Master Gardener: Planting fall vegetables now
BY BILL SEVIER Ask a Master Gardener
Saturday, July 21, 2012
7/21/12 at 3:11 AM
I am interested in growing some vegetables for the fall. What can I plant now and how should I do it? - J.W., Bixby
Many gardeners think fall vegetables are the tastiest of the season. Several types may be planted now, either as seeds or transplants, but there are challenges related to the heat.
Start by obtaining a free OSU fact sheet, "Fall Vegetable Gardening." This covers what veggies to plant, how to plant them and time from planting to harvest. Tips are given on how to cope with the heat, using mulch, row covers and other types of shade. It is available at the Master Gardeners office or online at tulsaworld.com/osufallgardening
Fall vegetables fall into two categories - those sensitive to cold and ones more tolerant. Our average first frost is Nov. 3. The first hard freeze is two to three weeks later. Success depends on learning about each veggie you wish to grow. The OSU fact sheet suggests the dates to plant each one based on these average frost times. It will also inform you as to whether it is better to plant seeds or transplants. Transplants are usually hard to find in summer; you may wish to grow your own.
Veggies to be planted now include pole beans, sweet corn, eggplant, peppers, pumpkin, squash, carrots, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Now is the time also to put new tomato plants in the garden for replacement or for a new bed. Tomato plants are now more widely available in summer than in years past, a testament to the interest in fall gardening.
Some veggies to plant later in August are green peas, lima beans, beets, cabbage, collards, cucumbers, Irish potatoes, leaf lettuce, radishes and turnips. Some cold-hardy veggies may be planted even later - garlic, leeks, onions and kale do well planted in September.
Most vegetable seeds will not germinate unless the temperature is less than 85 degrees. It is currently 107 degrees 2 inches under bare soil, 83 degrees under vegetation. To reduce the temperature, one can "pre-cool" the soil with mulch for a few days then pull the mulch back and plant in furrows a bit deeper than usual. Use mulch or a cloth shade after planting. You must also irrigate either by hand or use drip irrigation to maintain constant moisture.
Fall vegetable gardening is becoming more popular with our hot summers. Success is achievable but requires some planning. Obtain the OSU fact sheet to use as a guide.If you have a garden-related question you would like the Master Gardeners to answer in a future column, call 918-746-3701.
Original Print Headline: Fall vegetables can be planted now
The hotter it gets the better spider mites love it. Tomatoes are a favorite. They are very small but can be seen if you tap a leaf over a sheet of white paper and look for moving dots. They cause leaves to be stippled or have a "sand-blasted" appearance. Treat with jets of water to wash them off and use either horticultural soap or oil according to directions. Neem oil is a good choice for a safe organic insecticide.
If you use an insecticide of any sort, it is best to spray very early or late in the day when the honey bees are in their hive.
Tomatoes and peppers usually stop producing fruit in the heat of summer. If your plants are too tall and gangly, prune them back by a third and give them a little fertilizer. Keep them watered, and they will put on new growth and resume fruit production when it cools.