To me and my family, there are few things more satisfying than harvesting food from our own garden. My little girl loves to walk through the garden and tell me what plants are her favorite. Granted she gets them mixed up sometimes, I can’t bring myself to correct her yet. My wife and I enjoy the products of our hard work all summer and she even dabbles in canning. But now that the summer harvest is closing (for us anyway), we are starting to plan our fall garden.
There are a few things that are always on our checklist before every planting season. Firstly, we take time to clear out all the remnants from the previous season’s vegetables. After the plot is clear, I like to take a soil sample to check nutrient levels. Many people grow gardens without ever sampling, but I think at least once a year is good for garden plots. Once we have identified nutrient needs, we can fertilize and till the area we plan to use. We usually don’t go to crazy on vegetable selection, but a few can tolerate this south Georgia climate.
I personally like to plant from seeds when I can just for the fact that its cheaper. With a well-managed garden, several vegetables can be grown from seed here, this time of year. Green beans, pole or bush varieties, can be planted in September. I don’t have a particular favorite but to me the bush-type beans are easier to manage and my poles always seem to end up blown over when I plant the other varieties. Onions are a good choice also for September, but buying quality bulbs is a must. Lastly, radishes are good in this region and I like how they open up to soil. This is good for the soil and can be a great benefit for you spring garden.
For those who either 1) get behind or 2) don’t like to start from seeds, transplants are still an option. Kale and lettuce survive well when transplanted in the late August/ September timeframe. September is also the time to transplant your strawberries if you plan to have them. I worry about the insect pressure this time of year though, but a more seasoned gardener can handle the task.
Regardless if you plan to uses seeds or transplants, home gardening is rewarding hobby that almost anyone can do. With the proper care and preparation, you can be enjoying your own produce this fall. Be sure to pick disease resistant varieties, provide ample water, and control your weeds. We will go deeper into home gardening in future articles. If you have any questions now, feel free to call us at the extension office. As always, be safe out there.