Fresh summer produce is still delicious, but production is slowing down. Garden tasks should center on cleaning up the old garden and getting the new one started! Now is the time to start pulling out all your vegetables that aren’t producing. The "vines" can be cut up and added to the compost bins. Make sure that anything with a "seed or disease" goes in our weed bins and not in the compost. If you have additional produce you cannot use or are not able to harvest, email the CG and Outreach can harvest for you.
Soil amendments can be dug in actually starting now if your vegetable production is down. Be careful when adding manure on overly hot days. Let the soil “rest” for at least a week to break down so you don’t burn the tender roots of your new plants.
Amendments: Compost - Kellogg’s N’Rich or Amend - 6 cu ft for 10’x20’ (half for a 10'x10') - Chicken Manure - Organic - 8 cu ft for 10’x20’ “ Spread all amendments and then use “claw” to work amendments into soil.
By turning your attention to ‘what lies beneath’ the structure, drainage and organic matter in the soil, your garden will live up to your expectations and you will spend more time harvesting than weeding or dealing with plant pests and diseases.
If you’re not going to have a winter garden, cover crops are an excellent alternative; choices include alfalfa, soybeans, fava beans, winter rye and winter wheat. Dig them in next spring two or three weeks before planting as “green manure” to give it time to decompose and not “burn” seeds or delicate seedling roots.
You will likely get a year or two out of your basic soil, but soon you will need to add a source of phosphorus. Crops with adequate phosphorus show steady, vigorous growth and earlier maturity. This means larger fruits and vegetables in the spring. Earlier maturing crops are less susceptible to summer drought, disease infection and frost. In addition, rock phosphate is rich in minor elements such as boron, zinc, nickel and iodine which plants need in small amounts for optimum growth. Long term and slow-release feeding, rock phosphate becomes naturally available as the plant needs it. Phosphate is essential for growth, and is commonly overlooked by gardeners. Buy a sack of rock phosphate and sprinkle some into your bed. The bag will last years, and it stores well. Try adding a little rock phosphate to your beds every two years.
Maintenance: • Adjust your water usage. You shouldn’t be watering more than 5 minutes a day, at this point. This will be lowered as the weather and time changes. • Sunflowers - put them in the weed bins. • Tomatoes - pull off all tomatoes vines, cut up, and put in compost bin. Tomatoes go in weed bins. • Zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, melons - pull off any vines, cut up, and put in compost bin. Whole veggies go in weed bins. • Weeds, nutgrass – Pull the roots of the weed and put in weed bins ONLY. Not in compost bins! • Sow cool-weather vegetable seeds indoors • Groom and fertilize hanging baskets and container plants to keep them thriving through the fall This is the month to prune and feed roses and for their last bloom cycle before going dormant. Hold off on severe pruning until plants are fully dormant in January. Feed plants lightly, and water. Continue to water them only in the mornings to lessen mildew and other wet foliage at sunset with warm evenings disease problems!
Planting: NOW - Root Crops - Beets, turnips, radishes, carrots, parsnips - when sprouted, thin to 3-4” apart - Potatoes - Red, fingerlings, purple, Yukon gold - no russets - If you plant now, you can harvest in December / Replant in January and harvest in April.
As always, if you have any gardening questions, don't forget we have an Adult Education Committee that holds general information classes usually around these planting times. You can email: Communitygardensofsc@gmail.com and someone will get back to you.