It’s not too late to continue to enjoy your garden and to add new plantings. You can grow a variety of produce in Kentucky gardens in the coming weeks and have several fresh items available well into the fall.
Cooler nights later in the year can increase the sugar content of many crops and thus increase their quality. Cooler nights also slow growth, so your crops can take longer to mature than in the summer. Keep this slower pace in mind when you check seeds for days to maturity.
Early August is the right time to make your last planting of bush beans, carrots, sweet corn, kale, collards, bibb lettuce, turnips, and cole crops such as kohlrabi, Chinese cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. For late August and into September you can try planting mustard greens, spinach greens, radishes, turnip greens and leaf lettuce.
Before planting, remove any existing debris, including crops and weeds from your garden bed, move them to the compost bin and then prepare the soil.
If the previous crop was well fertilized and grew vigorously you may not need to add much, if any additional fertilizer, otherwise apply about 2 to 3 pounds of a complete fertilizer such as 5-10-10 or 10-10-10 per 100 square feet of planting area.
Remember to keep fall gardens well watered as this tends to be a fairly dry time in Kentucky. A weekly irrigation sufficient to wet the soil to 6 or 8 inches should be adequate. This is more or less equivalent to a weekly 1-inch rain.
To learn more about fall gardening options, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service and ask for publication ID-128, “Home Vegetable Gardening in Kentucky.” You may also view the publication online at http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/id/id128/id128.pdf
Submitted by Rick Durham, Extension Horticulture Specialist, University of Kentucky