Fall is falling fast. The year is passing very quickly, so don’t let your chance to plant some warm-season vegetables pass you by.
We are blessed in the South to have two or more planting seasons each year. After the abundance of the summer harvest, many folks forget the demand for produce might even increase in the fall. A little effort now will pay dividends about frost time.
Many warm-season vegetables can still be planted and produce without the harvest season being shortened by frost. Snap beans, cucumbers, peas and summer squash need to planted soon to produce before frost.
If you use transplants and don’t mind gambling a little on frost or covering to prevent frost damage, many other vegetables like tomatoes and peppers can be added to the mix. Most seasons, with a little protection, we can produce tomatoes at least until Christmas.
However, most of these warm-season vegetables will have many insect and disease problems in the fall that will require some means of control. Many growers apply a fungicide and an insecticide on a weekly basis. However, to reduce pesticide use, it is best to scout your crop and use integrated pest management techniques to control only the problem present.
Also, there is a new problem with all cucurbits (cucumbers, cantaloupes, squash and watermelons) called resistant downy mildew, because it is very difficult to control. You can do a fair job of control with a fungicide that contains chlorothalonil or mancozeb until the disease gets started in a field. Then you should use a more expensive product like Ranman or Orondis, which list the desired crop on the label. Always follow the label. It is the law.
Also, now is the optimum time to plant most of the cool-season vegetables. The list of cool season vegetables is almost endless, but it include beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, collards, kohlrabi, carrots, onions, radishes, turnips, mustard, rutabagas, spinach, etc.
These are what I call grown-up vegetables, because most kids hate them. However, I learned to appreciate the nutritious value of these vegetables at an early age, because I grew-up in a home where these vegetables were the only thing available to eat. If I didn’t like something that one of my eight brothers and sisters did, I would go without.
Caterpillars – what we call “worms” – are the worst insect problem on most of these vegetables. They are fairly easy to control, unless you are getting your transplants from or growing in an area where the worms have resistance to chemicals such as chlorantranilliprole (Coragen).
Then you must do what I call “back up and punt” and apply other products before the crop is devastated. Many products controls this disease, but Coragen is one of my favorites. Always follow all label directions.
To learn the specifics on farming vegetables, visit growingproduce.com and download the 2019 Southeastern U.S. Vegetable Crop Handbook.
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