Mastering the Fall Garden

October 21, 2016

Gardening is one of the most popular, healthful, and enjoyable outdoor activities that people of all ages can participate in. Gardening has a tremendous amount of benefits for the human body, including brain function, mood elevation, physical activity, and of course, eating all of those healthy, homegrown fruits and vegetables.
People all around the world look forward to gardening in the spring and summer, but for we lucky few here in Southern Arizona, the growing season lasts well beyond August. Our near-year-round mild weather allows for longer growing periods, a wide variety of seasonal fruit and vegetable options, and a beautiful, flowering outdoor space that sticks around long after there’s a chill in the air.
There is something about gardening that makes any house feel like a warm, loved, and cared for home, and those who live in homes with thriving gardens live remarkably healthier lives overall. A strategically placed vegetable garden or flowering fruit trees can make a world of difference to the feel of your outdoor spaces and can provide you with year-round food staples too.
Though people outside of Arizona are relegated to do their harvesting by October, then packing in their gardens for the winter, in Tucson October is a great planting month for winter gardens. The University of Arizona’s Cooperative Extension’s planting guide recommends a diverse range of vegetables for outdoor planting.
Grab your shovels and seeds, because it’s time to get planting, Tucson!


Leafy green vegetables are chock full of vitamins and healthy properties that should be included in your daily diet. Dark, leafy greens like kale boast Vitamin K, lutein, and zeaxanthin (which maintain your vision health), B vitamins, iron, calcium, and can help lower your bad cholesterol.
October planting of leafy greens can start from seed or shoots, and right now you can go ahead and plant these greens:
Leaf lettuce
Broccoli rabe
Asian greens
Collard greens
Mustard greens
Swiss chard
Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables are a family of veggies that are designed to be planted in cool weather. You can also eat the flowers and leaves of cruciferous vegetables, and in some cases, even the seeds are edible. Cruciferous vegetables are loaded with antioxidants, Vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, iron, and selenium. Get your wok seasoned and start to plant these cruciferous vegetables now:
Broccoli Rabe
Brussels sprouts
Collard greens
Mustard greens
Root Vegetables
Root vegetables are jam-packed with nutrients because they grow underground, where they absorb the soil’s rich nutrients including antioxidants, Vitamins A, B, and C, iron, and fiber. The October root vegetable planting that you can do right now includes:
Sunchoke (Jerusalem Artichoke)

Don’t forget to plant those tomatoes (there are dozens of varieties that grow remarkably well in Southern Arizona), fava beans, and peas will also grow and be ready for harvesting before the deep winter frost sets in.


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