Planting Edibles for Fall Harvest


Reprinted with Permission of the National Garden Board:

“Edibles for Fall Harvest”

Remember back a few short months ago to spring? When time was at a premium because there was so much to do in your garden? When the weather didn’t always cooperate to get everything done that you had on your endless gardening “To-Do” list? Now that the dog days of summer are upon us, your spring plantings are almost care-free and yet the back-to-school craziness hasn’t quite begun. So if you’re home and in your garden, now’s the time to plant some new vegetables for your fall dinner table!

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb

Maybe you think that the best time to plant edibles in your garden was last spring but in reality, for some crops, the best time is now as well as in the coming weeks. Crops, like cabbages, broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and peas, actually prefer the growing conditions that late summer and early fall offer and taste better when grown cooler. Here are some of the crops you should consider planting now:

Beets
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Kale
Kohlrabi
Lettuce
Peas
Radishes
Salad Greens
Scallions
Spinach
Swiss Chard

NGB member, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, has an excellent fall planting calculator. Simply plug in the average first frost date for your region and it calculates when you should plant any one of almost 20 different crops, either by transplant (TP) or direct sow (DS).  Another NGB member, Territorial Seeds, also has an excellent fall and winter planting chart. One important thing to remember is to pay attention to the “Days to Maturity” noted on any variety you consider for fall planting. Anything in the 30-40 day range is a sure bet. Depending on your hardiness zone (and Mother Nature!), 50-60 days should be OK except in the northern-most parts of North America. Any crops needing more than 60 days to reach maturity should be grown from transplants and likely will need frost protection when that time comes.

Other than that, fall gardening follows the same guidelines as spring and summer gardening so let’s stop reading and start planting!

Let’s Go Garden!
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