Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Ready to Plant a Fall Garden?

It may be hard to believe but, within the next couple of weeks, seeds for your fall crops can start going into the garden.

If you are like me, you may actually want to start some seeds in a flat or in pots, to transplant into the garden later, but those need to be started soon. My earliest-to-plant seeds (between now and August 20) are beets and winter radishes. Before the end of August, though, I like to have seeds for other crops started, too: carrots, kale, collards, and Swiss chard are in that group. Lettuces and spinach, the least heat-tolerant of the cool-season veggies (in my garden, at least) get planted in September. Regular salad radish seeds can go in then, too, mixed in among the lettuces and spinach.

Of those crops listed above, the only ones that are hard to move out of a flat or pot and into the garden as seedlings are carrots. Those do best for me if I put the seeds straight into the garden. Transplanting them as seedlings, started in a flat, results in such oddly bent and twisted carrots that they are hard clean and cut up without too much waste. Of course, you may be more skillful at transplanting the carrot babies than me, but I expect that many people will have an experience like mine.

If you had planned to start your own broccoli and cabbages from seed, in flats or pots, getting them started now is almost too late. If you have chosen short time-to-maturity varieties, though, starting TODAY may be fine. Otherwise, for a small garden, buying little plants of those crops at a garden center might be a good plan. If you are looking for cauliflower transplants, but don't see them at the garden centers in August, just be patient. They are more finicky about heat than cabbages and broccoli and are not usually in stores until sometime in September.

Since I missed out on summer crops this year -- my own fault for going on a crazy adventure! - I also have just put in a little patch of bush beans. I didn't buy any seeds this year, which has seemed very strange, but I have plenty of heirloom Joanie-beans saved from previous years' plants for both this year and the next.

Yesterday while running errands with my younger son (visiting from Statesboro), I stopped by TruPrep, which carries Baker Creek seeds, and I saw that it still has a decent selection in stock.  Not all stores/garden centers still have seeds available. If you need seeds for cool-season crops, it might be a good idea to call ahead before driving across town to shop.

Hope that all is going well in your gardens!

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