I like summer, but I think I’m going to like fall better this year. That will be true if my fall vegetable garden turns out. Fall allows for one more go at cool-season vegetables. The flavors are rich if they can mature in the cool of fall evening temperatures.
Potatoes are the first crop to go in the ground in mid-July. I kept a few seed potatoes in the refrigerator from my spring purchase. If you have large potatoes that can be cut, do it several days before planting. Potatoes will rot easily in the summer soil if they get too wet and aren’t callused over. Do not use freshly dug potatoes as they have a built-in dormancy that will prevent growth. Also, grocery store potatoes are often treated, so they don’t sprout.
Crops like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and their relatives can be directly seeded or started indoors now. Transplants go in the garden in mid-August. Sometimes it is hard to find them at that time for purchase. I start mine under florescent lights in the cool of the basement. They will need to get acclimated to outdoor conditions. Give the young plants more exposure to full sun, wind and temperatures for several days before planting in the garden.
Beans and beets can be directly seeded into the loose ground in July. It is suggested to plant them slightly deeper than they would be for a spring garden. The soil will be somewhat cooler and more evenly moist to aid germination. Sowing seeds thicker will achieve a good population which may need thinned.
High temperatures during planting may require additional strategies. Shade will benefit the young plants as they get established. A temporary frame with shade cloth can aid the plants. I support a cattle panel with a cloth on it over my raised bed.
September will bring the planting of lettuce, radish and spinach. Spinach can usually winter over for the early spring harvest. It is hard to find a more nutritious vegetable.
Contact me if you have any gardening questions.
You can find out more information on gardening by going to Riley County’s K-State Research and Extension website at riley.ksu.edu.
Gregg may be contacted by calling 785-537-6350, stopping by 110 Courthouse Plaza in Manhattan or e-mailing [email protected].