Sara Novak

DCL

Summer always gets the credit as the most lucrative gardening season of the year. But that doesn't have to be the case. Fall can also produce some fabulous fare especially down here in South Carolina when it doesn't truly get cold until late December. I like to think of it as our reward for enduring all that summer heat.

What can be grown in the fall?

In most areas of the U.S, August is a great time to get going with pumpkins so that they'll be ready for harvest by Halloween. You can plant your winter greens, collards, kale, and mustard greens. My favorite of all is super sweet butternut squash and all your hard shelled squashes for that matter like acorn and spaghetti.

Prepping Your Garden Before Planting

Prune dead or dying plants. Don't prune plants just for the sake of pruning. Make sure that they actually need it. Cut off all dead or dying branches and cut a tree in its natural shape, flat-topping a tree will cause it to grow weak sprouts.

Then remove any dead or dying vegetable plants, and all weeds. This is important for preventing disease in the new crop that you're planting. The very best means of controlling weeds is a sheet of black polyethylene or organic mulch thick enough to discourage unwanted invaders. The weeds that are able to force their way through can be removed. Weeds may not be as rampant in the fall but they can still steal nutrients from your vegetables.

Top with fresh compost. Making your own compost is beneficial to you, your plants and the environment at large. At the same time it helps to garden with thick, rich soil it also reduces the yard waste that needs to be hauled to the dump by anywhere from 50 to 75 percent.

For a comprehensive look at gardening, check out our Organic Gardening feature.