The Vegetable Garden

Zones 5-6 Garden Calendar and Monthly Garden Tips - Sept - Dec

 

September:

  • Gather leaves for composting. Mix green and dry materials and alternate with thin layers of soil or compost for more rapid decomposition.
  • Now is the time to reap the harvest of the fall garden.
  • Zone 5 has a fast approaching frost date, with this in mind, now is the time to think about winter storage for the those vegetables you managed to grow in the garden . Different vegetables need different conditions to insure good results.
  • Buckwheat is a good source of green manure, but should be turned under before it sets seeds. Turnips and beets are also good sources of green manure.
  • Summer's tomatoes are finishing up. Some gardeners pick the leaves off the tomato plants to expose the tomatoes to a bit more sun, or cut the tops out of the tomato vines to help ripen the existing tomatoes. Cover if an early frost should happens, as we usually have several weeks of good weather after the first frost.
  • Let winter squash stay on the vines as long as possible for long keeping. Wait until the vines die back or there is danger of frost. Check by pressing with your thumbnail, if the skin is easily broken they are not fully matured and may not keep well. When you harvest leave two to three inches of stem on the squash. Allow them to cure in a warm, dry, well ventilated place for a couple of weeks before placing them in storage, this will allow them to dry and harden their shell. Never wash them until just before using and never carry squash or pumpkins by the stem.
  • Sow hardy spinach and kale in a cold frame.

October:

  • Cover sensitive plants with blankets, sheets or protective cloths. Remove next morning.
  • Keep gathering leaves. You can never have enough compost, mulch or organic matter in the soil.
  • Plant late-season purchasers of perennials or move and rearrange old ones to improve your planting plan. Group plants according to water needs as well as sun requirements
  • Harvest late season crops and store for winter consumption.

November:

  • Thin lettuce and spinach.
  • Mulch crops you want to "hold" in the ground with straw.
  • Harvest frost sweetened Brussels sprouts, carrots. parsnips, cabbage and kale.

 

December:

  • Send for seed catalogs.
  • Mulch perennials shrub and fruit bearing garden plants.
  • Clean up dead remains of last years garden.
  • Start a compost pile with leaves and garden remains.
  • Clean and oil garden tools.