Plan and plant your fall garden

With crops in full production it seems rather overwhelming or even silly to be thinking of fall planting in August. But the weather will be changing in many areas, particularly my zone 5 growing climate, and it is time to think of fall crops.

When planting fall crops you need to take extra care in planning your growing season for each crop and count back the time until the crop will be ready for harvest. Select the faster growing crops of each vegetable you plant.

You will also be planting cool weather crops such as peas, greens, cucumbers, cabbage and beets.

I have also found that using raised beds give you more control over temperature and an easier way to cover crops if necessary. When I build a raised bed I always make sure I include pipes or hooks on the interior of the frame to place plastic tube that can be bent in a u shape and placed in the pipe or hooks to create a quick and easy hot bed or frost protection.

The use of mulches in your raised beds will also keep the soil het in and cooler temperatures off the soil. You may even want to consider using black plastic around a crop that need a longer growing season or a crop that you are trying to extend the season. Perfect examples are tomatoes, peppers or gourds.

Gourds take a long growing season and in my short season I try to get another 3 weeks growing time to get the larger gourds for crafting uses or to make furniture from. Bushel gourds make the most unique end tables if you have a long enough season and take the gourd crop down to one gourd per vine for the bushel gourd variety.

With the use of raised beds, covered beds and short season crops you will be able to grow certain crops into October or November, depending on your climate.

Take a chance and experiment with a few of your favorite cool weather vegetables. You will be pleasantly surprised with your results. And one additional plus to late crops is insects are less of a problem.

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Denise

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