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By Teresa Bigham /The Hesperian-Beacon—
FLOYD COUNTY – You may be in full summer-harvest mode, picking cucumbers and squash, and tomatoes. Or maybe your garden got zapped the heat and drought and your yearning for those fresh veggies, while it time to get those fall gardens planted.
To ensure a successful fall and winter harvest, you need to start many of your late season crops in the peak of the summer. In most regions that would mean planting in August to give time to size up while growing conditions are still good.
Some fast-growing fall crops like lettuce and radishes can be planted in late September, but many desirable fall crops like broccoli and carrots need several months of prime-growing conditions to mature before frost and low light levels set in. Remember when in doubt, plant your crops early.
According to the Fall Gardening Planting Guide, you should plan your planting so that the crops have time to reach maturity before the first frost. So, you may have to do a little research for that answer.
In most gardens, where space is limited, it is imperative that early season crops are harvested and removed from the garden in a timely fashion. According to homestreadgarden.com, some crops that may be finishing up midsummer include garlic, onions, potatoes, carrots, beets, cabbage and broccoli.
When you are choosing fall crops to add to your garden, start by making a list of vegetable’s you have just harvested. This will allow you to prioritize the fall plantings you care most about.
Once your garden is cleaned out and ready for the fall gardening process, it’s time to decide which fall crops you’d like to plant.
• Beets – you can plant beet seeds about eight to ten weeks before the first expected frost and harvest them in time for the holidays. Since beets are not fond of being crowded, plant the seeds about 1 inch deep and three to four inches apart.
• Carrots – Sow carrot seeds directly into the garden in rows spaced about six to eight inches apart.
• Broccoli – Transplant broccoli into the garden, spacing plants 12 to 18 inches apart. Broccoli loves nitrogen, so according to the Fall Gardening Planting Guide, add an additional application of nitrogen source like blood meal or alfalfa meal.
• Garlic – In mid-fall, plant garlic cloves four to six inches apart. The homesteadgarden web site reminds us that while we may be lucky enough to see some garlic sprout before winter, you are more likely to get fresh garlic in the spring.
There is such a wide variety of vegetables that may be planted in the fall. Your best bet is to do some research on your family’s favorite veggies and chart out a plan. Happy fall planting.