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Master Gardener Sue Morris: Now is the time to plant fall vegetables

A second crop of fall-bearing vegetables can be planted now. It is also time to stop fertilizing perennials, trees and shrubs.

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If you are interested in planting some fall-bearing vegetables, now is time. There is usually a nice rain every year right after the County Fair. Let’s hope that is the case this year as we are in need of rain.

Things to know about planting fall vegetables:

Some vegetables will tolerate some frost and keep growing even when temps are in the low 40s. Others cannot tolerate frost and will stop growing in cool weather.

Bush snap beans mature in 45 to 65 days but even a light frost will kill the plants. Kale takes just as long to mature, but the plants continue to grow when temperatures are cool and can survive cold down to about 20 degrees.

Keep reading below the related content for more of this week's column from Master Gardener Sue Morris.

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Temperatures have not been optimal for vegetable production this season. Blooms fall off before becoming fruit, and once it gets over 90, many bees slow down and pollinate less as well.

Cool-season vegetables include kale and others in the cabbage family and may be the best choice. Fall-seeded radish are better than spring-seeded radish and are very slow to bolt in the cooler weather.

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You can harvest leafy vegetables before the leaves reach full size. The small leaves are more tender and tastier than mature ones.

Garlic planted in September/October produces the biggest bulbs the following July. After harvesting a late-maturing crop, you can plant garlic in that space.

Another benefit of planting a second crop, you don’t have to contend with as many weeds as you do in the spring.

Before sowing a second crop, turn over the soil and mix in some balanced fertilizer to replace what earlier plants have used up.

Leftover debris like stems and roots from the first planting can cause problems in seed germination if you don’t remove them. Wait one to two weeks before seeding the second crop or be sure to remove this material as completely as possible.

Radish do best in poorer soil so don’t fertilize the area where they are planted.

If your onion tops have flopped over and are drying up, this is a good time to harvest them before fall rain might make them rot. After pulling/digging up the onions, place them in a dry shed or garage where they may continue to dry down.

I place mine on an elevated old window screen to allow air circulation. You can also tie the tops together and hang them up for drying.

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At this time, you should discontinue fertilizing perennials, trees and shrubs. They need this time to slow down growth and get ready for another winter. It’s fine to keep fertilizing annuals as they don’t need to slow growth.

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Master Gardener Sue Morris has been writing this column since 1991 for Kandiyohi County newspapers. Morris has been certified through the University of Minnesota as a gardening and horticulture expert since 1983. She lives in Kandiyohi County.

Master Gardener Sue Morris has been writing a column since 1991 for Kandiyohi County newspapers. Morris has been certified through the University of Minnesota as a gardening and horticulture expert since 1983. She lives in Kandiyohi County.
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