As the summer vegetables are being harvested, don’t forget to look to the future. Your garden doesn’t have to end when summer does.
It’s time to start planning how you can continue to enjoy your garden and even add new plantings. You can plant a variety of produce in Kentucky gardens in the coming weeks allowing fresh items to be available well into the fall.
The cooler nights experienced later in the year as these vegetables mature may increase the sugar content of many crops and thus increase their quality.
Some of the best quality vegetables are produced during fall’s warm days and cool nights. Cooler nights also slow growth, so crops can take longer to mature than in the summer. Keep this slower pace in mind when you check seeds for days to maturity.
Late July or early August would be the time to make a last planting of bush beans, carrots, sweet corn, kale, collards, Bibb lettuce, turnips and cole crops such as kohlrabi, Chinese cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. For late August and into September try planting mustard greens, spinach greens, radishes, turnip greens and leaf lettuce.
Before planting, remove any existing debris including crops and weeds to the compost bin and cultivate the soil.
If the previous crop was well fertilized and grew vigorously you may need to add little, if any, additional fertilizer. Otherwise, apply about two to three pounds of a complete fertilizer such as 5-10-10 or 10-10-10 per 100 square feet of planting area.
Remember to keep fall gardens well watered since this tends to be a fairly dry time in Kentucky. A weekly irrigation sufficient to wet the soil to 6 or 8 inches should be adequate. This is more or less equivalent to a weekly one-inch rain.
You can extend the fall growing season for tender crops by protecting them through early light frosts. Kentucky often enjoys several more weeks of good growing weather after the first frost. Cover growing beds with blankets, burlap, or a floating row cover supported by stakes or wire to prevent mechanical injury to the plants. The season can be extended even further by planting crops in a cold frame.
To learn more about fall gardening options, refer to UKY publication ID-128 Home Vegetable Gardening in Kentucky or contact the Franklin County Extension Office, 502-695-9035, or Adam.Leonberger@uky.edu.
Source: Rick Durham