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Fall Planting

Local experts recommend some very tasty veggies that you can plant this month and harvest in the fall. Get those seeds in the ground now, folks!

By Jennifer Adamson

Aug 2014

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What color is your thumb? Whether you answered green or are still puzzled by the question, vegetable gardening can be for everyone, and it’s easier than you think. This list gives you some ideas of produce that thrives in southwestern Missouri, as well as arm you with suggestions for what to plant now to yield a successful crop come the fall months. Growing and harvesting your own veggies can be a very satisfying experience. You just have to know how.

 

Extra Dwarf Pak Choy
This vegetable is a miniature bok choy with dark green leaves and white stalks and only grows two to three inches tall.
When to Plant: August 15 to September 7
Harvest: 3540 days
Growing Tips: Sprinkle seeds thickly, then thin greens to four inches apart. Add mulch to the area to keep soil temperatures down, as pak choy will quickly return to seed when temperatures get too hot.
Enjoy: Use young leaves in salads, or try whole plants in your next stir-fry dish.

 

Chinese Red Meat Radishes
Sometimes called watermelon radishes because of their greenish-white skin and pink flesh, this variety lacks the pungent heat of classic round, red radishes, making them a popular alternative. 
When to Plant: August 1530
Harvest: 6080 days
Growing Tips: Sow seeds 5 inches apart. Roots fully form at 4 to 5 inches in diameter. 
Enjoy: Slice them into a salad, or pickle them.

 

Golden Beets
Do you love beets but hate how they stain everything? Try this yellow, milder-tasting, more user-friendly variety.
When to Plant: August 115
Harvest: 5070 days
Growing Tips: Plant seeds 5 inches apart. Since beet seeds are actually several seeds stuck together, you’ll have to thin your crop when seedlings are 2 inches tall. Identify the best-looking one in each cluster, and snip the rest at soil level. 
Enjoy: Throw those snipped greens onto a sandwich for extra crunch. You can also roast the roots, or make slaw with them. 

 

Nantes Carrots
A favorite among local gardeners due to their ability to adapt to Missouri soil, this variety is bright orange and sweet.
When to Plant: August 115
Harvest: 7085 days for full-size, but they can be picked when they are large enough to eat
Growing Tips: Drop seeds no more than a quarter-inch deep, leaving half an inch in between. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see any growth for the first two weeks; carrots are slow to germinate. Weed regularly to prevent your crop from being choked out. Just be sure you are pulling weeds and not the tops of your vegetables.
Enjoy: Add them to your favorite juice blend for an extra dose of Vitamin A and potassium.

 

Snow Crown Cauliflower
This variety of cauliflower looks similar to what you see in grocery stores and on restaurant salad bars.
When to Plant: August 115 
Harvest: 6575 days
Growing Tips: Cauliflower grows best from transplants. Buy them from a nursery, or start your own in peat pots. Space them 18 to 24 inches apart in the ground. Keep a close eye on your crop around harvest time, and snatch it up before the curds of the head begin to open. 
Enjoy: Dip raw cauliflower in your favorite dressing, or roast it with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

 

More Info

Still have unanswered questions or want to buy seeds? The sources for this story are just the folks to help you out. The University of Missouri Extension Center has tons of resources for home gardeners, and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds sells just about every veggie seed you can think of for your home garden.

University of Missouri Extension Center
417-881-8909, extension.missouri.edu

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
2278 Baker Creek Road, Mansfield, 417-924-8917, seeds@rareseeds.com, rareseeds.com

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