Fall Harvested Vegetables

I have long been a big proponent of using the full gardening season to grow and produce fruits, vegetables and herbs in your garden.  I am not even talking about using season extension methods like row cover or high tunnels, but instead simply taking advantage of our fairly long growing season.

I posted a fall growing timeline on Talking Hocking back on July 8th.  You read that right,  summer is when you plan your planting.  You look at the frost and freeze dates and count backward.  I listed the best varieties to plant in the post.  I planted in early August the next round of zucchini and green beans.

The best thing about fall is that many of the problems you face in spring and summer go away.  The temperatures moderate,  the rain comes back and the bad bugs go away.  There are a ton of pollinators just looking for something with a flower.  You have ideal growing conditions and in many cases will get a larger harvest than the summer one.

Here is what a squash blossom looks like when it is not full of cucumber beetles

The green bean patch looks ragged but that was after a fourth picking of beans.  Still have at least one or two left before they are done for the season, but that still means beans until Halloween.

I thick planted carrot seed from a color mix.  As they mature I will pick out the largest carrots which will give room for the smaller carrots to grow larger.  They are cold tolerant and so the carrot patch will last until Thanksgiving.   They look and taste great too.

The weather prediction for fall frost and freeze noted a later arrival than most years.  That is helping for sure.  Not every year is like this one, but seed is cheap.  I planted 3 zucchini plants, 3 squash plants and a 9″ row of beans.  Cost was less than $2, totally worth it to take the chance and most of the plants still look great.

The ten day forecast for Logan has a small chance of a frost next week Monday night.  I am hoping the micro climate of my office, the street and the parking lot keeps it above 40 degrees.  If so I bet I will be eating these little beauties next week.

Next year make sure to take advantage of fall weather and make a plan to extend your harvest.  Fall is a great time for growing and you will be surprised by the amount you can sneak in before the frost and freeze dates.

Vegetable Gardening at Peer House

On of my more favorite job activities is to help get a vegetable garden up and running.  It can be backyard, urban farm or community gardening but I really enjoy the process as well as it is one of my areas of specialization –> Local Food Production.  I always say the best local food is the food you grow yourself.

I was referred by a colleague to Laura Nadeau, Site Lead, at Hocking County Peer House in Logan, a part of Integrated Service.  Laura besides being site lead is the resident chef, den mother, gardener and overall saint who keeps Peer House moving and she asked  if I would come over to help them get a vegetable garden plan going.  They grow vegetables that can be used in the food service , right up my alley.

First thing is that they have some great spots to grow flowers and vegetables.  Two nice half sun beds in the front and a perfect full sun, south exposure spot in the back yard off the deck.  So we made a plan.

Laura sourced some flowers and seeds(and started some transplants herself) and with some volunteer and resident help we got the beds planted.

This bed got flowers, the other front bed got roma tomatoes, the back beds are mixed veggies


You should see it now!  Harvest is on for tomatoes, zucchini, green beans and cucumbers with peppers and pumpkins on the way.


They even won an award for it.

A garden spot does not need to be large to be productive.  Contact me if  you have a space you wish to garden in and I will help you get started on the path to creating your own local food.

Fall Planted Vegetables

Have you checked the Fall Vegetable Planting Timeline to make sure you are maximizing garden productivity?  The NOAA/NWS projected fall of 2017 will have a delayed freeze risk of 1-2 weeks.  That gives the potential for a longer harvest into the fall.   You still have time to plant a bunch of seed.

I started some lettuce under the lights of my Seed Start Grow Station last week.

Four Season Marvel variety. Red leaf, cold hardy, very tasty

I will put these into The Urban Farm in a few weeks.  I will start more seeds in about 2 weeks or so.  Lettuce is frost tolerant and fairly cold hardy.  With row cover we will harvest until Thanksgiving easy.


In the Children’s Educational Garden here at the fairgrounds, harvest is in full swing with the cherry tomato vertical garden providing a colorful medley.  My favorites are the white and purple cherries.


I seeded bush green beans that have about a 50 day maturity from seed.


The zucchini is also up and I hope to start harvesting by end of september.


Fall is one of the best times to grow.  Maximize your production by getting some seed in the ground now so you have vegetables to enjoy later on.

All day gardening event at Bishop Educational Garden – Sept 9th, 2017

On Saturday September 9, 2017, the Hocking County Master Gardeners (MGV), in conjunction with the Hocking County Soil and Water Conservation District, are offering a day of fun, education and training entitled Secrets in Our Garden. “Our Garden” is Bishop’s Educational Garden located at 13200 Little Cola Road, Rockbridge, Ohio.

Attendees can select from ten different workshops including: Tree Identification, Invasive Plants, Pollinators, Container Gardening, Edible Landscapes, and more. The keynote speaker will be Julie Zickefoose, writer, artist and naturalist who will be presenting, Creating a Haven for your Wildlife and Yourself. Kris Cline, of the newly opened, Butterfly Ridge Conservation Center, and Rick Webb from Webb’s Perennials will be on hand to speak.

