Most gardeners don’t want to think about starting new projects when it’s 110 degrees outside. I talk to home gardeners all the time who think the growing season ends after school is back in session – but nothing could be farther from the truth. Here in Oklahoma we’re fortunate to have a wonderful fall growing season. The summer heat carries through into September, giving us the opportunity to double crop many summer favorites, such as tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, peppers and eggplant. And even if you’ve never grown fall vegetables before, it’s not too late. You can also start as late as August or September by growing some of the more traditional fall crops. Kale, lettuce, spinach, chard, mustard and turnips all love the cool fall air. Many greens can last well into winter and actually taste better after first frost.
One of the most rewarding parts of my job here at the Food Bank is delivering the fresh food grown in our own gardens to some of seniors we serve. This fall we’ll be taking our produce out to senior housing communities and feeding programs in some of the highest need areas in the metro. This distribution of fresh, healthy food is made possible by our wonderful Senior Mobile Pantry program as well as our partnerships with the Oklahoma City Housing Authority and the Oklahoma County Senior Nutrition Program.
Growing your own food, and growing food for others will change the way you look at the meals you and your family eat. Start small, take it slow and remember these two things:
1. Don’t plant things your family won’t eat.
2. Don’t plant more than you can use.
(Unless you’re growing extra to donate to your local food pantry, in which case plant as much as you can tend!)
The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service has a great fact sheet to help you get started on your own fall garden. Get it here.
If you’ve never gardened before, a single raised bed is the best way to start. Check your local library for books on simple raised bed gardening.
To find out more about growing for donation or how you can help in our gardens, please contact Mason Weaver at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-600-3142.