Friday, July 17, 2009

Fall Planning

Around here, mid-July is the time to start working on the Fall garden. It is time to start seeds of broccoli and cabbage and some new chard. In another week or two, it will be time to start beets, peas, winter radishes, and carrots, then the lettuce and spinach, then the regular radishes.

Some of these can be seeded right into the garden. If there isn’t any space yet because all the summer veggies are still going strong, starting seeds in flats or little pots can let them grow to transplant size, to be planted out later, when other veggies have quit or slowed down.

I try to plan spaces for the fall crops, so I don’t have to lose much of the summer harvest, and I have pre-determined spaces for some of the fall planting this year. When I have collected seed from the Tom Thumb lettuces (later today?) I plan to clean up that bed for carrots. Lettuces, spinach, and some chard will go where the regular green beans are, when they come out in a few more weeks.

I already planted cowpeas in 3/4 of the zucchini space, and yesterday I planted chard in the other 1/4. The space that held spring carrots and radishes was planted with Roma type bush beans, but That Darn Rabbit ate those as they came up, so cabbages will go there. Broccoli will go in big pots that held a sadly small crop of potatoes until just a few days ago.

Based on past experience, I can safely say that the cucumbers soon will start getting holes from the cucumber pickleworms, or their leaves will get a mildew, and that will be the end of the cucumbers. That will free up some space.

Also, the first round of tomato plants included some determinate plants that will not really produce much after their initial blast. Those can come out in two or three weeks, freeing up yet more space. A short variety of peas (probably Wando) may go there.

Some people find it difficult to pull out plants that are still producing, even though that production is at a very reduced rate. These people have my sympathy. I don’t really like it, either. However, the overall production of my garden is better if I can get myself to pull out, for example, the determinate tomato plants that have finished ripening their main crop of fruits and plant something else there for the fall.

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