Friday, July 17, 2009

Fall Garden Planning

With our good watering system in place, we want to try a fall garden this year. All of my previous garden experience was to give up with the heat in July, so this is a very new and exciting idea for me. I'm doing lots of research on what it takes for a fall garden and my notes are below.

Good TAMU (yeah Aggies) article

My notes:

--Rip out tomatoes, even with green fruit on the vine. Earliest produced tomatoes are the best, quality goes down as the plant matures.

--Daily adequate moisture needed directly to plant to allow good root system development

--Surefire, Heatwave, Bingo, Merced and Whirlaway (these also require more care, water, fertilizer) Carnival and Celebrity (more forgiving)

--Surefire and Heatwave are the only tomato varieties which will set flowers and fruit during the heat of September and are thus the earliest maturing tomatoes of a fall planting

--categorize as long term or short term fall crop (based on frost sensitivity)and plant together

--Frost- tolerant vegetables include beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chard, collards, garlic, kale, lettuce, mustard, onions, parsley, spinach and turnips.

--Plant short-term, frost-susceptible vegetables together so that they can be removed after being killed by frost. Frost protection and the planting of a cereal rye cover crop are facilitated if such a grouping system is used. Frost-susceptible vegetables include beans, cantaloupes, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, okra, peas, peppers, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, tomatoes and watermelons.

Keep in mind the relative maturity rate, average height (in feet) and frost sensitivity of the crop of various garden vegetables with FS meaning frost-susceptible crops which will be killed or injured by temperatures below 32 degrees F. and FT meaning frost-tolerant crops which can withstand temperatures below 32 degrees F.

The quick (30-60 days) maturing vegetables are: beets (1 1/2 feet) FT; bush beans (1 1/2 feet) FS; leaf lettuce (1 foot) FT; mustard (1 1/2 feet) FT; radishes (1 1/2 feet) FT; spinach (1 foot) FT; summer squash (3 feet) FS; turnips (1 1/2 feet) FT; and turnip greens (1 1/2 feet) FT.

The moderate (60-80 days) maturing vegetables are: broccoli (3 feet) FT; Chinese cabbage (1 1/2 feet) FT; carrots (1 foot) FT; cucumbers (1 foot) FS; corn (6 feet) FS; green onions (1 1/2 feet) FT; kohlrabi (1 1/2 feet) FT; lima bush beans (1 1/2 feet) FS; okra (6 feet) FS; parsley (1 1/2 feet) FT; peppers (3 feet) FS; and cherry tomatoes (4 feet) FS.

The slow (80 days or more) maturing vegetables are: Brussels sprouts (2 feet) FT; bulb onions (1 1/2 feet) FT; cabbage (1 1/2 feet) FT; cantaloupes (1 foot) FS; cauliflower (3 feet) FT; eggplant (3 feet) FS; garlic (1 foot) FT; Irish potatoes (2 feet) FS; pumpkins (2 feet) FS; sweet potatoes (2 feet) FS; tomatoes (4 feet) FS; watermelon (1 foot) FS; and winter squash (1 foot) FS.

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