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Community Garden: When to get ready for your fall garden

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Continued…now we will finish and talk about what to put in your fall garden. There are two general classifications of vegetables. They are tender and hardy. That refers to how they can handle the cold.

Mark SpradlinWe will talk about tender first because you need to make sure you are ready to plant these at the earliest opportunity. Be careful if it stays hot, not warm, but hot. All of the dates are possible suggestions. So here we go.

Most of these can be planted using seeds so that makes it easier and gives the young plants time to adjust to the temperature. Bush beans by Aug 20 with 60 days to harvest, cowpea beans by Aug 1 with 75 days to harvest, pole beans by Jul 30 with 70 days to harvest, lima beans by Aug 20 with 75 days to harvest, cucumbers by Aug 20 with 65 days to harvest, eggplant (use plants) by Jul 35 with 90 days to harvest, peppers (use plants) by Jul 15 with 95 days to harvest, pumpkin by Jul 30 with 120 days to harvest, squash by Sept 1 with 50 to 120 days to harvest depending on the type of squash, tomatoes (use plants) by Jul 15 with 80 days to harvest.

Now these are just some suggestions of the types of tender plants that will keep your garden going during the late summer and early fall. A freeze or frost will stop production of vegetables in most cases unless you provide some kind of protection during the cold temperatures. Covering these plants with plastic or hoop row covers will prolong the life of the plants somewhat. Once it is cold they are normally done.

If you are not paying attention and it freezes you should immediately pick all the vegetables on the plants. If you leave them on the plant they will quickly ruin. Some of these vegetables will get a little sweeter if hit by a freeze but they will surely die and spoil in less than half a day if you do not pick them. There is nothing you can do to prolong production or bring the plant back. It is time you put them in the compost pile. A small ceremony can be held for the kids, if you want, because the plants have died. Kind of like what you do for hamsters when they expire.

This is Oklahoma and the transition between summer, fall and winter is a blur and happens several times. That means that these tender plants may have a real hard time surviving. The heat gets them and the cold gets them and the insects and varmints get them so you need to be paying close attention to the weather patterns and predictions.

Now that your appetite is ready to go and you want a fall garden, I will provide you with a list of hardy plants in the next column. Isn’t this fun? Continued one more time with the hardy plants to come.

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