Gardening is so rewarding and so much fun, why not extend it into the fall. Now is a great time to start planting a fall garden.
Fall gardening can be more beneficial than spring gardening. Some of our spring crops will actually grow better and produce better under cooler fall weather than they do in warmer spring temperatures. The weather often warms up quicker in the spring and can cause our spring crops to bolt or die early with little production. The longer, cooler fall season can be the answer to this problem.
The average first frost date for most of Southeast Nebraska is October 6-16, this comes from data from the High Plains Regional Climate Center. You can use the first frost date to figure out when to plant fall crops. Use the first frost date as a starting point, count backward the number of days to harvest listed on the packet of seeds and add a 10 day fall factor because the plants will mature slower due to the cooler weather. Plants or seeds should be planted in late July to early August.
Good plants to grow in the fall include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, lettuce, carrots, radishes, and peas. Some local nurseries may not carry the transplants for your fall garden later into the season. Check around to look for local inventory and see which nurseries will still carry these crops later in the season for fall planting. If you cannot find them locally, you can order seeds or transplants from mail order catalogs or through online shopping options.
Garlic should be planted in the garden in the fall. It is best planted in early October or 6 weeks before the ground freezes. You can clean up your garden from summer crops then plant garlic in the space. It needs to be planted in the fall or very early spring to go through a cold period which will initiate bulb formation. If planted too early, before mid-September, the plant can get too far in development and be injured by cold temperatures. If planted too late, in November, not enough root development will occur prior to soil freezing conditions. If you miss planting in the fall, you can plant garlic in March or April and still get the cold temperatures necessary for bulb development.
When planting garlic, divide the garlic bulb into cloves just before planting and plant with the point upward in the soil. Plant the cloves 2-4 inches deep and 4 inches apart in double rows 12 inches apart and 36 inches between rows. Keep garlic mulched through the winter months to prevent frost heaving, where the freeze and thaw of the ground pushes the plant out during the winter months. Leave the space for your normal spring and summer crops because garlic isn’t harvested until late June to mid-July, after 30-50 percent of the leaves have died back.
Plant second round of summer crops
Succession cropping, or double cropping can be done in our gardens right now as well. This is a gardening technique that allows a gardener to utilize a longer season of growth with multiple or the same crops. An early crop is grown, harvested, cleared off and a new one replaces that first crop. You can also do a staggered planting where you continually plant every week or 2 in the early season or plant an additional crop later in the season for longer harvest. Staggered planting can be helpful to avoid peak insect populations and avoid the majority of the damage on crops. Start your second crop in July if you haven’t already planted again.
If you have any further questions please contact Nicole Stoner at (402) 223-1384, email@example.com, visit the Gage County Extension website at www.gage.unl.edu, or like my facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/NicoleStonerHorticulture and follow me on twitter @Nikki_Stoner