Volume 13, Issue 34 ~ August 25 - 31, 2005
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Dr. Gouin's Bay Gardener

Sow a Fall Garden
Sugar podded peas for Thanksgiving anyone?

Gardening should not end with the last harvest of tomatoes and beans. Fall is a great time for gardening in the Bay region. The Bay moderates our temperatures so that we have an extended growing season for growing some of our favorite vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, collards, kohlrabi, kale, peas, lettuce, Chinese cabbage, pak-choi, bock-toy, rutabaga, turnips and spinach.

The time to sow the seeds of these is now to early September. These cool season crops will perform extremely well hereabouts, where tempering effects of the Bay on temperatures extends our growing season until nearly Thanksgiving. Sugar podded peas for Thanksgiving anyone?

As the daylight hours grow shorter and temperatures cool, the gradual changes in temperatures caused by the Bay stimulate these crops to remain vegetative. Lettuce, Chinese cabbage, spinach, pak-choi and bocktoy will not bolt and flower, cabbages will not split and broccoli will be slow to flower. Your Brussels sprouts will not be ready to eat until Thanksgiving, when they will be the sweetest you will ever taste.

Butter crunch is one of the better varieties of lettuce to grow in the fall, followed by red tip, red chief and Great Kakes. If collards and kale are not your favorite greens, you might want to sow beets and grow them for their greens. Under shorter daylight hours, beets tend not to produce sizable roots but concentrate on producing more greens. Fall-grown beet greens are more tender than spring-grown ones.

If you like radishes, don’t sow the seeds until late September or early October. The shorter daylight hours make for large tuberous roots and fewer leaves.

Q I enjoy your column in Bay Weekly. In your question and answer section of the Aug. 18 edition, you stated that “The only native yew that exists in this country is Taxus Canadensis.” The Pacific Yew, Taxus brevifolia, the source of the anti cancer drug taxol, is a U.S. native. It grows on the Northwest Coast and into the interior as far east as Idaho and Montana.

—Jim Sullivan, Bowie

A You are correct. I meant to add the only native yew that grows in the eastern U.S.

Q I have moles or voles eating the roots of the vegetables in my garden. I have applied a solution of camphor oil and water. It took 45 minutes to apply through the hose application. It repelled them for only a few days, but directions said the application should last for two to three months. Any suggestions?

—Penny in Annapolis

A If your soil has an organic matter concentration greater than three percent, the camphor oil will not last long. This must be a relatively new garden, because moles generally eat grubs. If you plowed under sod to make your garden, the sod must have been infested with June and Japanese beetle grubs. If you maintain the garden in the same location for a couple of years, the problem goes away. Beetles do not lay eggs in cultivated soil. Now that most of the grubs have hatched, the moles become vegetarians, and that is why they are feeding on your vegetables

Try a couple of pinwheels or a battery-operated mole repellant placed approximately 10 feet apart.

Professor Emeritus Francis Gouin retired from the University of Maryland, where he was the state’s extension specialist in ornamental horticulture. Follow his column of practical gardening and plant advice every week, only in Bay Weekly. Ask Dr. Gouin your questions at [email protected]. Please include your name and address.

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