Fall Growing in
Prolonging Tomato Harvest in Connecticut:
- Planting Time: First frosts in Connecticut typically occur in October, sometimes early. As such, unless you are growing in a greenhouse, you won't likely be able to start new plants in the fall. In Connecticut, tomatoes can be planted as early as late April, but it's crucial to wait until after the last frost date to avoid damage or plant loss due to frost. If frost is expected after planting, protect your plants with frost blankets or burlap.
- Planting Depth: Dig a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball and of similar depth. Carefully remove the plant from its pot, loosen the roots, and place it in the hole. Fill with soil and gently tamp down. Water thoroughly.
- Spacing: Plant tomatoes 24-36 inches apart, depending on the variety. Staking or caging your tomato plants helps support fruit weight and prevents excessive spreading.
- Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Regular watering is essential.
- Mulching: Apply mulch around the plants to retain moisture and control weeds.
- Fertilization: Fertilize every 2 weeks with a balanced fertilizer or monthly with compost tea. When fruits start to form, consider adding calcium to prevent blossom end rot.
- Prolonging Your Harvest: You've babied your tomato plants all summer, so you obviously want to get the longest harvest possible. You can avoid low-level frosts for by placing burlap bags and/or plastic containers over your plants. If your plant has a lot of green tomatoes you want to ripen on the vine, prune your plant about a month or so before your first expected frost, removing the leaves so your plant can focus its energy to ripening its fruit.
Cultivating Lettuce in Connecticut:
- Cold Hardy: Lettuce thrives in Connecticut's cold spring and cooler fall seasons, even in snowy or frosty conditions. Though, if it's too cold, you will want to cover your plants.
- Low-Maintenance: Lettuce is one of the easiest vegetables to grow. It requires minimal fertilization (only once a week), can adapt to various soil types, and is suitable for small spaces, containers, raised beds, and indoor gardening.
- Watering: Water lettuce once a week.
- Harvest leaf lettuce often: The more you harvest, the more it will grow!
Growing Parsnip Tips:
- Timing: Plant parsnip seeds directly in the garden 2-4 weeks before the last expected spring frost for better flavor.
- Location: Choose a sunny or partially shaded spot with well-draining soil.
- Soil Preparation: Prepare loose, debris-free, and well-draining soil.
- Sowing Seeds: Soak parsnip seeds in warm water for faster germination. Plant them 1/2 inch deep and 2-3 inches apart in rows.
- Thinning: Thin seedlings to 3-6 inches apart once they are a few inches tall.
- Watering: Keep soil consistently moist during germination; afterward, water deeply but infrequently.
- Mulching: Apply organic mulch around plants to retain moisture, control weeds, and regulate soil temperature.
- Fertilization: Work compost or balanced fertilizer into the soil before planting, avoiding excessive nitrogen.
Sweet Corn Growing Tips:
- Variety Selection: Choose a sweet corn variety suitable for your area with a shorter growing season.
- Soil Preparation: Sweet corn thrives in well-draining, fertile soil. Incorporate compost or well-rotted manure before planting.
- Planting Time: Wait until the soil warms up (usually late May to early June in Connecticut) to plant sweet corn. Plant in blocks rather than single rows for better pollination. Try succession planting for later crops to harvest well into the fall.
- Spacing: Plant corn seeds 1-2 inches deep and 8-12 inches apart in rows spaced 24-36 inches apart for optimal pollination and spacing.
- Fertilization: Sweet corn needs adequate nutrients. Apply a balanced or nitrogen-rich fertilizer at planting and when the plants reach knee-high.
- Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist, especially during pollination.
- Mulching: Apply mulch around corn plants to retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.