Plan for fall vegetable gardening

August 14, 2007|by BOB KESSLER

Recent rains have been very encouraging to gardeners. Perhaps you are one of those who want to do some fall vegetable gardening now that you have some soil moisture. Crops that can be planted yet this year include lettuce, radish, spinach, kale and turnips.

Our frost date in the fall is Oct. 10-15. To determine if you can still plant something, figure how many days you have until frost. Then look on the package for the length of time it takes to grow the crop. Add to that a reasonable harvest period of a couple of weeks.

If you want to use some type of season extender like row covers or plastic over wire hoops over your rows to protect against hard frosts, you can extend your growing season well past the first killing frost. Check your garden centers for seeds for your late season vegetable crops.

Tomato tasting

Next week, the Penn State Master Gardeners of Franklin County will host their annual Tomato Tasting Day at the Horticulture Center on Franklin Farm Lane in Chambersburg, Pa. We will be offering anyone who stops by our tent, the opportunity to taste over 20 varieties of tomatoes and to rate them by appearance and taste. The purpose is for you to learn how some of the new tomatoes taste and what you might like to grow. We are also collecting the information to share with the local growers, so they can grow the ones you say are the best tasting. We will be open for tasting from noon to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 22. We would love to have you stop by the tent.

Fall turf renovation

Like many of you, I am looking at my lawn and wondering if I will need to do some renovation this fall due to the damage this summer. The ideal time to seed lawns in our area of Pennsylvania is from mid-August until early October. After this the risk of failure increases.

Renovation of a lawn means more than just throwing some seed on the bad spots. You need to establish a good seed to soil contact to get good germination. If your lawn is only slightly damaged, you can use vertical dethatching or aeration to open up the soil. You can use a slit seeder on lawns that were more heavily damage from the summer. Any of these tools can be rented from local rental stores.

If you are interested in learning more about lawn renovation, plan to attend a workshop I am offering on Saturday, Sept. 8, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Penn State Extension office at 181 Franklin Farm Lane in Chambersburg.

The cost of the workshop is $5 per person. Registration is necessary because space is limited. Please call 717-263-9226 to register or stop by the office for registration information.

Bob Kessler is an Extension agent, specializing in farm and garden, for Penn State University. He is based in Franklin County, Pa. He can be reached weekdays at 1-717-263-9226.

The Herald-Mail Articles