It’s hard to believe, but it’s time to start thinking about fall gardens. I think most gardeners are like me, we read, listen, succeed, and fail. Sometimes all in the same growing season. We have crop rotation plans and visions of gargantuan yields. Then comes this giant variable called Mother Nature. She is the one that sets the rules and she changes them with every season. You can do everything right and wind up with bupkis. You’ve heard me say it before but I’ll say it again “that’s why they call it gardening and not harvesting”! The rain we received this spring exemplifies that statement.
Spring is over and the fall gardening season is almost here. Clean up garden areas of dead or dying vegetation. So what do you need to add to the garden? The simple answer is some more fertilizer, right? Well, if you don’t know where you are, you can’t get to where you’re going. This is where soil tests come in. The easy to use Rapitest Soil Test Kit is a simple way to figure out what the garden has or doesn’t have. Wells Brothers also does soil testing. I recommend a soil test before adding compost, fertilizer, the eye of newt, or any amendments to your fall gardens.
A lot of folks get tomatoes and peppers in the ground around mid-July. I shoot for the first week in August. Fall crops of beans, okra, squash, eggplant, and peppers should be in the ground mid-August. I have talked to people that have had success with fall cantaloupe, watermelon, and corn but I’ve not tried them.
Have you ever tried rooting cuttings from existing tomato plants? Start by taking a healthy 6-inch cutting from one of your existing indeterminate tomatoes. Remove all of the bottom leaves but keep 3 or so top leaves. Place the stem in a 4-inch container with good moist potting soil. Some folks will start them in a glass of water. Keep the plant moist and in a warm spot but protect it from direct sunlight for a week. Then expose it to more direct sun. This process should continue for a week or two. Plant it in the garden.