Column: Start your fall gardens now


Despite the heat of late July, Hancock County Master Gardener Emily Snider said it’s not too early to start a fall garden.

“Right now, your summer vegetables are the height of it, so I have the tomatoes and stuff like that growing, but now is when I start working in the cooler vegetables like carrots and beets,” said Snider, a Fortville resident and owner of Emily’s Backyard Blooms, a local flower and plant shop.

Snider said gardeners don’t have to rid their garden of the summer vegetables that are still producing. Instead, start fall items in containers and transplant later or, in the case of root vegetables that don’t transplant well, keep in containers throughout the fall season.

“That’s perfect for people who are limited on space or don’t have the best ground to grow in because you can still grow in containers,” Snider said. “I use larger buckets or milk crates to make impromptu pop-up gardens to plant my vegetables in.”

Snider said the end of July or early August is the best time to plant vegetables such as beets, carrots, kohlrabi and radishes – vegetables that grow below ground. But because the heat might be too much for some cool-season vegetables that grow above ground, she suggests waiting until the end of August to plant vegetables like lettuce and kale.

Gardeners also can strategically use shade and water to make sure their fall garden doesn’t get too hot in the late summer heat.

“It is still hot out, and Indiana weather is finicky, so be mindful of the weather,” Snider said.

Fall also is the best time to plant flower bulbs for tulips, daffodils and other spring flowers, as well as transplanting peonies, cone flowers or Shasta daisies.

“Once the weather has cooled off, they take root faster,” Snider said.

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