As a member of the OSU Suburban Gardening Program, Greene Acres has received a Monthly Gardening Journal prepared by the Master Gardeners who mentor community gardens. The journal gives a list of tasks that can/should be completed throughout the growing season. Check back here every month and see if you’re “on track” or already behind!
- Plant garlic cloves for next year.
- Dig sweet potatoes before the first frost.
- If frost is predicted: green tomatoes can be taken inside and ripened out of the sunlight or put in a plain paper bag to ripen.
- Plant a cover crop. We’ve had good results using red clover or field peas. Rye seems to create spring cleanup issues.
- Finish final clean up. You have a deadline!!!! Hint: it’s December 1!! Remember any manmade materials you brought into the Garden must be taken home for the winter. If you don’t, you might never see it again!!!
- Repair and clean garden tools for storage (will be done by the Construction/Facility Work Group….you can volunteer to help!).
- Drain and store hoses and rain barrels (also a Work Group job). Water in the garden will be turned off around November 1.
- Store leftover seeds in paper or in glass jars in the refrigerator. We have some donated seeds for next year that will be distributed at our next membership meeting.
NOTE: The average (50% chance) frost date for our area is October 23. But you must realize that anytime in October frost is possible! In fact, there is a 10% chance that we’ll have our first frost by October 8th!!!
- Prepare soil in your plot for planting:
- If your fall cover crop wasn’t winter-killed, cut it off at the soil line, let it dry on your bed and then lightly hand till in.
- Add a layer of 1-2″ compost and organic fertilizer (nitrogen only).
- Disturb the soil as little as possible — the microherd is hard at work improving your soil health!
- Transplant cool weather crops; cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, new asparagus and rhubarb and strawberry plants, as well as onion sets.
- Plant seeds: peas, carrots, Swiss chard, spinach, lettuce, kale (and other salad greens), radishes, beets and kohlrabi.
- Clean and fertilize (nitrogen only) organically your mature asparagus, rhubarb and strawberry plants.
- Harvest mature asparagus and rhubarb at the end of the month.
NOTE: a soil test can be taken at the beginning or the end of the garden season. The information will determine any need for organic soil additives. OSU Extension recommends using the University of Massachusetts Extension Soil and Plant Nutrient Laboratory in Amherst MA. (http://soiltest.umass.edu/). That laboratory is closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s hope we can get soil tests by fall!
- Plant potatoes just before May 10.
- Plant these seeds toward the end of the month: beans, cucumbers, squash, melons and okra.
- Plant after the last spring frost day (generally May 20 but in Cleveland, one never knows!): tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant.
- Continue to harvest mature asparagus and rhubarb.
- Thin previously sown early spring vegetable seedlings: peas, carrots, Swiss chard, spinach, lettuce, kale, radishes, beets and kohlrabi.
- Keep weeds under control by pulling them as soon as they sprout. Hold off on mulching your plots until the soil warms.
NOTE: Watch for a late frost (yes, it’s Cleveland, it happens!). Cover transplants with lightweight sheets or newspaper if frost threatens. DO NOT USE PLASTIC.
- Replace cool-weather vegetables that are going to “seed”.
- Organically fertilize all crops by mid-month.
- Harvest peas, lettuce, spinach, beets, radishes, carrots and young onions (scallions) and June-bearing strawberries.
- Harvest asparagus and rhubarb until mid-month.
- Apply mulch (shredded leaves, straw, etc.) when the soil warms. For other mulch alternatives click here.
- Tie leaves over cauliflower heads to whiten them. Tie up tomatoes on stakes or in cages.
- Weed and water when necessary (if less than an inch per week). No sprinkling – water low at soil level not overhead.
NOTE: Start organic pest control early. Check plants for insect damage. Pick off insects or use row covers. Use organic pesticides only as a last resort. Check our Facebook page for the Bug Byte Blog……and don’t forget the reference book in the shed for more details and pictures (“Good Bug/Bad Bug”).
- Keep up with the weeds. Check your mulch to be sure it’s still thick enough to keep most weeds smothered.
- Keep your sprawling plants under control. Don’t let squash plants escape your plot; keep the tomatoes growing vertically.
- Water as necessary (if less than an inch of rainfall per week).
- Harvest beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, summer squash and early potatoes.
- Plant seeds for cold weather crops for fall harvest: peas, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and parsnips.
- Plant another row of beans even as late as the third week in July. Beans can even handle early light frosts…should we get one.
- Harvest the garlic planted the previous Fall. Harvest when bottom leaves die and about 5 leaves are still left at the top. Cure in a warm, dry airy location, out of the sun. Keep tops and roots attached.
- Prepare for Fall Gardening. Check the fall gardening handout in the Shed and the list of potential crops below.
- Harvest vegetables regularly at their peak of flavor and for continued production. Don’t forget to donate some of your harvest as part of our Harvest Group initiative. Unharvested vegetables may be picked by the Harvest Work Group and donated to the food bank. Re-read Rule #14!!!
- Clean up garden debris as plants decline. Compost any material that is not diseased. DO NOT COMPOST weeds with roots or seeds or whole/partial tomatoes. Take them home to dispose of in your household trash.
- Think about a fall cover crop. Order seeds! Plan on where you might sow as you are removing vegetables that are done growing.
- Don’t forget garlic will go back in your plot in Sept/October! Plan accordingly.
NOTE: This is the month to preserve your harvest for the winter by canning, freezing, pickling and drying.
Plant candidates for Fall Gardening:
- Bush beans
- Beets (including their greens)
- Broccoli raab
- Chicory, endive, radicchio
- Greens: Individually or as mixes (e.g., mustard, kale, collards, Asian greens)
- Lettuce: leaf and head type
- Peas: shelling, sugar snap, and snowpea type
- Radishes: Daikon (60 days) and other faster radishes
- Scallions and other hardy bunching onions, for fall use and to overwinter for spring
- Harvest and cure winter squash and gourds.
- Harvest after frost: pumpkins (after first frost), parsnips and Brussels sprouts. We usually don’t get a September frost, but be aware it could happen!
- Consider donating some of your harvest. The 2020 pandemic makes this a really important part of our Garden. The harvest bin is in the shed.
- Keep on weeding as necessary, including the paths around your plot. If the paths need some extra wood chips, get some from the wonderful piles outside gate, eastern side. The thicker the wood chips, the better the weed control!
- Begin putting your plot to bed. Here are some things you can do:
- As crops finish, cut the plant material at soil level and place in the compost bin–as long as it’s not diseased. (Diseased material goes home to your garbage!) Chop up large plants to accelerate composting. Note: roots left below ground in your plot will decompose and feed the soil over winter. DO NOT PUT WHOLE TOMATOES IN THE COMPOST BIN !!!!!!! They become a source of disease next year!
- Don’t leave any soil bare! Plant a cover crop or mulch with compost or straw. No need to add any more nitrogen until spring.
- Remove all garden stakes, trellises, garden art, etc. as soon as they are no longer needed. They cannot be left in the garden or shed over winter!
- Begin thinking about how you’re going to survive the next 5 months without garden chores….you may need extra emotional help to deal with this. Get it lined up!