SKF currently has kale, Brussels sprouts, sugar snap peas, lettuce, beets, jalapeno peppers, shishito peppers, green beans, and cherry tomatoes! Pick these up on Saturdays at the Jonesborough Farmers Market.
In East Tennessee, September is a bountiful time for vegetable gardens. The warm summer months have provided ideal growing conditions for a wide variety of vegetables, and as the temperatures start to cool down slightly, many crops are reaching their peak. Here are some of the vegetables you can expect to find brimming in East Tennessee’s vegetable gardens in September:
Tomatoes: September is often the peak of tomato season in East Tennessee. You’ll find an abundance of ripe, juicy tomatoes in various colors and sizes, perfect for salads, sandwiches, and canning.
Peppers: Bell peppers, hot peppers, and sweet peppers thrive in the late summer warmth. They add color and flavor to a variety of dishes.
Squash and Zucchini: These summer squash varieties are still producing well into September. They are great for grilling, sautéing, or incorporating into casseroles.
Okra: Okra plants love the warm weather, and they produce prolifically in September. Fried okra and gumbo are popular dishes featuring this vegetable.
Cucumbers: Cucumber vines continue to produce crisp cucumbers that are perfect for salads, pickling, or snacking.
Green Beans: Both pole and bush beans are typically still producing in September. They can be canned, frozen, or enjoyed fresh.
Corn: In late summer, corn on the cob is at its sweetest and most tender. It’s a staple at many East Tennessee dinner tables.
Pumpkins: As the fall season approaches, you’ll start to see pumpkins ripening in East Tennessee gardens. These are perfect for decorating and making pies.
Herbs: Many herbs, including basil, oregano, and thyme, are flourishing in September, and can be harvested for culinary use or drying.
Collard Greens and Kale: These hardy leafy greens thrive in cooler temperatures, making them great options for September and beyond.
East Tennessee’s diverse climate and fertile soil make it a fantastic region for vegetable gardening. In September, gardeners can enjoy the rewards of their hard work with an abundance of fresh, locally-grown produce.
Planting greens in September in East Tennessee can be rewarding, as the cooler temperatures of fall are ideal for many leafy green vegetables. I’ve even planted greens in early October. Here’s a guide to planting greens in East Tennessee in September:
Choose the Right Greens:
Consider planting cool-season greens that thrive in the fall. Some excellent options for September planting in East Tennessee include:
Lettuce (varieties like Romaine, Butterhead, and Leaf Lettuce)
Prepare the Soil:
Greens prefer well-drained, fertile soil with good organic matter. Work compost or well-rotted manure into the soil to improve its quality.
Select a Sunny Location:
Choose a spot that receives partial to full sun. Greens generally thrive in cooler temperatures but still require adequate sunlight for healthy growth.
Sow seeds directly into the garden bed. Follow the recommended spacing on the seed packet for the specific greens you’re planting.
Plant the seeds at the appropriate depth (usually shallow for most greens) and water them well after planting.
Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Greens need regular watering, especially during dry spells.
Applying a layer of mulch around your greens can help conserve moisture, regulate soil temperature, and reduce weed competition.
Greens generally don’t require heavy fertilization. If you’ve prepared your soil with compost, they may not need additional fertilizer. However, you can use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer if your soil lacks nutrients.
Pest and Disease Management:
Keep an eye out for common pests like aphids, cabbage worms, and snails. Use organic pest control methods or insecticidal soaps as needed.
Practice good garden hygiene to prevent disease. Avoid overhead watering, as wet foliage can lead to fungal issues.
Most greens can be harvested when they reach the desired size, which is typically before they bolt (go to seed) or become overly mature and bitter.
Harvest by cutting the outer leaves or the whole plant, depending on your preference and the type of greens.
To extend your harvest, consider successive plantings every few weeks throughout the fall.
Remember that the specific planting and care instructions may vary slightly depending on the type of greens you’re growing, so it’s a good idea to consult seed packets or gardening resources for more detailed information. With proper care, you can enjoy a continuous supply of fresh, homegrown greens well into the fall in East Tennessee.