This year is particularly important to have a fall vegetable garden because of the predicted higher grocery prices. Our critical drought and extremely hot weather has severely damaged corn and other crops.
One way to reduce the grocery bill and eat highly nutritious food is to grow a fall garden. Late July through mid-August are suggested planting dates for cool season seeds. Around Oct. 15 is the average first frost.
Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli have the best flavor when they mature in the late fall. Cabbage, mustard, onions, radishes, spinach, and turnips are considered hardy vegetables and can survive a late, hard frost. Beets, carrots, lettuce, potatoes, parsnips, and cauliflower are all semi-hardy and tolerate light frost.
A great benefit of fall gardens is they require less time and labor because the soil was already worked up in the spring and weed growth is, hopefully, slowing. You do need to remove all weed growth and rototill or spade your fall garden at least 6-8 inches deep. You can apply a fertilizer such as 12-12-12 and thoroughly mix with the soil. Apply about 1-2 pounds per 100 sq. ft. As always, plant seeds as directed on the seed package and water thoroughly. You need to watch your fall garden for moisture content and not let seedlings dry out. Water about one inch one time each week. Young seedlings may need to be watered more often during the first week so.
Keep in mind that crop rotation is important in controlling certain diseases. Many disease organisms only attack plants in the same family. You can sometimes avoid disease problems by not planting the same kind of vegetable in the same location. The recommendation is not to plant vegetables in each of the following groups in the same location more than once every three years.