Gardening Tips You Need to Try This Fall
Gardening takes significant time, money, and hard work. With the fall season in full swing and winter just around the corner, it's time to harvest! Throwing away excess food is like throwing away all your efforts spent catering to your beautiful garden. The question is, how do we ensure fresh produce makes it to the table rather than the trash?
Here are 5 fall gardening tips you can try at home.
Freeze your herbs.
Our favorite fall flavor profiles come from fresh herbs such as basil, oregano, and parsley. We have all experienced making dinner and grabbing herbs from the fridge, and what do you know, all your basil has wilted. It’s a disappointing predicament to be in especially when entertaining or making dinner. First things first, rinse your herbs gently, pat dry, and chop to your liking. Then, place your herbs into ice cube trays and top up each cube with water, coconut oil, or olive oil. Place your trays in the freezer and wait a minimum of 3-4 hours until frozen solid.
Once frozen, transfer the cubes into freezer bags, label the contents, and store them in the freezer. Once ready to use, simply take out one or two cubes and melt them in a skillet or pot.
Wash only when ready to eat
When washing produce, best practice is to only wash when ready to enjoy. Washing produce can drastically reduce lifespan, especially when it comes to fruits. Alternatively, try dry cleaning your food with a soft, clean brush or cloth to remove any dirt or remnants that may still be lingering on your fruits and veggies. Gently pat and rub a dry cloth around the food and store it appropriately until ready to eat.
store it in a dark spaces
Fall veggies and gourds tend to need a more unique storage space. Try to keep your onions, pumpkin, garlic, and squash in a dark, dry space to keep them from spoiling and prolong their lifespan. Ideally, up in a cupboard, the garage or basement is perfect for those fall veggies.
Freeze all the extras!
Freezing harvested fruits and veggies is a great way to store them so they can be used year-round. Before storing, wash the items and dry them thoroughly. Ensuring they are fully dry before placing them in a freezer bag is key as moisture can cause them to rot and spoil. When it comes to certain foods, most freeze perfectly when washed and frozen raw, however, do your research! Some foods require a quick blanching to prevent loss of flavor when thawing.
What is blanching? Blanching is a process where you boil or steam vegetables for a short amount of time and then rapidly transfer them into a bucket of ice water. This process prevents enzyme actions that can cause a lack of flavor when time to cook.
Counter, fridge, or pantry?
While some items can last months in the pantry, others only last days in the fridge. Different foods require different levels of care, and it can be tricky sometimes to know how to store your harvested food to ensure it lasts the entirety of its lifespan.
Keep in the pantry
Pantry items tend to be fall or winter vegetables such as pumpkin, spaghetti squash, and potatoes. Other items that benefit from pantry storage are garlic and onions but keep in mind, storing onions and garlic near other food, such as potatoes, can spoil them faster. Ensure items are stored separately with adequate airflow to prevent spoiling other items in your pantry.
Keep in the fridge
The crisper drawer is made to hold in moisture, which is perfect for items such as asparagus, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, and cucumber. Lettuce and other greens require the husk to be kept together and placed in an airtight bag. Excess moisture and exposure to other items can cause the leaves to go soft and mushy fast.
Keep On the counter
While some tend to put fruit in the fridge, most benefit from being placed on the counter until ready to eat. Fruits such as melons and citrus fruits do best when stored at room temperature, while others such as cherries and grapes must be placed in the fridge. In some cases, fruits that benefit from counter storage can be transferred to the fridge to prolong their shelf life.
Bonus tip! Share the bounty!
We have all seen friends or family members that harvest their gardens and have more food than they know what to do with. As the fall season approaches and we enter the season of giving, consider sharing the wealth with friends, family, neighbors, or those in need. Many non-profit organizations accept food donations to support those struggling in the community.
When it comes to garden care and harvesting, ensure you are using high-quality materials such as garden mix and compost. They are extremely rich in nutrients that will help your garden thrive! Once you have harvested, prep your garden for the winter by cleaning out any added debris and tossing the soil so that come spring, your garden is ready for the new season!