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Extend the Garden Season

Jul 23, 2008
All the hopes that were poured into planting those seeds and seedlings back in April and May are coming to fruition now in a bountiful harvest of squashes, cucumbers, lettuces, peas, potatoes, green beans, and onions, plus delightful herb offerings.

My plan for gardening intensively (more plants in smaller areas) and organically, with straw mulch six inches deep, has paid off in virtually no weeding chores and very little watering. My losses to the bugs consist of 2 squash plants, one summer, one winter, to the, what else?, Squash Bug. It is mid-July and the weather has consisted of plentiful showers, hot, sunny days, and not-so-hot, agreeable nights.

My efforts have been rewarded trying some new things in this "first" garden of the growing season. I followed my Uncle Bob's advice in harvesting onions while the roots were still firmly attached so they would not rot. Propping the cucumber vines onto a trellis prevented them sprawling everywhere and made harvesting easier. A new variety of potatoes fulfilled its promise of resistance to the voracious potato beetle.

Since the season this year has been good for gardens, and since Uncle Bob told me his daddy always planted his "second" garden on June 21st, I have decided to plant a "second" or fall garden. Usually, at this point in the summer season, I have no desire to go out in the heat and humidity and work in the garden. This year, however, I know the garden's potential still lies in unharvested plantings of fall vegetables. It is just as exciting to plan this garden as it was to plan the spring garden.

I have made space for the fall garden by removing the dried snow pea vines, pulling up the stalks of bolted lettuce plants, and determining what can grow in between the rows of corn and dying potato vines. This is accomplished through diligent searching of gardening websites, contacting the local county extension office, and talking to Uncle Bob. I knew I could plant cool season crops again such as spinach, lettuce, peas, and beets but was not aware that second plantings of tomatoes and squash would result in harvesting these foods well into the fall.

So, I've ordered the seeds for the fall plantings of beets, kale, lettuce, and spinach. I've set out my little cabbage plants. I've planted two short rows of seed onions left over from the spring planting. I'll mulch and water, if necessary, and I'll watch my fall garden grow.

And soon it will be time to start my winter garden.
About the Author
Chris Jensen Furlong is a contributing Author of Jetfly Blog. For more related articles and reviews visit Jetfly Home & Garden Blog now. Also, for the Best up-to-date related Online Products, check out Jetfly Gardening & Plants Shop for Todays Current Online Deals.
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