Summer Garden Refresh

When you’ve picked those spring veggies from the garden, DON’T leave the bare dirt just sitting there!!

By summer, you’ve certainly harvested your radishes and spring peas, your spinach and lettuce has either been eaten or has bolted with the summer heat, so you probably have a couple bare spots in your garden beds. If you don’t fill those spaces with SOMETHING, mother nature will …in the form of pesky weeds.

So, what can we plant that can be harvested before our first frost arrives?

First, you must know your first frost date. Here in middle TN, our first frost is Nov 15, so we have about four months between July and October to grow something else in those places. Four months is a long, long time in gardening terms, but you may only have two or three months yourself. Look for plants that harvest around 60 days, keeping in mind the 1-2 week germination period isn’t included in that, and the fact that plants slow down considerably in September due to the shortening days. I know, I know, that’s a lot of math… but it’s worth it!! If you have a 60-day plant (8 wks) that needs to be out of the ground by Oct 1 (just making that up), they need 8 weeks plus 2 weeks to germinate plus a couple extra weeks because September is slow, so 12 weeks-ish. You need to get those plants in the ground by July 1st. See? You have plenty of time to plant a second crop in your garden.

Try some bush beans. Harvest is about 40-60 days. You can grow green beans, black beans, red beans, just make sure they’re BUSH beans and not pole beans. They’ll germinate in about a week, and you’ll harvest in plenty of time before the end of summer.

If you’re not a bean person, you can plant some cucumbers or summer squash or zucchini. They LOVE the summer heat and will QUICKLY give you some yummy goodness. They all harvest in 50-60 days!

How about some herbs!?! Herbs sometimes take a while to germinate (2-4 weeks), but they will LOVE being put in the warm ground and you can harvest them (1/3 of the plant at a time) until the winter freeze kills them. Even if you can’t use them all now, you can dry them and keep them on hand all winter. Hey, maybe you can plant some dill to go with those cucumbers. Just a thought.

There are some fast corn varieties that harvest in 70 days, but you better hurry on those. Look through your seeds and see what you have. Check the local nursery or plant store for late season sales! At the very least, drop a couple flower seeds in the ground. Anything is better than weeds!

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