Fall planting season is here – Walterboro Live

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By VICKI BROWN

Now is the time to prepare soil for planting fall veggies.

According to Rob Last of Clemson Extension, the fall season is prime planting time for greens like mustard, collards and for cabbage and peas.

To begin planting, first check your soil.

Last says checking soil fertility is the first step in preparation. Minerals, pH acidity and alkalinity, previous crop nutrient removal, fertilizer, soil carbon and organic matter, and irrigation all play a part in creating and maintaining a healthy garden, he said.

To find out more about a garden’s soil, a sample can be taken and sent to Clemson Extension for an analysis. Go to hgic.clemson.edu/how-to-take-a-soil-sample/ to find out how to collect a sample.

In the Lowcountry, sandy soil is prevalent. This soil has larger particles, and water flows easier, but there is less nutrient and water retention. Last suggests cool season cover crops which increase soil organic matter, reduce soil erosion, capture nutrients applied to summer garden, provide competition in weed management, and help with nematode management.

Types of Vegetables to Grow

Most cold weather vegetable varieties will grow in South Carolina. The rule of thumb is to select cold hearty types similar to what you would plant in the early spring. Some popular choices include: acorn squash, broccoli, butternut squash, cauliflower, carrots, chard, lettuce, pumpkins, spaghetti squash, spinach, tomatoes.

Great cool season crops are legumes, red clover, Austrian winter pea, oats, rye, wheat, daikon radish, and mustard.

Group crops by growing length, and know that heirlooms take longer to grow and harvest.

Plant different families in different spots each season This helps reduce pest and disease pressure. Maintain at least four years between the same plant family.

In South Carolina, harvest time for fall vegetables runs from October through November and even later around the Lowcountry.

For cold snaps using raised beds or raised rows with soil in mounded rows helps protect the plants.

Harvest

Whatever vegetables you decide to plant, make sure you watch closely for signs of frost. You may need to harvest while the produce is still small to prevent it from being damaged. This is most often the case with traditionally warm weather vegetables such as tomatoes. The plant will continue to produce as long as it does not experience several nights of cold temperatures.

“Right now, disease pressure from powdery mildew and gummy stem blight has really increased significantly over the last week,” said Last, in his Clemson Extension weekly report. “Maintaining a tight spray program will be key to managing diseases. As we look forward to strawberry planting, the land needs to be prepared. If you plan to fumigate, ensure the plant back interval between fumigation application and planting is maintained. A good test can be to plant some lettuce seed in the treated area. When lettuce germinates, the risk of damage from fumigation is reduced. Finally, on any remaining fall plantings, consider using a labeled pre-emergent herbicide to help with weed management. Once the crop and weeds emerge, options are drastically reduced.”

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