Use three seasons for kitchen gardening |  Features

Use three seasons for kitchen gardening | Features

The climate of our area allows vegetable gardens to take place during the spring, summer and fall.

While looking at seed catalogs and online, plan the garden for each season on paper. The process involves harvesting the crop when it is ripe, removing these plants and planting the next crop immediately.

The spring season starts in late winter and runs through spring. This garden starts with cool seasonal crops. These crops grow best with relatively cool air temperatures of 50 to 65 degrees and produce their vegetative growth during the short, cool days of spring.

If planted in late spring, the summer heat reduces their quality by forcing some to flower and form seeds or bulges, and others to develop taste, bitterness, poor texture, and low yield. For example, lettuce bolts and develops bitter taste in the heat.

To begin the earliest garden, spinach and peas can be sown directly in the garden in mid to late February. Plant beet, carrot, radish, kale and lettuce seeds in the garden soil in March along with onion sets.

In addition, potato seedlings, collards and cabbage transplants can be planted around March 15th. Towards the end of March, plantations of broccoli and cauliflower are planted in the garden. Also these cool seasonal crops can be planted and harvested from late winter to late spring.

Plant the cool seasonal crops together so that there is room for autumn vegetables in the same area later after the first crop is harvested and removed. However, do not plant closely related vegetables in the same rows in the fall due to possible disease and transmission of insects from the spring crops.

As a warning, when preparing the soil for spring crops, wait until the soil is arable and dry enough so that it does not form wet lumps. Tillage the soil when it is wet destroys the texture for several years and causes compaction. This can delay desired plant dates, but it is important to avoid compaction.

In early spring, do not use organic tires such as straw. Rather let as much sunlight as possible reach the ground to warm it up. After the end of April, use bark chips to preserve soil moisture and help prevent weeds.

The summer season begins with crops planted during the cool days of late spring through the warmer days when the danger of frost is over. These crops are harvested during the summer months, while others continue to produce into the fall. In addition, the spring garden harvest ends around the time when the summer season harvest begins.

Examples of summer garden vegetables include crops from the cool season that are sown or transplanted before the danger of frost is over, but they can withstand hot weather at harvest. Heat-tolerant lettuce varieties and fast-ripening crops, such as radishes, are included.

Heat-year crops sown or replanted after the average frost-free date, which is around April 20, are planted in the summer garden. Planting later prevents slow germination from cool conditions and frost damage to new plants. Warm seasonal crops require warm soil and air temperatures for vegetative growth and fruiting.

These would include green beans, bar beans, sweet corn, cucumber, okra, southern peas, watermelons, summer squash such as courgette and winter squash such as acorn squash. Tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, cucumbers and melons are transplanted after the danger of frost is over, which can be the last week of April to the first week of May.

The vegetables of the autumn season are harvested after the beginning of September. They consist of two types: the last row or repeated plantings of warm-season crops, such as bush beans and summer pumpkins, and of cool seasonal crops, which grow well in the cool autumn days and tolerate frost.

Note that cool nights slow down growth, so crops take longer to ripen in the fall than in the summer. Keep this slower pace in mind when checking out seed catalogs for the average days to maturity. Some of the best quality vegetables are produced on the hot days and cool nights of autumn. These environmental conditions add sugar to cabbage crops like broccoli and crispiness to carrots.

The following vegetables can be successfully sown or transplanted for autumn harvest:

beets, garden lettuce, carrots, collards, green beans, lettuce, mustard greens, parsnips, radishes, rutabaga, spinach and turnips. Broccoli and cabbage transplants placed in the garden on August 15 usually yield a sweet crop in the fall.

The publication ‘Home Vegetable Gardening in Kentucky’ (ID-128) provides the earliest and most recent dates for either sowing or transplanting vegetables in the garden. For more information on the vegetable garden, contact the Daviess County Cooperative Extension Service at 270-685-8480 or email

Rotation of closely related vegetable crops reduces disease and insect problems. The following families of vegetables are closely related and exposed to the same diseases and insect problems: Amaranthaceae: beetroot, chard and spinach; Brassicaceae: cabbage, cauliflower, kale, collards, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, turnips and mustard; Fabaceae: peas, broad beans, schnapps beans and lima beans; Solanaceae: potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes and peppers; and Cucurbitaceae: pumpkin, squash, watermelons, cucumbers and musk melons.

Upcoming events“Considerations Before Planting Fruit Trees In The Backyard” will be presented via Facebook Live through the Daviess County Public Library on Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. 14.00

A commercial horticultural program, “High Tunnel Tomato Production, Pathogens, and Pest Management” will be offered by Zoom on January 13 at. 17:30. Watch from home or join a guard group at the Daviess County Farm Bureau Building, 3329 Wathen’s Crossing, Owensboro, at the same time. It is recommended to wear a face mask with the guard group. The zoom link is located at

Annette Meyer Heisdorffer, PhD, is a horticultural extension agent at the Daviess County Extension Office. She can be contacted by calling 270-685-8480.

Annette Meyer Heisdorffer, PhD, is a horticultural extension agent at the Daviess County Extension Office. She can be contacted by calling 270-685-8480.


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