!

Posted by: TrustedPros
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