Vegetable gardens do not have to begin in the spring and end by mid-summer. A new crop of vegetables can be planted in the garden late in the season and a fresh round of vegetables harvested in most regions before the first frost. Plant and grow a late season garden with these tips.
Prepare Vegetable Seeds For Quick Germination
Early to mid-August is the time to plant a late season garden so the vegetables will have time to reach maturity before winter. To help the vegetable seeds germinate quickly and ensure fast plant growth, the seeds need a soak and a chill.
Prepare a gallon of warm weak tea (one small tea bag per gallon of water. To the warm (not hot) weak tea, add one teaspoon of baby shampoo, then immerse the vegetable seeds in the warm mixture to soak for one hour. After an hour, place the mixture in the refrigerator for two days. On day two, remove vegetable seeds from their chilly soak and spread out on a paper towel until they are dry enough to handle.
The tannic acid of the tea breaks the seed’s dormancy, the baby shampoo softens the seed’s shell and the chilly temperature in the refrigerator changes the seed’s life cycle, all of which will cause the vegetable seeds to germinate much more quickly than unprepared vegetable seeds.
Prepare The Garden Soil
The garden soil will be depleted of nutrients after producing summer vegetables and will need amending to provide instant food for the late season vegetable garden.
Remove all debris from the garden soil, then till or spade in well-rotted cow manure or compost into the soil along with a healthy dose of Epsom salt to promote fast plant root growth. Sprinkle a generous amount of Epsom salt on top of the garden soil, almost covering the soil with the white Epsom salt, then work into the garden soil thoroughly.
Plant, Mulch And Frost Protection
Plant a late season vegetable garden just like a spring garden, but rotate the vegetables and don’t plant the same vegetables in the same garden location.
Mulch the late season vegetables as soon as the plant produce two leaves. Use any organic material as mulch to prevent weed growth and keep soil temperature and moisture consistent.
In case of an early frost, the late season vegetables can be covered with newspaper at night for protection. Remove the newspaper covering before the sun hits the garden the following day.
Vegetables To Grow In A Late Season Garden
Mustard, collards and turnips are popular choices for planting in a late season garden, but there are many other vegetables that can be planted too. Carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, beets, broccoli, onions, peas, radishes, parsnips, Swiss chard, lettuce and spinach are all great choices for a late season vegetable garden.
A vegetable garden doesn’t have to dry up and die in mid-summer, plant a new late season garden and enjoy another crop of fresh vegetables before winter.