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Master Gardener Sue Morris: Start thinking now about fall vegetables

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If you are interested in planting some fall bearing vegetables, now is the time to start thinking about it. There is usually a nice rain every year right after the Kandiyohi County Fair. No County Fair this year, but it would have ended on Aug. 8.

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.

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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.

If you planted Brussels sprouts this spring, they actually taste better after a light frost. They are the hardiest vegetable — they survive until the temps get down to 20 degrees, as does kale and collard greens.

Peas and beets survive in the high 20s but germination for them is 50 to 80 days.

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

Basil and cilantro are fast-growing herbs that are ready for harvest about a month after sowing the seed.

Garlic planted in September 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.

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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.

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.

Related Topics: HOME AND GARDEN
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