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Thursday, Aug. 4th 2016

Vegetables: Fall Gardens


This is the time of year we normally think of planting a fall garden. Crops that can be planted now include lettuce, radishes, spinach, and similar crops. There still is time to raise another crop of green beans along with some summer squash. If you can find plants, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower can also mature during the fall season.

Planting a fall garden is just like planting a spring garden with some big advantages. You will find the weed pressure to be much less and insect problems may be far fewer than in a spring garden. Seeds will germinate rapidly, so you will have crops up and growing in just a few days – compared to several weeks in the spring.
There are a few drawbacks to fall gardening, and one of those is that you must provide regular, frequent watering (possibly daily) until the crops are up and growing. It is best to plant seeds deeper than you do for a spring garden because soil is cooler and moister down a little deeper.
As far as soil preparation is concerned, don’t get too excited about deep tillage for a fall garden. Lightly work the soil enough to establish a seedbed; reserve your deep tillage for later in the fall. Also, don’t concentrate on adding a lot of organic matter and fertilizer for the fall garden. The organic matter can be added later in the fall with the deeper tillage, and excessive fertilizer application in hot weather is not a good idea. If you have some crop residue to remove from a previous crop, chop the residue with a lawn mower and lightly till the soil surface after the residue has had a chance to dry for 2 to 3 days.

(Ward Upham)

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University of Missouri Extension Master Gardener Program