As summer vegetables like corn and beans stop bearing, now is the time for home gardeners to start preparing fall gardens of cool-season vegetables.
If you have a summer vegetable garden, chop up these plants with your lawn mower and incorporate them along with a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 into your garden with a tiller. You also may want to have your soil tested to determine how much fertilizer and lime to add if any is needed.
Timing is everything
Fall gardens in Georgia can be very challenging to get cool-season vegetables through the end of summer. It’s a delicate balance in starting them early enough to allow them to mature (50 to 60 days) before a hard frost and getting them through the end of a hot, dry summer.
Start seeds in August for broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, turnips, radishes, spinach, lettuce, beets and onions. It is best to use a store-bought potting mix to start seeds in containers, flats or trays. Place the seeds in a partially shaded spot and keep them watered, and you will have seedlings ready to transplant in September.
Transplants are another option
Most vegetables can be purchased as seedlings from garden centers ready to transplant if you don’t want to start from seeds.
If you prefer onion sets, these can be transplanted later in October.
Keeping young seedlings watered is critical to establishing them. You also have to keep a sharp eye out for pest problems such as insects, diseases and weeds because they will continue to flourish in warm temperatures and high humidity. A layer of newspaper and mulch placed between rows can avoid a lot of weed problems and help conserve soil moisture.
Contact your local University of Georgia Cooperative Extension office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1 for more information on growing fall vegetable gardens.