By George Boyhan
University of Georgia
The most famous of these are Vidalia onions. Others -- greens, collards, broccoli, cauliflower -- are also grown during the cooler parts of the year.
Bare-root transplants of onions and other cool-season vegetables are available in local stores during late fall. You can buy many in flats ready for transplanting, too. Or you can direct-seed them.
The spring and early summer are ideal for many warm-season crops such as peppers, tomatoes, watermelon and squash. Ironically, the hottest part of the summer is when we grow the fewest vegetables commercially.
Like, it's hot!Part of this has to do with marketing, but a lot has to do with the fact that crops like tomato and pepper actually don't like the hottest part of the summer. When night temperatures are above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, they'll drop their flowers before they develop fruit. The fruit that does develop can suffer from ripening and sunscald problems.
If you can stand the heat, plenty of crops can grow successfully during the height of summer. Watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers, beans, and southern peas are a few.
These crops will thrive in the heat. Of course, water is critical, not just for these crops, but for you. Drink plenty of water, use sunscreen and wear a hat. The best time to garden in the summer is just after sunrise and just before sunset when it's relatively cool.
Rough startFall gardens start in the heat of summer, usually in July or August. This can be a particularly hard time to garden.
Insects have had all spring and half the summer to multiply and can reach epidemic proportions at this time of year. Diseases, too, can be a problem. If there is little rain but high humidity, powdery mildew can be a serious problem. Rainy weather during any season can dramatically increase disease pressure.
Each season has its challenge, but your reward can be a year-round harvest.
Of course, if you're getting tired of gardening, plant a cover crop and put the garden to sleep. The garden will thank you with increased organic matter and fertility for subsequent crops.
(George Boyhan is an Extension Service horticulturist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
(George Boyhan is a Cooperative Extension horticulturist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences)