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John Fulton

John Fulton
Former County Extension Director

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In The Backyard

Horticulture columns and tips done on a timely basis

The Fall Garden

Posted by John Fulton -

It doesn't seem possible to think about fall, let alone a fall garden, after the past several weeks of heat and humidity. However, if you are interested in planting a fall garden, the time is upon us. Many of the commonly grown fall crops require about 50 days before harvest, and this group includes beets, kohlrabi, green beans, Swiss chard, turnips, and transplants of broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. A few shorter time required crops are leaf lettuce and spinach at 40 days, and radishes at 25 days. An average date for our first killing frost in the fall is October 10. Back off of this date by the days required for maturity of your crop, add a week to get them germinated, and we are at the seeding date for many of the crops.

You should remove all the residues from former crops and weeds before planting. It is also a good idea to add some fertilizer, such as 12-12-12, at the rate of one to two pounds per 100 square feet. Then till to incorporate the fertilizer and remaining debris, as well as loosen up the soil. Late summer plantings often require some additional water, and sometimes a little shade to offset some of the hot soil temperatures we can encounter.

If you aren't into fall gardening, you might consider options to extend what you have growing now. Covering plants for the first expected frosts can add weeks to the season. The use of row covers, hotbeds, and coldframes is even more of a sure thing.

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