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Plan Now for Fall Vegetables

Sun, Jul 16th, 2000
Posted in

Monday, July 10, 2000

Its not too late to sow seeds of many short season vegetables. Many gardeners want to get all their seeds in and then just let it grow! But staggering planting dates will give you a longer harvest season. This week there is still time to plant snap beans, beets, basil, carrots and kale. Lettuces may still do well if it doesnt get too hot.

Many garden centers and nurseries have great sales on annuals and herbs to tuck in where the radishes and spinach were. These pot-bound treasures will really take off if given good soil and plenty of water. Be sure to pull apart the roots if they are root-bound.

For fall harvest of kohlrabi, leaf lettuces, radishes, spinach and turnips plant seeds in early to mid-August.
Companion Planting

Planting a diverse mix of plants is not only beautiful but can create a healthier garden as well. Companion planting mates plants together for several good reasons including:

Companions help each other grow. Tall plants, for example, provide shade for sun-sensitive shorter plants. Plant flowers such as cosmos, spider flower (cleome), or flowering tobacco (nicotianna) in your lettuce patch.

Companions use garden space more effectively. Climbing plants cover up the ground, upright plants grow up. Native Americans commonly planted pole beans and squash with corn. Beans climbed up the corn and everything shaded the squash.

Companions prevent pest problems. Plants like onions repel some pests. Other plants can lure pests away from more desirable plants. Leaf miners prefer pigweed or ragweed to peppers. Onions, garlic or chives planted with roses will repel many rose pests. Nasturtiums repel cucumber beetles.

Companions attract beneficial insects. Every successful garden needs plants that attract the predators of pests. Dill is a great companion for cabbage, brussels sprouts and broccoli. Cabbages support the floppy dill while the dill flowers attract tiny beneficial predator wasps that control cabbage worms

So what have you got to lose? Try companion planting as a way to increase your yields with out compromising your health with petrochemical sprays. Many successful organic gardeners maintain special hedgerows of plants that attract beneficial insects. These plants include: Anise, Basket of Gold (Aurinia), Bee Balm, Coreopsis, Cosmos, Dill, Fennel, Feverfew, Golden Marguerite, Lovage, Painted Daisy, Sweet Alyssum, Tansy, Yarrow and Zinnia.

To make your garden even more hospitable to beneficial insects give them a source of water during dry periods. You can make a simple bug bath by keeping a saucer of water in your garden. Adding a couple of small rocks gives them a place to drink without drowning.

Now, we dont want our gardens to be full of just any bugs. The beneficial insects we are talking about here include: Ladybugs, parasitic mini-wasps, tachinid flies, hoverflies, bees, spined soldier bugs, lacewings and ground beetles.

Dont just throw down the bug book and grab the spray, if you dont know what that bug is, call a Master Gardener, thats what were here for!

Virginia Cooper, Community Program Assistant at the Fillmore County Extension Office gardens and writes from her farm in Mabel. She is a Master Gardener and can be reached via the Extension Office at (507) 765-3896 or email virgcoop@

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