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In The Garden Now Newsletter

September/October 2021
There is Still Time
for a Fall Vegetable Garden
— Written By Emilee Morrison
During the heat of summer one of the last things we may be thinking about is planting cool season vegetables. Many of the crops grown in our area during the fall and early winter need to be started in early to mid-August. However, if you have not already planned a fall vegetable garden, there is still time!

By following the Eastern NC Planting Calendar, you will see that there are still several vegetables that can be planted through mid-September to early October to as late as November. Many local garden centers will have a variety of vegetable transplants that can be planted now for a successful fall harvest. Look for broccoli, cabbage, kale, lettuces, collards, and spinach, to name a few. These transplants were started from seed beginning in late July to early August to be ready to plant now.

Other types of vegetables need be started directly by seed. You can still plant radishes and turnips through mid-September, for example. Many of the leafy greens can also be direct seeded into the garden now such as Swiss chard, spinach, arugula, and lettuces. Herbs like cilantro and dill can be seeded now as well. Garden peas can be planted by seed through the end of September. Garlic and onions can be planted into November.

As you can see, starting to plan during the hot days of July can be helpful in getting you a head start on your fall vegetable garden. However, if you had your minds on other things (like the beach, vacation, staying in the AC) don’t worry, you still have time to plant some vegetables for a fall harvest.

For more information, contact your local Cooperative Extension Office.
You can reach Emilee Morrison at or (910) 455-5873 or contact our Plant Clinic at
Tips and Tasks for the Garden


Peak Season Soil Sample Testing Fees
If you haven’t sampled your soil recently, go ahead now to avoid the peak season sample fee! If you send your sample through the Onslow County extension office, make sure it is received by November 15 to ensure that it reaches NCDA by deadline.

Wait times are significantly shorter if you submit your samples during the off-season!
It usually only takes about 7-10 days for the lab to process samples during the non-peak season; during peak season, sample turn around times can stretch to 8 or 9 weeks.

  • There is still time to plant! In September, cabbage, kale, collards, Swiss chard and leaf lettuce transplants can be set out. Seeds of radish, spinach, turnip and salad greens can also be sown. Plant garlic cloves and onion sets until November. Choose short-day varieties of onions like Grano or Texas Supersweet.

  • Cool season herbs like dill, parsley and cilantro can be direct sown or set out as transplants and will stay green into winter.

  • Extend the growing season of tender summer crops like tomatoes and peppers by covering them through the first couple of frosts. We often have several weeks of nice growing weather after the first fall frost.

  • Clean up time! Remove old plants, as well as any foliage that has fallen on the soil and compost them. Do a final weeding, and mulch the bed with compost, straw, grass clippings, or chopped leaves. These mulches can be turned into the soil next spring to help fertilize next year's crops.

  • Warm season grasses do not grow during late fall and don’t require any nitrogen before spring. Fertilizing with nitrogen at this time will encourage weed growth and disease problems like large patch and winterkill. Instead, opt for a September application of a potassium fertilizer on sandy soils. Potassium can improve winter hardiness while improving disease and drought tolerance.

  • Raise the height of your lawn mower by 1⁄2 inch in mid-September to encourage your lawn to store energy for winter and protect your grass from winterkill.

  • Resist the urge to overseed your permanent lawn with ryegrass. While this provides winter color, competition with ryegrass in the spring can stress your lawn – particularly centipede and St. Augustine.

  • If you had large patch diagnosed this spring, apply protective fungicides the beginning of September and again in October for control. Also, make sure that you are not irrigating through the fall.

Trees and shrubs
  • Fall is the best time of year to transplant trees, shrubs, and perennials. Keep new plantings watered as they get established.

  • Prune shrubs and trees to remove dead, diseased or broken limbs; however, save significant pruning for late winter or early spring. Spring blooming shrubs shouldn’t be pruned until after they flower, or you will lose next spring’s blooms.

  • Once all of the leaves have fallen, give your landscape plantings a layer of mulch over top. Two to three inches of mulch is good but excessive mulch can also cause problems, so check the thickness of your mulch. Old mulch can be freshened up by raking. Don’t let mulch lie against the trunks of trees and shrubs or it will encourage pest and disease problems.

Planting Plans
  • Onion - 10/1 - 3/1

  • Winterizing products are starting to appear in lawn and garden centers, but remember: fertilizers containing nitrogen, if applied in the fall, can injure warm-season grasses. However, potassium may be a beneficial and enhance cold tolerance of turf grasses. If a soil test indicates that your soil is low in potassium, it can be applied at a rate of 1 pound of potash per 1000 square feet of lawn. The only winterizing fertilizer you need on your lawn is one that contains potassium; and you only need that if your soil is low in potassium. Save the nitrogen for after green-up next spring.

Trees and Shrubs

  • Fall is the best time of year to plant and transplant trees, shrubs and perennials. It is also a great time to divide and replant perennials. Keep new plantings well-watered during their first several weeks as they get established.

  • As perennial beds go dormant, consider leaving dead stems for native bees to nest in during the winter. Seed heads may be left for winter interest or to feed the birds (sedum, echinacea, black-eyed susans, etc.). Collect leaves and debris for composting but don’t compost insect or disease-laden plant
Upcoming Events
Master Gardener Volunteer Fall Garden Festival (2021)
Our Fall Garden Festival will consist of a plant sale, treasure sale, gardening information, and classes!  Landscape Plants, Rain Barrels, Cool Season Veggies & Annual Flowers, Bird & Bat Houses, and more!!

WHEN: Saturday, September 25, 2021 | 8AM-1PM
WHERE: 4024 Richlands Hwy. Jacksonville, NC

Tickets are on sale for our ‘Make Your Own Salad Bowl‘ class.
Use the button below or the link in the flyer to register.
Master Gardener Volunteer Fall Harvest Day (2021)
Join us for our 2021 Fall Harvest Day!

We have fun activities going on for the whole family!
Scarecrow Making*, Corn Shelling, and Food Preservation workshops are being offered from our Master Gardener℠ Volunteers of Onslow County!

WHEN: Saturday, October 16th, 2021 | 8AM-11AM
WHERE: 4024 Richlands Hwy. Jacksonville, NC

Not to mention our Onslow County Farmer’s Market is open!

Please note: Registration is REQUIRED to attend the Scarecrow Making workshop. Use the button below or the link on the flyer to register.
Please keep up with us on our social media pages and our website for information on upcoming gardening workshops, events, and classes!
NC State University and N.C. A&T State University work in tandem, along with federal, state and local governments, to form a strategic partnership called N.C. Cooperative Extension.

N.C. Cooperative Extension prohibits discrimination and harassment regardless of age, color, disability, family and marital status, gender identity, national origin, political beliefs, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation and veteran status. NC State University, N.C. A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture and local governments cooperating.

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