Thomas J. Koske | 4/19/2005 10:28:28 PM
August to early September is an important time for Louisiana gardeners. Our late-summer-to-fall season can be a short stretch from too hot to too cold. Many short-season spring vegetable crops can be replanted now, but choose crops that will be harvested in 90 days or fewer.
Start seed or plant transplants of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, southern peas, Chinese cabbage, collard, mustard, turnips, Swiss chard, squash, cucumber, bush beans, snap beans and lima beans, rutabagas, radish, lettuce, shallots, kohlrabi, cantaloupe and beets.
Well-developed transplants of eggplants, okra, peppers and tomatoes have a chance, but will not yield much except in deep South Louisiana. Areas below I-10 get 30 to 40 more growing days than do areas above I-20.
August is a good time to also start your fall lawn preparation. Continue to mow regularly whenever the grass grows back one-third of its growth. Sharpen that mower blade if you have not since the beginning of spring. Water as needed, if in a dry spell. Irrigate deeply if needed, but only if needed.
August is a good time to have one last fertilizing of the lawn. Be sure to use a complete fertilizer – not just nitrogen (N). Potassium, the third number on the bag, should be at least half as much as the N (first number) to ensure a tougher grass in this fall. Apply about 1 pound of N per 1,000 sq. ft. for all grasses except centipede and carpetgrass. For these two species, use only half as much N.
It is important to have healthy grass going into the fall because that is the time it stores the food it needs to make it through the winter. Slow, but sturdy fall growth is the key to a good spring green up.
Don’t lose that growth to insects. Armyworms and chinchbugs are a common occurrence at this time. Scout the lawn regularly, especially if an area does not look quite right. Look for chewed leaf blades, discolored plants and the actual pests.
For related topics, look for Gardening and Get It Growing links in the Feature section of the LSU AgCenter Web site: www.lsuagcenter.com Additional yard and garden topics are available from an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.