TIME TO BEGIN THINKING FALL VEGETABLE GARDENING, by Larry Williams UF/IFAS Extension Agent

The hot weather might not indicate it, but it’s time to begin a fall vegetable garden.

Many summer vegetables are beginning to decline. Vegetables such as tomatoes, squash, beans, peas and cucumbers might be giving out on you because of summer’s heat and humidity, insects or diseases.

Some gardeners quit with their gardens when these warm-season vegetables begin to die. But you can take advantage of the garden space by planting cool-season vegetables.

Cool-season vegetables include many of the leafy-green vegetables such as cabbage, collards and spinach. Other cool-season vegetables that you can enjoy include radish, beets and carrots.

Broccoli is an excellent crop for the home garden. General cultural practices are about the same as for cabbage. Broccoli and cabbage should be planted during August or the first of September.

Collards will withstand wide ranges of temperatures if properly conditioned. They can be direct seeded and thinned to cabbage spacing or plants can be set. Collards exceed cabbage, turnip greens and spinach in protein, fats and carbohydrates. Collards can be harvested by cutting the whole plant or by cropping individual leaves. Plant collards during August or first of September.

Onions generally are grown from sets or plants. sets and plants will require about six to eight weeks to reach eating size. Bulbing onions will not be ready to harvest until spring. Sets and plants should be spaced about 2 inches apart. Plant onions September through December.

Radish is fun to grow,, and it is fast. It should be ready to harvest 25 to 30 days after planting. Plant radish seeds, September through mid-October.

Other cool season vegetables to try include:  Beets, plant Aug. 1 to Sept. 20; carrots, plant Aug. 20 to Sept. 15; cauliflower, plant Aug. 15 to Oct. 15; kale, plant Aug. 15 to Oct. 15; lettuce, plant Sept. 1 to Oct. 1; mustard, plant Aug. 20 to Sept. 10; spinach, plant October to November; and turnips, plant Aug. 10 to Oct. 1.

Preparation for a fall-season garden is the same as for a spring garden.

Choose a sunny location that receives at least eight hours of sunlight per day. Avoid locating your garden near hedges or trees, which might provide too much shade and compete for moisture and nutrients.

Locate garden near the house to make it more convenient to watch for pests, tend to chores or to harvest the fruit.

Locate the garden near a water supply so it can be watered as needed.

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