Garden double

first_imgBy Terry KelleyUniversity of GeorgiaIt’s midsummer in Georgia right now. But it could be spring allover again for vegetables.We generally plant summer vegetable crops in March and April andwind them up about this time of year.But we can grow two summer crops in Georgia.The growing season can start in spring around mid-March. Itdoesn’t have to end until the first frost of fall. This usuallyhappens around mid-October in the mountains and mid- to lateNovember in the southern part of the state.That means we can plant crops like tomatoes, pepper, squash,sweet corn, southern peas, snap beans, cantaloupe and eggplantall over again. Cooler-season fall crops can be planted a littlelater on.Fresh startSome folks may plant at intervals from spring through midsummer,which is fine. Others may carry out harvests on tomatoes, squashand the like throughout the summer. However, rather than tryingto keep the same plants producing indefinitely, you often get abetter harvest by making a fresh start.Tomatoes, pepper and eggplant should be transplanted just as youdid in the spring. For crops like squash, cantaloupes andcucumbers, however, seeding them directly into the ground willwork just as well if not better. Snap beans, sweet corn andsouthern peas are generally directly seeded.Rotate cropsDon’t plant the same crop back in the same place. Rotate yourspace so you can reduce potential disease problems. If youplanted squash there this spring, plant pepper there for thesecond crop.Rotate families of crops. Plant peppers, tomatoes or eggplantwhere you had squash, cukes or cantaloupe. But don’t plant cukeson the same ground where you had squash.Getting a crop established will be more of a challenge than itwas in the spring. Because of the intense heat, you’ll need tokeep the garden watered enough to reduce heat and drought stress.Water during the day to provide some cooling on the surface andallow foliage to dry by nightfall.Don’t waitFrom late July until frost will be roughly 120 days, so cropsthat mature in less than four months will usually make beforefrost, barring an early fall.However, the longer you wait, the longer it will take your secondcrop to mature as days get shorter and the weather cools off(eventually). So start these crops by mid-August. Somefast-maturing crops like snap beans, cucumbers and squash canstill produce if planted by early September.So don’t let the summer heat cheat you out of the rewards of yoursecond harvest.(Terry Kelley is an Extension Service horticulturist with theUniversity of Georgia College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences.)last_img

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