Sunday, August 23, 2009

Fall garden time!

According to the fine, knowledgeable folks at Wilson's Garden Store here in Columbia, fall gardening "hasn't really caught on" in this part of the state. The tanned gardener told this to me after I told him about fall gardening in New Orleans, a litany of food I could grow in a tiny patch of land until December. The list included okra, cilantro, fennel, black eyed peas, just about anything but tomatoes. So the Wilson's gardener doled my seeds into little brown paper bags and labeled them by weight (as though I had more than a 50x50 plot of sunny ground). I probably now have enough seeds for an actual farm.

Those of you who set out your summer garden as late as I did (on account of my dog's health), you're only now seeing large yields: cucumbers hiding beneath the stippled leaves, green tomatoes weighing down your plants, green jalapenos galore. I harvested a single green bean yesterday.

But now is the time to set out pumpkins (for baking, not ready for Halloween), lima beans, spinach, lettuces, squash, green beans, Swiss chard, and probably countless other plants whose growing season in Missouri I'm only now learning about. More warm weather to come, and enough sun to produce at least a few things to eat before the first killing frost. For those of you who regularly plant food crops in the fall, feel free to add to my woefully small list.


Texas Travelers said...

Our tomatoes have log since stopped yielding tomatoes. sigh.

Nice post.

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Eryngos and Argiopes.
Green Tree Frogs.

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Travis Mohrman said...

many things can be grown in a fall garden in missouri, however, it can be very very patchy and frost fabric is an absolute necesity. usually, a bedsheet will not work. it gets way too heavy with dew and then smashes all the tender lettuce and herbs.

to all fall gardeners around here i wish you the best. it can be the most depressing form of gardening in this state because your plants will be almost there....just days away....and wam! one 25 degree night kills everything. then it climbs back into the 70's for a few weeks just to drive you nuts!

never give up though, because some years are great. brussel sprouts and cauliflower grow really well in the fall also as spring gets too hot too fast to grow good tasting brussel sprouts.

Erin said...

I have never planted a fall garden and was wondering what to try. I have spinach and lettuce seeds from the spring still. Maybe I should try them again!

Allison Vaughn said...

Oh, I think spinach and lettuces are a cinch to grow in the fall. What's the germination time, like, 10 seconds on most lettuces?

Travis Mohrman said...

the key to great fall lettuce is that you have to plant the seeds twice as deep as you would plant them in the spring. (this depth varies depending on variety) if you plant them as shallow as spring, those super shallow roots get blasted by too much august/september heat and they just start dying. obviously, this isn't a problem for them in the spring. mulch could fix this theoretically, but if you have mulch right up against your lettuce sprouts, they will damp of. after they have been up two weeks or so, the mulch is put back around them and everyone becomes happy!