COLUMN: Fall garden planning should start now | News

Many people say that food grown at home tastes far better than what you can get at a grocery store.

Some may be interested in having their own garden, but it could be an overwhelming task if you don’t have a plan.

Factors to be considered are adequate soil preparation, varieties to use, and obtaining the seeds. Some crops do better when you start seeds earlier, and then transplant them into the garden. T

his can be done growing seeds in partial shade with insect protection.

To figure out when you should plant this garden is dependent on how many days it takes for the crop to reach harvest. Some crops are limited to a certain planting date, but others, such as radishes, produce a crop in 20-30 days.

Season extension techniques can be used to potentially grow food year round. Salad crops grow quite well in cold frames, which allows them to be harvested when needed in January or February.

Season extension doesn’t have to be the fancy glass structures that you see. They can be as simple as a gallon milk jug cut in half, or an old Tupperware container used to cover the plants.

When looking at your garden soil there are a few things to consider. The soil should absorb the water readily and not form a crust when it dries. Porous soil has more air in it, which allows for sufficient drainage, which allows for better root growth.

You may need to add fertilizers to help stimulate growth and production.

Seeds and transplants can start being planted in the garden during June, July, August, and September. In these warm summer months, soil temperatures can become very hot and are more likely to experience dry periods. This can cause an inconsistent stand of plants if directly seeded into garden beds.

To help mitigate this, shade and supplemental water may be needed to aid germination. Direct seeding is an option and is recommended for some crops, such as carrots and beets, but you do need to understand that without proper support, you will not have a consistent stand of plants for your garden.

Some of your spring garden plants may want to continue production into the fall. You can prune back your tomato, okra, and pepper plants to keep their size a little more manageable and stimulate growth.

Fall gardens can seriously damage your fall garden, if insects are not properly managed. Frequently scout your crops for insects, and make sure you are properly identifying them before deciding what treatment plan to go with.

Our OSU Fact sheet HLA-6009 has a list of recommended fall vegetable crops and other tips for getting your fall garden planted.

Jodie Parolini is agriculture educator for the OSU Cooperative Extension Service in Cherokee County.

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