Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

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Can I grow summer vegetables for a fall harvest?

Several vegetables can be planted in late summer for fall harvest. Short season, cool weather vegetables such as mustard greens, chard, winter radishes, kale, kohlrabi and turnips can all be planted up to late August. Bush beans and beets can be planted up until mid August for harvest in early October. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Chinese cabbage plants may be set out between mid-July and August 1 for the fall garden. Late July is a good time to start parsley in a pot outdoors for growing inside during winter.

The lack of adequate soil moisture is likely to be a problem in summer planting. If the soil is too dry, open the seed trench, fill it with water and allow the water to soak in before sowing seeds on the wet soil. Cover the seeds with fine soil or vermiculite and lightly pack firm. Planted this way seeds should germinate quickly. Summer rains can form a crust on soil surfaces which and can create a barrier for emerging seedlings. A light mulch on the seed rows is helpful in preventing soil crusts from forming.

Early thinning is especially important when you sow seeds in mid summer. Plenty of space will permit rapid, uniform growth and ensure early harvest. Except for beans, the crops listed prefer cool moist growing conditions and will withstand severe chilling. Kale, collards, and turnips will even withstand light frost.