By Gene Sumi Homestead Education Coordinator
Now that the summer crops are truly ready for harvesting, you may find it odd that I am advocating planning now for your fall vegetable garden. Yes, there is life in the old veggie garden after the tomatoes, peppers and corn are done. In fact, the fall garden is pretty much the same cool-season vegetables that you may have planted last March, except some that are grown in the fall will end up a bit more tasty this time around.
August is the time to start seeds for this garden. But unlike the spring crop, this time you don’t have to worry about it being too cold to start them outside. This time you will be able to start them in pots outdoors or even direct sow the seeds right in the garden soil. And if you are going to grow cabbages, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts, they will mature after the fall frost, and that bit of cold will enhance production of sugar in the leaves and make them much sweeter than the spring crop. I look forward especially to a new crop of lettuce and other fresh salad greens
Planning ahead means if you want to plant varieties that may not be available in seedling form at the garden center in the fall, you may have to plant your own seedlings and this is the time to find or order your seeds.
The fall crop should be a bit easier on you as far as pests. Insects, diseases and weeds will be less of a problem for you, especially after the first frost. So you can end the gardening year with the same kinds of vegetables you that started the year.