August 16, 2020
Time to Plant Your Fall Vegetables!
Extend Your Growing Season with a Long List of Autumn Options

By Brian Monaghan
Master Gardener and Madison Environmental Commission Member

August is a great time to plant. The list of vegetables you can grow from seed for fall harvest is quite extensive. Examples of cold-tolerant plants that can typically withstand some degree of frost are:

Leafy plants — Spinach, arugula, lettuce, cilantro, kale, bok choy, kohlrabi and chard

Root vegetables — Beets, turnips, radishes, carrots and rutabaga

Consult your favorite catalog (my favorite is Johnny’s Selected Seeds). Note that certain varieties have been bred to reduce or delay bolting.
Garden Bed Prep
  • If your soil was previously prepared in the spring, there is no need to turn it under. 

  • Remove all weeds and finished vegetable plants. 

  • Smooth the soil to remove any depressions or channels. 

  • After sowing your seeds, carefully water and then mark each row with the name and variety. 

  • Once the seeds have sprouted, thin the rows to the proper spacing between plants.

  • Normal maintenance of weeding and watering should be practiced until harvest. 
Light & Temperature Control
  • Plant your seeds in the shadows of existing plants to keep them from bolting if temperatures get too high.

  • Mulch around sprouted plants to help keep the soil temperatures lower.

  • Remove existing plants as they wane. As you do, your new crop will receive the proper amount of light.
Year-Round Harvest?
Planting a fall crop is a great way to stay involved with your garden and extend your growing season. Depending on the weather, your garden should keep producing until November, and if we get another winter like last year, vegetables such as kale might last until next spring.

Good luck, and great gardening!

Image of mulched sprouted celery above by Andreas Göllner from Pixabay.
The Best Stretch for Gardeners
By Jeff Flyer, PT

Reverse the stress of sustained stooping and/or forward bending with the gentle standing backbend stretch, demonstrated in this short video by my son Keith.

Place your hands in the small of your back (just above the beltline, in the natural hollow of your back). While keeping your knees straight, bend backward gently, and hold this position for a count of three. Relax, then repeat 5 to 10 times.

Like all exercises, this one should not produce any significant pain while stretching and should get easier with repetition. If done just prior to, during and immediately following a bout of gardening, your back should remain happy and so will you!

Photo at right by Dominika Roseclay
from Pexels.
This is NOT an ideal position
to maintain.
Where to Donate Unwanted Items
Doing Good While Diverting Items From the Landfill
For pickups of charitable donations of gently-used clothing and household items, you can contact the Vietnam Veterans of America, OR the Lupus Foundation of America.

The Market Street Mission Thrift Store in Morristown is accepting drop-off donations, and Long Hill Chapel in Chatham has a clothing donation bin.

If you have dead appliances, please donate them to Green Vision Inc. in Randolph. They take "anything with a plug" (except for tube TVs), along with VHS tapes, audio cassettes, CDs and record albums.
Learn More About Gardening
Some Favorite Local Resources

  • The Chatham Bookseller in downtown Madison, which sells (and buys) used and rare books, has a diverse section on gardening

Photo courtesy of The Chatham Bookseller
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