Get Planting!

fall garden

Labor Day is my transition marker in the garden, moving from summer fare to fall planting. We’re all ready, I think my family would lob tomatoes my way if I serve up one more tomato recipe. I love pulling out the exhausted plants of summer and prepping for that fall produce — it’s my back to school tradition that signals the change in season.

fall vegetable garden

Sad and scraggly looking beds after our summer travels.

First, we pulled everything out of the beds. Then we added my go-to mixture of sand, peat moss, organic potting soil and chicken manure to each of the beds. This mix gives needed nutrients to feed the plant and works to hold the moisture in the soil.

This soil overhaul increases those nutrients lost by summer veggies (tomatoes, I’m looking at you, suckers) and it helps maintain the stability of the soil for the fall veggies.

fall vegetable garden

We’ve been lucky to still have some cloud covered mornings in the midst of these endless heat waves. Overcast skies make for good planting weather. It’s a good idea to get your brassicas planted early; they soak up that Indian Summer sun, making them nice and full come harvest time.


One of my favorite garden helpers.

Lately, I’m starting more things from seed. It’s been a struggle to finding seedlings. Rumor has it that one of the big seedling nurseries has gone out of business.

To plant the seeds, we used a pencil tip to make the impression for the seed into the soil – the shaved point of a pencil is the perfect measurement of how deep to make the hole.

fall vegetable garden

fall vegetable garden

Catering toothpicks work well to mark the seedlings.

I’m trying out planting cabbage in combination with dill, they’re said to be good garden companions. Won’t it be pretty when the laciness of the dill feathers grow around the red heads of cabbage?

red cabbage and dill

We devised a new way of protecting growing seeds from the birds with these homemade cages of chicken wire or hardware cloth. Once the seedlings are more established all you need to do is remove the garden staples and lift the cage.

seedling protection


We still have tons upon tons of tomatoes. I think it’s time to make a big batch of sauce and stash it in the freezer — they may be whining now, but I guarantee they’ll be all smiles when I pull it out in December.

tomatoes-and-baby-leeks What’s finding its way into your fall garden?

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8 thoughts on “Get Planting!”

Thank you for such an inspiring post! After three years of no space in which to grow anything (not even mint!), I am starting to garden in Woodland Hills, and your blog is my main source of inspiration. Your garden is my very favorite – such California beauty! Thanks for all of the ideas (and gorgeous photos).

I love the shaved pencil trick for seeds! I was planning on working in the garden this week but Mother Nature decided to turn up the heat to over 100, so I think I’ll have to wait. I always have a hard time pulling the tomatoes… I hope to get a few more out of the sad looking plants before I have to say goodbye to summer!

You have inspired me to go out there and deal with my exhausted tomatoes and maybe even the worm issue with my citrus.. No manicure before the weekend:). Thanks

I’ve been trying to get going with the fall planting but our Santa Barbara days are still so hot! (I never seem to get out early enough). I’m doing more seed starting too. I can get more of exactly what I want. I’m going to try more peas this year. Happy gardening!

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