GARDENING: Weed vegetable garden; plant fall crops

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Despite the summer weather, dry and hot then wet and cool, and a few diseases on my tomatoes, this has been the best growing season that I can remember in a long time. And to be honest, other than weeding (which I haven’t really kept up with) I have paid very little attention to it this season.

Maybe that is what I need to do in the future. That’s not a good idea. This year has been a combination of the right weather and temperatures for plants to thrive. Until now. Que the music – duh duh duh.

I still have a load of tomatoes on my disease-ridden plants. They have dead leaves on the bottom because of bacterial spot. However, the plants are still healthy at the top and are showing no signs of this disease.

The problem now is that we are into this extended period of cooler weather. From what I am seeing, it’s going to be like this through next week.

Lows are not predicted to get into the 50′s, however, so that is a positive. Tomatoes don’t ripen when it’s either too hot (90′s) or too cool. So now I just must sit back and wait. I have enough ready to go to can and make spaghetti sauce, but I need the others ripened (NOW) so that I can do it all at once.

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Now is a great time to plant your fall garden. If you have never done this before, give it a try.

I have a few areas in the garden that are empty; I pulled all the onions, the broccoli is finished, and I have a few spots that weren’t planted.

I have beets, lettuce and spinach that I am going to plant, and I am going to try a late planting of zucchini. The first three will do great, the zucchini is questionable and dependent on warm weather.

The most important thing with a fall garden is to make sure you water when planting to germinate the seeds and to help seedling growth.

The other task in all gardens right now is to check on the weeds. REMOVE any of the weeds that are going to seed. This helps to prevent increasing the weed pressure in the future. Weeds are my nemesis. I am working on them now.

Finally, if you have extra space in the vegetable garden that isn’t being used, consider planting a cover crop. I am hooked on cover crops after planting one time.

I use a mix of buckwheat and red clover and am impressed by the results. Cover crops should be planted between now and mid-September to germinate.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

These are typically fall planted seeds that germinate in the fall, hang on through the winter, and then are either tilled under directly or killed off and tilled under.

Cover crops add organic matter to the soil. I haven’t used cover crops over the entire garden but the spots where I have used them, the soil is so much easier to work and has much better structure.

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu.

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