now is the
time to plant A
by george edgar
Many are frustrated and tired of working in their garden because of the early spring and then the hot dry weather that has caused all kinds of problems including many weeds. However, if you would like fresh lettuce and spinach for your salad, or fresh beans, beets, or carrots to serve your family, it is not too late to start over in your vegetable garden. Now is the time to start planting a fall garden. You still have time to plant bush beans, beets, cucumbers, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, okra, peas, radish, spinach, swiss chard, zucchini squash, and turnips.
When planting a fall garden in July or the first part of August,
the application of a light mulch will help cool the soil and aid in
germination. Some gardeners
pre-sprout their seeds indoors before planting outside.
Sprinkle the seeds between moist paper towels, roll up, and place
in a plastic bag.
According to a publication from Earl May Nursery and
“When the new crop is planted in the heat of the summer, it may take more care in the beginning, but the harvest of fresh produce in the fall will be worth it. Crops mature in the cooler fall weather creating tastier vegetables than in the spring.” (1)
When selecting and buying seeds for your fall garden, select the
shortest season cultivars available to insure harvest before a killing
frost arrives. Look for
cultivars labeled “early season”, or are located in a section for “
To determine if you can plant a particular vegetable and have a crop before frost, take the date of the usual first frost, subtract the number of days the package says between planting and harvest, and that gives you the latest planting day. It is best to allow an extra week or two, as many crops grow slower in the cooler nights of September.
The usual first frost (when the air temperature gets to 32
degrees F) in
· Beans, Beets, Carrots, and Cucumbers plant between now and first week in August
· Lettuce, Okra, and Peas plant between now and August 10th – 15th.
· Turnips and Radish need to be planted before September 1st.
· Spinach can be planted between August 1st and September 15th. (1)
Check with your full service garden center for a list of vegetables, recommended varieties, and suggested planting dates. Or contact your local county extension office for a copy of “Fall Vegetable Gardening” (NebGuide # G98-1343) or see the web sight at the end of this article. (2)
My wife always has a fall planting of beets, lettuce and spinach. With a little protection on cold fall nights, they will grow for some time if the rabbits don’t get them. Some years we have a specialty lettuce plant called Corn Salad Mix or Mache that we pick in the fall and then as an added bonus, grows all winter in a protected area. On cold fall nights and then for most of the winter we cover it and our fall spinach with straw or a broken “sneeze guard” from a salad bar. The Corn Salad Mix and the fall planted spinach that over winter are the first crops out of our garden in the spring about the time other people are just planting early crops. With very little snow last winter we had spinach and lettuce before most gardeners planted their seed.
(1) “Plant a