July 26, 2013 8:54 pm
So you are staring at that corner of your yard again and wishing you had the energy last spring to plant a simple vegetable garden. I have some good news for you.
In many regions across the country, July and even early August are fine for planting new veggies. In fact, according to Carl Wilson, of the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, (www.coopext.colostate.edu) squeezing vegetables in before fall frosts makes good use of garden space available from the harvest of lettuce and other spring crops.
Wilson suggests greens like cabbage, collards, endive or green onions can all go in the ground by mid July and be ready to harvest before average mid-October frost in the Denver area.
How about roots, and fruiting veggies?
Get your carrots and turnip in by late July, or consider beets by the first week of August, or radish as late as the first week of September. Hurry and get your cucumber, cauliflower and summer squash in by mid -July, or aim for planting broccoli by month's end.
Hill Gardens of Maine (hillgardens.com) says you can plant a crop of short-season sweet corn during early July for a really delicious late crop just before frost. They also offer thios tip for reducing raccoon damage to your corn:
As the corn seedlings break ground, inter-plant winter squash every few feet. Squash vines have sharp, needle-like spines all along their stems and leaves that repel raccoons. They very much dislike getting tiny, painful "stickers" in their paws...and will quickly learn to avoid the discomfort.
If you are not up for corn, Hill Gardens says Oriental greens and vegetables will grow and perform very well when sown even as late as six weeks before first frost.
Just remember, when all your neighbors' gardens are buttoned up, you need to plan for watering, cultivating, weeding, staking, tying, thinning, picking and bug-squishing well into October in most of the northern half of the country.