Grow fresh veggies through the fall

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It's time to start thinking about fall vegetables, including cabbage.
It's time to start thinking about fall vegetables, including cabbage.
Contributed Photo

While summer squash and cucumbers may be a recent memory, the garden doesn’t have to end. You can actually plant a second crop of these plants and continue to have fresh cucumbers until frost.

Many vegetable crops can be planted at the end of summer (July through August). One vegetable that I never have grown fond of is beets, but they can be planted now and then again in the spring.

A great reason to live in Wilson is our long growing season allowing us to have multiple crops of vegetables. Broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower can be planted now.

All of these crops tend to have caterpillars in the fall. Watch the plants closely for foliage damage and feed the tiny green caterpillar and kill it immediately. You will need to decide if the fresh vegetable reward is worth the effort of keeping your plants insect free. (The answer, of course, is yes.)

Collards can also be planted this time of year, but remember collards taste best after the first frost. So, you can delay planting collards by a few weeks so the leaves aren’t too big and tough. Collards take 60-100 days to reach maturity, so timely planting can make all the difference.

If you want to plant lettuce, mustard and other leafy greens, wait a little later when temperatures are truly cooling down for fall.

To have the most successful vegetable garden select an area with at least eight hours of full sunlight. Having your vegetable garden near the house makes for easier and more frequent harvesting as well as being closer to a source of water.

Soil preparation is key. Soil testing kits are available for free from the Extension office at 1806 Goldsboro St. SW Your report will tell you if you need to add lime and the specific fertilizer needed for you soil.

Many people grow vegetables in raised beds. This helps with water drainage, and it is amazing the amount of food you can grow in a small space.

For more information on vegetable gardening be sure to join us Monday, Aug. 20 at 5:15 p.m. at the Wilson Agricultural Center to hear our Garden Talks — Soul Food Vegetable Gardening with guest speaker, Bryant Glover, Beddingfield High School agriculture teacher and FFA instructor.

For other vegetable and gardening needs, call the trained Extension Master Gardener volunteers at 252-237-0111 or email at wilsonemgv@hotmail.com.