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Fall Vegetable Gardening Is Right Around The Corner

Charles L . Brasher
Courtesy Extension Agent-FAMU/Vegetables
Jackson County
clbrashe@ufl.edu

With the outside temps and the humidity into the 90’s now, you may not think about fall gardening at all. There seems to be a renewed interest in vegetable gardening and fall is a great time for growing vegetables, especially our greens and leafy ones. It is not too early to plan for it, especially if this is the first time you have tried to do a garden in the fall.

First, make a plan to plant what you and your family like to prepare and eat. Write down the names of the vegetables and allocate space for each by what they grow in (rows or beds). If you are preparing raised beds for the first time, or in a new garden spot, take a soil sample and send it to a reputable lab. University labs, such as the University of Florida, have the expertise and internal quality controls to give recommendations on garden and other crops and lawns. Pull your samples soon and be able to apply any recommended lime or fertilizers in a timely manner. Lime usually takes 2-3 months to dissolve and become available to the plants. Be sure to rotate root crops such as carrots and potatoes to new areas every third year to avoid nematode and fruit quality problems.

Practice field sanitation—remove all summer grown plants first. Clear a strip around the garden at least six feet wide so that thrips, whiteflies and aphids will not have instant or immediate access to your fresh, green vegetables. Weed control in strips will help cut down on host plants for these insects.

Plant or transplant resistant varieties of the cool season crops when they are available. Check with your Extension Agent for a list of disease resistant hybrids that are offered to the homeowner. Mosaic viruses and spotted wilt viruses have no chemical cures presently. Some beans, snow peas, and English peas are resistant to certain diseases, but will need to be monitored for fungi after leaves form. Use fungicide treated seed to help ensure a good stand. Some yellow crooknecks and straightnecks squashes, such as Prelude and Multi-Pik, are resistant to mosaic viruses, but will still need insecticides to control the rindworms, cucumber beetles, and others that may attack the stalks and young fruits.