Gardeners still have time to grow those long leafy vegetables that you could not grow this past summer. Our regional climate lends itself to home gardeners having a spring and fall vegetable garden. A garden salad can be produced from the seeds of lettuce, radishes, spinach and carrots in just 45 days. When it comes to school vegetable gardens, my favorite is the fall garden. The fall garden is better than the spring garden at schools because the students get to harvest the crop. The spring school garden never fully matures before the summer break, however, the support staff harvests enough vegetables to put in their freezers. If you have never tried a fall garden, now may be a great time.
There are vegetables that can be planted during any season in Louisiana. Let us start with a few of the recommended vegetables for fall gardens. For instance, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, collards, garlic, lettuce, garlic, mustard greens, onion, radishes, spinach and turnips can be grown in the fall. The broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards and lettuce can be started now using transplants. Transplants can normally be purchased from your local nursery or garden center. Prior to planting apply five to six pounds of a complete fertilizer such as 8-24-24 or 13-13-13 per 100 feet of row. These crops, especially the cauliflower, require fast continuous growth for proper head development. The complete fertilizer will be important in the fall garden because phosphorus can be tied up in the soil by cooler temperatures. Phosphorus deficiency is normally recognized from the purple foliage on your plants.
Space broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and cabbage transplants about 18 to 24 inches apart. Keep them well watered and fertilized. Side-dress plants with ¾ pound of ammonium nitrate per 100 feet of row three to four weeks after transplanting and again two weeks after that.
Carrots, mustard greens, radishes, spinach and turnip greens can still be grown from seed this time of year. If you have lettuce seed you may still have some luck establishing them from seed as well, however, do not plant the lettuce seed too deep. Lettuce seeds require light for germination, so scatter the seed on the row and lightly rake it into the soil. Always keep the soil moist until the seeds have germinated and are well established.
Broccoli, cauliflower and turnips are heavy users of boron. Signs of boron deficiency on vegetables are large, water soaked, brown areas near the center of roots in turnips and a brown discoloration in cauliflower and broccoli. Symptoms are often hidden from view and discovered only when the crop reaches maturity. Once your plants are established, spray a foliar application of Solubore (.25 ounce per one gallon of water) or Borax (.50 to .75 ounce per one gallon of water) is the easiest way to correct this deficiency. You perhaps remember the old Mule Team Borax washing powder. This washing powder is an excellent source of boron.
Healthy plants tend to not have problems from insects and disease.
Take advantage of the best time of year to garden and produce your own garden salad this fall for better nutrition and health.
Please contact me for more information.