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Late Summer and Early Fall Vegetable Planning and Planting

Late Summer and Early Fall Vegetable Planning and Planting

By Rod Tyler, GardenSoxx
Photographs courtesy of GardenSoxx

About this time of year, a lot of gardeners hit the wall, so to speak, when it comes to continuing to put effort into spring gardens. Often, weeds, disease or insects have set in and are causing more maintenance issues, compared to early spring when everything is nice and neat. While maintaining your existing garden is important, now’s a good time to start thinking about planting a late summer or early fall vegetable garden. If you have already maximized your current garden space, there are options to help you consider new areas for late summer and fall.

Gardens are starting to get so much weed pressure about this time of year that it becomes overwhelming to keep up with. You might consider starting a new late summer/early fall garden in another location to jumpstart your fall gardening efforts. GardenSoxx are mesh planters that you can use virtually anywhere and they make it easy to put gardens in quickly, especially when your existing space is planted. With GardenSoxx, you do not need to use the soil – they can be used on blacktop, over lawn areas with a weed mat, on mulch beds, patios, and driveways, as this video shows.

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Fill the GardenSoxx with good quality locally made compost or a bagged potting mix or raised bed planter mix. One cubic foot of growing media makes one two-foot GardenSoxx section. Filling them is easy with the EZ Filler Kit available online and they can be configured in a number of ways, not just as a 4 x 4 garden.

Let’s take a look at plant varieties that are most popular in late summer/early fall gardens. If you live in warm climates, another planting of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and the normal summer crops could be considered. But a lot of areas are prone to colder extremes starting in September, so we should also consider hardy cold weather crops here. These might be snap peas, kale, arugula, chard, collards, oregano, thyme, sage and other cold hardy herbs. Many leafy greens will actually overwinter and still grow in GardenSoxx through very cold weather. The flavor profile of these wonderful greens is enhanced with cold, and nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins are readily available. Cooking with fresh herbs during fall holidays brings a special taste to the meals as compared with dried herbs.

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If you have not yet started seedlings for a late summer/early fall garden, there is still time. Most seed trays are good at producing a transplantable seedling in about 3-4 weeks, which is perfect timing for a second garden planting. When planting in GardenSoxx, you can direct seed, but due to the current heat most of the country is experiencing, the seedlings would perform better if a little TLC were provided first by sowing in plug trays. You can then transplant those plugs into the GardenSoxx when the roots are to the bottom of the seed tray.

When choosing seed trays, look for deeper-rooted trays instead of shallow-rooted trays, because this will help ensure success during transplant. The larger the plug, the better chance of survival. When planting the plugs into the GardenSoxx be sure to get the plugs all the way into the soil. You can simply cut a hole in the GardenSoxx, use a garden dibble to make a hole for the plug and drop it in.

This video link describes both direct seed and plug planting methods for GardenSoxx. If the GardenSoxx are moist when you plant, the hole will remain open and easy to plant. Dry planting media inside the GardenSoxx will fall back into the hole, like loose soil, so make sure the media is moist pre-planting.

To water GardenSoxx, use either the drip irrigation system provided in kits online or water daily by hand, making sure to water directly into the planting hole. The mesh used for GardenSoxx helps prevent weeds from blowing into the growing media, but it also repels water falling on it instead of into the planting hole. The absolute best way to water the GardenSoxx is by using the irrigation kit. This drip tape is inserted under the mesh and connected to the hose adapter from your garden hose. If a timer is added for automatic watering, you can be sure watering will happen at the time you select.

Late summer and early fall are great times to grow food to feed your family. Plus, when next spring comes you will have a weed-free area ready to plant. If some of the plants successfully overwinter, you can continue with those through the spring or plant new plugs. Happy Gardening!

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