Time to Plant Beets and Carrots
The August heat and dry weather have made gardening a real challenge. Don’t be discouraged. As the weather gets a bit cooler, it will be time for rejuvenating the garden. Fall gardening can be easy and enjoyable. I am getting excited about planting my fall carrots and beets. They do well and are easy to grow. I will be starting mine the last week of August. This year I am using pelleted carrot seed. Its basically an organic coating on each individual seed. The value of pelleting lies in the ease of sowing the seeds in a much more uniform distribution, thus minimizing the thinning process. The coating dissolves quickly when placed in the soil. Pelleted seed is about the size of turnip seed.
If No Fall Veggies -- Plant a Cover Crop
We know it is important to build a healthy soil i.e., a soil that is alive, full of microbes, adequate minerals, and a reasonable organic matter level. Cover crops can be useful for reaching these goals. There are many choices. For simplicity in the fall, I have settled on two crops --Oats and Austrian Winter Peas. The peas have the advantage of
surviving the cold winters, growing again in the spring and fixing nitrogen in the soil. The oats has the advantage of quickly covering the site, and dying in the winter, thus leaving a heavy mulch cover that helps to curtail the development of winter weeds. I plant my early spring crops where I have the oats.
Oats and peas can be planted together, but the timing of the combination planting is tricky. If you plant the combination too early, the oats smothers out the peas. If you plant the oats too late, it does not make a dense stand, and the effectiveness as a mulch is minimal.
I use oats and peas, separately. By planting in early September, you should have a stand that looks like the peas (on the left) and the oats (on the right), by early November. They make a pretty sight.
Both oats and the peas are available locally, but generally only in 50 pound bags. I buy a bag and repackage for small garden plots. If you want some oats or peas, or information on how to sow, send me an email. I would be pleased to assist. Once you try these crops you will be hooked.