If gardeners can irrigate fall vegetable crops, now is the time to prepare for them. Have you arranged for fresh seeds and seedlings? Gardeners also should know the condition of the soil — that is, the fertility, pH and percent of organic matter.

Soil testing information is available at www.soiltest.tamu.edu, or call the AgriLife Extension Office at 823-0129. A soil test report will indicate if soil amendments are needed for the vegetable crops that you plan to grow. If any are needed, till them in at least two weeks before planting time. If none are needed and the soil is not compacted, tilling may not be needed.

Most vegetables require moderate fertility to grow and yield normal amount of produce. Extra high nitrogen will cause many plants to grow faster and larger than normal, with less and smaller produce with off flavor. If the fertility is too low, the plants will be stunted and may not develop any or a small amount of undesirable produce.

Planting

The soil should have sufficient moisture to start the fall crops and be kept moist for them to grow and be productive.

Small seeds should be near the soil surface, and larger ones only planted up to four times deeper than the thickness of the seeds.

The following dates to start fall vegetable crops were calculated from the average first freeze date of Nov. 28 in Bryan-College Station. Planting dates are critical in the area, particularly for the fall-winter garden.

Starting dates for vegetables and the space (inches) between plants (p) in a row or bed, and between rows (r) or pathways.

• Through Aug. 10: Winter squash 48-p, 48-r.

• Through Aug. 15: Cucumber 36-p, 36-r.

• Through Aug. 20: Sweet corn 12-p, 24-r; summer squash 36-p, 48-r.

• Through Aug. 15: Cucumber 12-p, 36-r.

• Aug. 10 to Sept. 10: Pole beans 6-p, 36-r.

• Aug. 10 to Oct. 20: Garlic 4-p, 6-r.

• Aug. 15 to Sept. 15: Bush beans 6-p, 6-r.

• Aug. 15 to Aug. 31: Irish potatoes 12-p, 12-r.

• Aug. 20 to Nov. 15: Swiss chard 6-p, 12-r; mustard 6-p, 9-r.

• Aug. 20 to Nov. 20: Turnips 6-p, 8-r.

• Sept. 1 to Oct. 20: Beets 4-p, 8-r.

• • Sept. 1 to Nov. 30: Radish 2–p, 4-r.

• Sept. 5 to Oct. 25: Spinach 6-p, 6-r.

• Sept. 15 to Sept. 30: Edible pod pea 6-p, 12-r; English pea 6-p, 12-r.

• Sept. 15 to Nov. 30: Carrot 3-p. 6-r; lettuce 8-p, 9-r.

• Sept. 20 to Nov. 30: Kohlrabi 8-p, 6-r.

Set transplants

• Through Sept. 15: Peppers 18-p, 18-r; tomatoes 24-p, 48-r.

• Sept. 10 to Nov. 5: Brussels sprouts 21-p, 18-r.

• Sept. 10 to Nov. 15: Broccoli 18-p, 18-r.

• Sept. 20 to Oct. 31: Cauliflower 16-p, 18-r.

• Oct. 1 to Oct. 31: Collard 12-p, 18-r; kale 12-p, 18-r; green onion 3-p, 12-r.

These vegetable crops have matured successfully most years for experienced gardeners before cold temperatures arrive.

Usually, the fall months have more desirable weather for these crops and the gardener.


Write to Elmer Krehbiel, c/o Brazos County Office, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, 2619 Texas 21 W., Bryan, Texas 77803. Email him at gardening@theeagle.com.

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