Now is a great time to get our fall garden going. But, what can you plant in a fall garden?
Cool-season edibles such as broccoli, cauliflower, collards and lettuce can be started in seed trays. However, you can also purchase these as seedlings in the coming weeks at plant nurseries, garden and other local shops. Look these seedlings over carefully selecting hardy green foliage with strong stems and no sign of disease or stress.
Start new planting of squash, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, turnips, beets, carrots and string beans. Plant every two – three weeks to extend the harvest over a longer period of time. Our goal should be to eat out of the garden as long as the weather cooperates. With a simple lightweight cold frame it is possible to eat out of the garden for most of the winter. Beets and carrots love the cool weather of fall. Try some new varieties such as Early Wonder or Bull’s Blood beets and Tendersweet or Little Finger Carrots.
Let’s not forget to plant some garlic in the garden. Garlic is considered a medicinal herb as well as a flavor enhancer. In Eastern North Carolina we need to plant the cloves about October 15-November 15. Inchelium Red and Silver Rose are two good varieties for our area.
The key to a good plant stand is adequate moisture during the germination stage. If you have trouble getting small seeds to come up try to use a seed tape. A seed tape is two pieces of biodegradable cellophane with the seed in between When the tape is placed in the row and comes in contact with soil it holds adequate moisture around the seed so that we get a more uniform germination of the seed.
In addition to an outside garden, you may want to consider starting some herbs in small pots for an indoor kitchen garden such as chives, parsley, lemon balm, and mints.
Two great sources of seeds for the garden are Johnny’s select seeds at 1-877-564-6697 or online at www.johnnyseeds.com and Sow True Seed at 1-828-254-0708 or online at www.sowtrueseed.com.
It’s never too late, or too early, to plant a garden in Eastern North Carolina, and your local Cooperative Extension staff is available to help you produce the most from your garden.
Tom Hroza is an Area Extension Agent specializing in Horticulture serving Sampson and Duplin Counties.