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It is time to harvest your basel, okra, and eggplants as these should be about done and it is last call time for planting broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower. These plants all need time to bud up before the first good frost if you want good sized heads on them. All of these take several months to head up. For cauliflower, once heads show up, be sure to bend a large leaf over the head to keep your the heads white.
You should also be planting collard greens and cabbages if you have not already planted them and want to enjoy them. Carrots, lettuce and other greens should also do very well beginning now. Cilantro requires nights in the 50s to do well and can also be seeded in over the next month or two. It is too early to plant peas. However, you can start planting them in late December or early January. Elaine
Some of you may have noticed that your beds are several inches lower than when originally planted. This happens as your veggies take up soil nutrients and as you harvest the plants. So please consider adding several bags of compost...either your own or purchased compost to unplanted areas of your garden. You can incorporate this with a pitch fork. Black Kow, mushroom and other composts are available in gardening centers including some specifically listed as organic. For composts low in nutrients, consider supplementing with a fertilizer. At Homestead, you should probably add a fairly rich fertilizer that has N, P, and K. I noticed that Miracle Grow has some organic fertilizers now by the way. At Summit, nitrogen may be the only thing needed since your soils were very high in P and K in the spring, though only testing will tell for sure. Blood meal and coffee grains are both excellent sources of nitrogen.
For areas already fall planted, you may side dress your plants with compost or spray your new plants that are already several inches tall with fish emulsion.
If you have general gardening questions or questions about the Community Gardens in Fairhope, post your questions in the "comments" area directly below this section. Others may then reply with answers, suggestions, or further comments. This is an open forum that can be viewed by the public.
Elaine Snyder-Conn writes in a recent email to Community Gardeners:
Hi Gardeners - It is time to add compost and possibly nutrients (especially nitrogen and micronutrients) for your fall garden and to plant your fall cold crops over the next few weeks. It's a little early to transplant lettuce, spinach etc. but a great time to start flats of these indoors for planting in a few weeks. Check out Bill Finch's planting wheel.
If broccoli and cauliflower don't head up before the first frost you will miss getting big heads..hence the need to plant very soon. And brussel sprouts take for ever to yield so planting these very soon is also advised, though I also hedge my bets and plant half of my cold crops now and half about the third week in Sept. in case of prolonged extreme heat and hurricanes. Be sure to avoid buying starter broccoli, etc. that are root bound in the pots, have yellow leaves, or that appear to have dried out, as this will likely result in poor growth and yield.
I know how hard it is to murder your summer veggies, especially if they are still producing. However, we are at a crossroads and the decision needs to be made. It is almost past time to plant pole beans or winter squash so be sure to get them in if you want these vegies. Pole beans tend to do better than bush beans in the fall but they will need trellising. It is true that peppers will produce up to the first frost if in good health and some folks manage a crop of fall tomatoes...normally new transplants in a new location in your beds, not blighted summer plants. Eggplants may also last another month or so. Okra planted in the summer is peaking now and will very shortly fade. Corn should be kaput and field peas can be turned into your soil as they are a good source of nitrogen. Most other crops should be removed, roots and all.
Don't forget to bring clippers or scissors to cut your eggplants and okra before they are past prime. Happy Gardening, Elaine
Jo Ann recently shared this note about Sweet Potatoes:
“I've taken art classes from Val Webb and we often digress to the subject of gardening. Recently, she told me her brother-in-law--who lives in Ocean Springs, MS--grows sweet potatoes YEAR ROUND. You might be interested in how he does it.
Some of you have asked how you will know when your sweet potatoes are ready to harvest. It's after the vines die back. Note the need to "season" them a bit. They aren't sweet unless you do. A brown paper bag in a pantry will do the trick.
Anyone have more to offer on the subject of sweet taters?” Leave your comments below if you do.
REPLY from Val to Jo Ann: “I spoke with my brother-in-law and he confirmed that he's continuously doing sweet potatoes in tubs... he uses a 20-gallon tub from Lowe's (round with heavy rope handles, $7.99) buries 2 0r 3 potatoes six inches deep, lets the vines grow, watches until they die back (about 100 days). The potatoes have to sit around for 1 to 2 weeks to sweeten, and then they are good to go.
A friend gave me a handful of slips (sprouted vines) from Bee Natural, so I'm going to get a tub started this evening and see what happens. Hopefully, organic sweet potatoes ready for Thanksgiving dinner! That timing is just about right."
Jo Ann Wettlaufer Shares:
Linked below is the Alabama Cooperative Extension publication (ANR-63) will be helpful in planning your fall gardens. NOTE: Dates shows are for Central Alabama. For Baldwin County, the planting dates should be 10 days LATER than shown in the chart. Likewise, in the spring, the dates should be 10 days EARLIER.
CLICK HERE for publication.
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