Linda Geist
Your Show-Me Garden: MU Extension brings you gardening tips from experts around the state.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Recent weeks of mild temperatures remind gardeners that it is time to plant cool-season vegetables, said University of Missouri Extension horticulture specialist David Trinklein.

Warm days and cool nights make conditions ripe for a second round of produce that is often sweeter and more flavorful than spring’s crop.

Succession gardening, when one crop is harvested and a second crop is planted, gives gardeners double the pleasure.

First, pull spent plants and clean debris and weeds from the garden. This helps prevent insects and diseases that tend to be drawn to fall gardens. Some gardeners use floating row cover to keep insects away, Trinklein says. Row cover is an inexpensive translucent and breathable polyester fabric found at many garden centers.

Next, work the soil lightly and, if needed, add a general-purpose garden fertilizer such as 5-10-5 or 12-12-12.

Lettuce, beet, kale, collards and some other cool-season vegetables can be planted from seed. Choose varieties based on days-to-maturity date. Look for vegetables that can withstand a light frost of about 26 degrees. Read seed packets for maturity and frost dates. Some garden centers carry plants such as broccoli, cauliflower and kohlrabi.

Other choices include frost-tender plants that mature quickly such as green beans, summer squash and bush cucumber.

Keep soils moist until seedlings become established. Scout often for insects and diseases.

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