Sunday, August 19, 2018 By: Ask A Master Gardener

Don't Miss Out on Fall Vegetable Gardening


Fall Vegetable Gardening is Not to Be Missed
Tom Ingram: Ask a Master Gardener
Sunday, August 19, 2018
Q: I plant a vegetable garden every year in the spring, but I have never tried a fall vegetable garden. What can I plant in a fall garden and when do I plant? SM
A: Oftentimes, fall vegetable gardens get overlooked because we don’t know what to plant, or maybe we are just tired from our spring and summer gardens and ready to call it quits. Either way, growing fresh vegetables can be a year-round activity. And what you may not realize is that some of the best and tastiest vegetables are grown in the fall when warm sunny days and cool humid nights create wonderful growing conditions.
You can divide fall crops into two groups: “tender” and “semi-hardy.” “Tender” means these vegetables will need to reach full maturity and production before the first frost brings their season to an end. “Semi-hardy” means they may continue to grow and be harvested after several frosts. In northeast Oklahoma, Nov. 15 is our average first freeze date. So, unless something unusual happens (in Oklahoma?), you can have fresh vegetables straight from the vine until November and then refrigerate the rest for continued enjoyment.
With the cooler weather we are having (watch it change since I wrote that), now is the perfect time to plant a variety of tender and semi-hardy crops. Tender varieties you could plant now would include bush beans, lima beans, cucumber and squash. Semi-hardy crops would include cabbage and cauliflower (transplants), collards, potatoes (seed potatoes), kale, kohlrabi, lettuce (a little late, but I did anyway), parsnips, radishes, swiss chard and turnips.
Starting in September, you can plant garlic and onions, which are great crops to start in the fall as they grow all winter. If you do this, in late spring next year, you can harvest fresh garlic and onions to last you the entire year (if you grew enough).
Mulch should be an important part of your garden strategy any time of year as mulch helps retain moisture, as well as reduces weeding. In addition, mulch controls soil temperature swings during the day, which helps keep those tender roots happy.
Oftentimes, people contact us wanting to know what type of fertilizer would be best for their situation and how much they should use. There is really no good way to answer this question without testing your soil.
Getting a soil test is not hard. All you need to do is get 15-20 samples of soil from your garden and put them in a bucket. Be sure to dig down about 6 inches with your trowel for these samples. Remove any nonsoil debris and mix up the soil. Then, bring about a sandwich bag’s worth to the extension office. We’ll send it off to Oklahoma State University, and within about 2 weeks, you will know the basic nutrient content of your soil and how to best amend it for optimal results. The test will cost you $10, but in my view, it is likely the best $10 you will ever spend. Happy gardening!
Garden tips
  • Discontinue deadheading roses by mid-August to help initiate winter hardiness.
  • Irrigated warm-season lawns, such as Bermuda and zoysia, can be fertilized once again; apply 1-pound Nitrogen per 1,000 square feet this month. Do not fertilize these grasses after the end of August. Do not fertilize tall fescue lawns in summer; fertilize in late September after it cools and again in November.
  • This time of the year is generally not the best time to prune, but if you have damage to trees and shrubs due to storms, prune out the damage now.



1 comments:

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