The summer harvest is in full swing here at Big Ugly. Many of us are busy in the kitchen as well as the garden putting up food for the winter. Unfortunately, not all our gardens have survived the most recent heavy rains and flooding. One of Grow Appalachia gardeners had the creek run through her garden ruining all her squash and cucumber plants. The staked tomatoes and peppers and the pole beans may come back once it dries out a bit. Luckily, the potatoes stayed in the ground. A lot of sweat and heart into the garden washed away in a matter of minutes.
Here’s hoping that we can help some by looking at growing a fall crop. The 2013 Garden Calendar from WVU Extension Office suggests that late July and early August are a great time to plant for a fall crop. Broccoli, bush beans, spinach, lettuce, kale, beets and peas can be planted in time to harvest before the holidays. If you have given up on planting beans, think about bush beans as many varieties will mature in 50-65 days.
A few ideas for planting the fall garden include:
Get rid of all the weeds in the garden and pull whatever plants are well past their prime. Make a note of where certain crops were planted in the spring so you can rotate for a fall crop.
Look to plant crops that have mature within a shorter period of time. Many crops like kale, spinach, beets, broccoli, and peas prefer the cooler weather. Once they germinate, they may need protection from the hot August sun until they grow a bit and have cooler nights.
Most importantly, try to get some fresh compost into the soil to restore it after the summer crop has been harvested. Work it into the soil where you intend to plant to get the most from your efforts.
As we move into the late fall, having a cover to throw over crops to protect them from a hard frost can be very helpful in keeping everything growing. And with still plenty of sunshine left and tending to good soil, there should be some great harvesting by Thanksgiving.