Growing a Taste of Yesterday... Today!


It's possible to extend the gardening season well into fall by planting crops which mature in cool weather. Second and third plantings of carrots, beets and beans will provide fresh, home-grown vegetables into the fall and are excellent for canning, freezing, or storing.

Many vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, collards, peas, and radish, do better when maturing in the cool weather.  Some vegetables, like kale and turnips, actually taste better after being exposed to frost!

In some areas of the South, gardeners are able to grow second crops of warm weather vegetables, such as tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, winter squash, pumpkins and melons. Along the southern coastal and Pacific coast areas (Hardiness Zones 9 & 10), it's possible to have vegetables growing in the garden virtually every month of the year.

No matter where you live, late plantings can fill areas of your garden left vacant by crops harvested earlier in the season. This "succession" planting method will increase your garden's total yield and reduce soil moisture loss and weed growth, because the ground is never left bare.

Tips for Sowing Seeds in Summer:

Soil dries out faster in the summer than in the spring, so keep seeds or seedlings evenly moist until the plants are well established.  Since it's difficult for seedlings to emerge in dry, crusted soil, consider covering furrows of newly planted seeds with a floating row cover.  Once the plants have emerged, cultivate frequently to control weeds.  Don't forget to add additional fertilizer and nutrients, as you'll be working your soil twice as hard planting successive crops.

Heat-sensitive crops like lettuce and spinach need protection from the hot summer sun, so plant  in an area shaded by taller summer crops, or start the seeds inside and transplant into the garden later.

As daylight grows shorter in late summer, crops will take somewhat longer to mature. Therefore, it's important to know the average date of the first fall frost in your area.  If you're not sure of the first fall frost date where you live, check with your local County Agricultural Extension Service (usually found in the blue pages of phone book). 


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