Fall gardening

first_imgBy George Boyhanand TerryKelleyGeorgia Extension ServiceGardening through the fall and winter has some big advantages inGeorgia.For one thing, the weather will be much cooler. Insects aren’tnearly the problem they can be during the summer, especiallyafter a cold snap. And some vegetables taste better when you grow them in the cool of the year.Many cool-season crops will do just fine, including onions,carrots, cole crops (broccoli, cauliflower, collards, cabbage),turnip greens and garden peas. Others you can try includeradishes, rutabagas, leeks, garlic and artichokes.You can grow Vidalia onions, too. You can buy transplants atlocal stores throughout the fall, usually in bundles of about 50plants. Plant them in November or December spaced 4 to 6 inchesin rows 14 to 18 inches apart.Onions are heavy feeders, so you’ll need a complete fertilizer,such as 10-10-10, that also contains sulfur. Apply about 1 poundper 100 square feet before transplanting and again the end ofJanuary. At the end of February, apply a half-pound of calciumnitrate (15-0-0). Your onions will be ready for your burgers inApril.Cole cropsCole crops like collards and cabbage have been a mainstay in theSouth. You can start these from seed or transplants.If you direct-seed, do it in late summer or early fall. You canset out transplants a little later. Space plants 12 to 18 inchesapart in rows 2 to 3 feet apart.Keep an eye on caterpillars. Several can be troublesome on thesecrops. They’re really hard to control on broccoli or cauliflowerif they get into the developing flower.Bt products (Bacillus thuringiensis) are good at controllingthese problems. They make caterpillars sick and eventually killthem.Collards probably did as much as any food to keep hunger at bayfor many poor farmers in the South. Even today you’ll see collard plants 2 to 3 feet tall during the winter in the backyard of rural homes.The lower leaves are often snapped off as the plants grow,leaving a tall, bare stem and a cluster of leaves on top. Youdon’t have to harvest them this way. You can pull an entire plant once it gets 18 to 24 inches tall.Turnips, tooTurnips can be grown much like cole crops. The bonus is that thetops and roots are both edible. Prepare turnip greens much likecollards, but dice the roots and add them to the pot. Turnipsrequire about 70 days to mature.Garden peas probably won’t last through a hard freeze but willstand some light frost. Start them in September for peas in lateNovember. Plant 3 to 4 seeds per foot in rows 6 to 24 inchesapart.Use the close spacing to form a bed of peas and the wider spacing if you plan to trellis them. Check when you buy your seeds to see if they need trellising.Edible-pod peas are tasty, too. They often will have “Sugar” inthe name, such as “Sugar Pod,” “Sugar Snap” or “SugarAnn.”(George Boyhan and Terry Kelley are Cooperative Extensionhorticulturists with the University of Georgia College ofAgricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img

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