|
|
|
MailTribune.com
  • Make a plan for your fall and over-winter garden

  • This hot weather makes me think longingly of fall, when the heat isn't so intense, but plants still grow well. So, I'm going to get out of the sun, pour myself a glass of iced tea, and sit in the shade to make plans for the garden I'll have in the fall and over the winter.
    • email print
      Comment
  • This hot weather makes me think longingly of fall, when the heat isn't so intense, but plants still grow well. So, I'm going to get out of the sun, pour myself a glass of iced tea, and sit in the shade to make plans for the garden I'll have in the fall and over the winter.
    Mid-July to mid-August is the best time in the Rogue Valley to get ready for the fall garden. Wait past that time, and you'll find yourself worrying about Jack Frost, who tends to arrive about Oct. 19.
    There are several advantages to a fall garden. In fact, I think fall gardening easier on several counts. For one, insects tend to be less of a problem. I've had a problem with leaf miners in my beets and other greens if they are planted early and not protected with a floating row cover, for example. Later plantings don't have that problem, I find. Same is true for the carrot maggot fly.
    It is quite amazing to consider how many vegetables we can over-winter, with a little protection, includinmg broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages of many kinds, chards, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, parsley, parsnips, spinach, beets, turnips and many varieties of lettuce.
    Check seed packets and catalogs to be sure you are planting varieties developed to withstand chilly weather. These days, there are lots of them. Enjoy fresh radishes this fall, but they probably won't stay edible for the winter.
    What is "a little protection?" Depending on your circumstances, that can mean a hoop house made of 6-mil plastic over PVC pipe bent and anchored to make a structure that will make your neighbors wonder whether you are making a covered wagon. This will protect most veggies mentioned above unless the temperature drops into the teens.
    Other options include tubs or large pots that can be pulled into the garage or shed on frosty nights — works especially well for lettuces. Or you may be able to leave them out and cover them with a sheet or blanket. Root crops can be left in the ground all winter, but if a cold spell threatens, simply cover them with straw bales or lots of mulch. They will happily snooze, waiting for you to pick them.
    To get started now, use space vacated by crops you've already picked, such as peas and summer lettuce, and prepare the seed bed as you would for seeds in the spring. The real key to success, however, is water. Seeds planted now must never dry out, and that takes your attention during hot summer days.
    Carrots and beets are two examples of seeds that can be planted now for fall harvest. Water the seed bed deeply — not just a little sprinkle on the surface. Plant and lightly cover the seeds, then top with several layers of wet newspaper or burlap. I do not recommend using clear plastic for covering the seeds, as it gets too hot under it. Keep the newspaper damp until you see the little grass-like sprouts coming up. When you remove the newspaper, the seed bed must be kept damp until seedlings are well established.
    Wait a bit longer to plant starts, such as members of the cabbage family — early August generally works well, but you must use your "gardeners nose" and knowledge of your microclimate and time it the best you can, so plants are in their winter bed by late August.
    Aahhh. I feel cooler already!
    Coming up: Master Gardener Ronnie Budge will provide harvesting tips, including how to tell when your garden crop is at its peak of ripeness. The class will be from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, July 29, at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center, 569 Hanley Road in Central Point. The cost is $10. Call 541-776-7371 to sign up.
    Carol Oneal is a past president of the OSU Jackson County Master Gardeners Association. Email her at diggit1225@gmail.com.
Reader Reaction

      calendar