Registration includes five CEUs(for MGV), lunch and snacks; the cost is $30 for MGVs and $35 for non-members. The registration deadline is August 15. For more information, you may send an email to f16jazz56@gmail.com, call the OSU Extension Office in Hocking County at 740-385-3222, or visit the Hocking County Master Gardeners Events Page on Facebook.


Click Here to Print Brochure  –> Secrets in Our Garden (4)-1hdtrf3

Fall Vegetable Planting Timeline

Fall is a great time to harvest vegetables.  The weather is cooler,  the bugs not as bad, you still have some sunlight and the rain is a little more regular than summer.  To have a fall vegetable harvest you need to do a little planning to time your harvest to the frost date.  Our frost free date in Hocking is around the middle of October.  As of July 9th, we have around a little under 100 days of growing left.  Honestly that means you can still grow almost anything.

Start right now:

  • Asian cabbage, heading cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower – under the lights would be best.  I will start mine shortly in my Seed Start Grow Station.  Starting them indoors avoids high summer heat on fragile cabbage family transplants.  They will go out around Labor Day.  They do not mind cool weather and are improved by a touch of frost.

Lettuce and Asian cabbages are great plants to start with when you are learning to start seeds. They germinate rapidly and reliably and take to transplanting very well.

  • Feel free to start some lettuce indoors now as well.   A dozen heads of lettuce to start, and then repeat that every two weeks for the next month or two.  You might lose some if August is blazing or you might have homegrown lettuce to go with your BLT.
  •  Plant another row of green beans as well as start another few zucchini/yellow squash plants.  You have plenty of time to mature them,  trust me.
  • Direct seed some green onions and carrots now.  These will be tricky because they both take weeks to germinate as well as do not like to break through a hard dry soil crust.  They both tolerate cold later on and you get a harvest into October or November. 

  • If you did not do potatoes early on and you have some space go ahead and plant seed potatoes.  They will be buried under soil and mulch and you will have some in fall. 
  • Hold off a little bit for sugar snap peas, maybe another two weeks,  then start them as well.
  • You can direct seed another round of cucumbers now.  Then you have some to go with your lettuce and tomatoes for a nice fall salad.
  • Hold off about 3-4 weeks before you start radishes and beets.  They both grow pretty fast and taste way better when they mature in the fall.
  • Direct seed another round of Basil right now.  Then you have some later in the season that you are not having to cut all the time to keep in under control

Just a few ideas to get you started.  Mix in some row cover on some of the veggies and you can have a harvest that easily lasts to Thanksgiving.


Start Scouting for Harlequin Bug

Hocking County had a serious problem last growing season with Harlequin bug damage on crucifers.  Any plant that was not monitored with hand picking or treated with insecticide was severely damaged up to complete loss of product.  I have not seen this pest up in Columbus where I garden although I am sure it is on its way.  It is normally a southern pest but has been moving north with the temperatures like all the rest of the bugs. When I did the garden walk at The Logan Community garden last year I noticed that all the brussel sprouts had been chewed to bits by this guy:

August 2016 pic

Scouting started in mid-May with the first bugs noted at The Urban Farm on June 13th.

Feeding damage from the bugs is noted on the leaf in the form of white stippling. Large holes were caused by feeding of Cabbage White larvae

Hand picking was used to remove the several bugs noted instead of insecticide to allow harvest of the remaining broccoli.  The planting beds will be rotated out of broccoli within the next couple weeks and no other cruciferous vegetables will be planted until August, but scouting will continue.

In your gardens, especially if you have a long season brassica like brussel sprouts, you will need to do extensive hand picking as well as monitor for egg cases.  Consider using an insecticide as well.  More pics and treatment options in the links below.

Harlequin bug (Murgantia histrionica) –>  Profile: Journal of Integrated Pest Management

Factsheet: University of Maryland

OSU Vegnet photo identification

Weed Control Using Cover Crops – Winter Rye

I hate weeds.   In most gardens they are a nuisance.  In my community garden they are overwhelming.  I garden in an extremely old Victory Garden remnant that might be the oldest community garden in Ohio.

That means the weeds have been there for so long they have naturalized to the place and the seed bank it unreal.  Last year I put a third of it in Sorghum X Sudangrass as an experiment to see how well it would help smother weeds.   I did not see a decrease in weed germination after that but I did find the ground easier to work this year in that spot.  The plow does spread the soil around so that did not help with weeds.

Here is what I have to deal with.  This is the next door plot.  The owner has not done any work yet.

cocklebur, bindweed, thistle, lamb’s quarters, morning glory, smartweed, ragweed, etc…….

It is all about two feet tall and going to seed.  Here is a better picture to give you an idea of the weeds.

I tilled residue under after mowing last week to make a seedbed.

Normally I would have planted buckwheat in this spot, just like what was done at the Logan Community Garden last year, but I had some winter rye left over from last year and that is what I used.

One patch of thistle in the middle of this pic needs dug out. I will mow the rye to keep it from going to seed through the season.

The rye cover crop will smother weeds and add organic matter to the soil.  It will be much easier to manage and frequent mowing will eliminate annual weeds as well.