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Time for Fall Veggies

By: Kathryn Courtney

It’s very hot. I just went outside for 5 minutes and that was too much. It’s not terrible in the shade though, so sitting on my porch is still doable. I miss my gardening. Watering things just to keep them alive is not very satisfying. Just when it seems like there’s no hope, along comes fall vegetable gardening season. We are very lucky here on the gulf coast. We have 2 gardening seasons and if you start early enough, planting with seeds is the way to go.

   Plant a second crop of spring vegetables by choosing short season varieties. Bush green beans, cherry tomatoes, small cucumbers and short season summer squash are just some of the seeds you can start now for an extra crop during early fall. Look at the seed packets to find the varieties with the shortest time to maturity. This will give you a better chance of having more to harvest before temperatures get too cold. I especially like to do squash and green beans in the fall because the pests and mildew that plague the garden in spring are not as bad in late summer. Give your seedlings extra water and some shade if you can during August as the temperatures are very hot. As your plants mature, the temperatures will slowly drop allowing for your plants to flourish and provide a good harvest. I start my cherry tomatoes in Ladybug seed germination mix on my porch. This gives the seedlings some shade and protection from the worst heat. Healthy Harvest fertilizer contains actinovate which fights damping off of your seedlings. Sprinkle a little on top of your seeds before you water them. Squash, bush beans and short season cucumbers go directly in the ground. I sprinkle a half inch layer of seed starting mix or worm castings on top of the ground where the seeds will be planted. This helps the seeds germinate and the roots can get established directly in the ground. If you have a mist setting on your watering wand use it for your seeds. The soft spray will not disturb the fragile roots that are just getting established.

 

   Now for the cold weather crops. Root crop seeds can be planted now. These veggies don’t transplant

Easter Egg Radishes

very well so plant them directly in the ground or container where you want them to grow. Carrots, beets, onion seeds, turnips and radishes are good root crops to start now. Radishes take no time at all to mature making them a great veggie to plant with kids. Plus there is the fun of getting to pull them out of the ground. There are many brassica vegetables to start now. Broccoli, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, and cabbage are just

Romanesco Broccoli

a few. The fun of doing this type of vegetable from seed is the variety. There are the regular varieties and then there are some with great different shapes and colors. Romanesco broccoli, purple cauliflower and kohlrabi and frilly kale are some of the different varieties to grow. Germinate these seeds in a kitchen window or on the porch away from the hot sun. If the seedlings get too hot the vegetables can turn bitter. Greens are my favorite fall veggie. Fresh spinach is very hard to beat. Heat tolerant varieties of lettuce and spinach don’t mind the cold either, so you can expect to be harvesting until spring or early summer of next year. Mustard greens, endives, arugula, swiss chard and different greens mixes are only a few of the choices available. The diversity of the greens family is amazing. I start

Swiss Chard

my greens seeds where they are going to grow. I love growing greens in containers for ease and for decoration. Greens planted in a container can be as beautiful as any flower. Try one of the chards such as bright lights on your front porch. Your neighbors will be jealous.

 

Get your fall garden seeds started now. Don’t miss the fall gardening season!