Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fall Vegetable Gardening: Part 1

It's about that time to start your fall vegetable gardening, depending on your first frost. Here in Virginia we usually get our first frost in late October. Find out your frost date.

Mid August is the perfect time to get those fall vegetables in the ground. Check your soil for the correct pH levels. Summer plants will drain a lot of the nutrients from your soil.

Determining when to plant, you need to know the average date when your area gets its first killing frost. Once you have determined the frost date, look at the plants you want to grow and look at the number of days for maturity, plus the number of days for harvest, add two weeks for Fall Factor (slowing growing due to cooler nights). This will give you how many days you need to count back from your areas frost date.

I am going to plant Spinach:
Days to germination: 8-10
Days to harvest: 45
Two week fall factor: 14 days

Equals = 67-69 days

Virginia's frost date: October 20

Which would have been last week, August 13. Have no fear, the seeds are still going to be planted. Hopefully I'll be able to get them in the ground by this weekend. Stay turned to what I plant in my fall vegetable garden.

Some cool weather plants are spinach, kale, turnips, mustard, broccoli, cabbage, radishes, lettuces and onions. These plants thrive in the cooler days. If your area is calling for a mild frost, around 30 degrees, cover your plants with a light tarp, 5 gallon buckets, or netting. This will keep them from the frost bite.

Enjoy your fresh garden vegetables up to the first frost. This is usually when fresh vegetables rise in cost at the grocery stores.

Don't forget about your local farmer's markets. They are in full swing right now.

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