It’s not too late to start a garden. Here are Fall Vegetable Gardening Tips to get your fall garden growing.
While most of us are trying to hold onto every last second of summer, now is the time to start thinking about your fall vegetable garden. I know, you probably don’t want to face the fact any more than I do that summer is almost over. Fall is a wonderful time of year though! I love the crisp, cool air, the beautiful orange and yellow hues and the bountiful produce that we are harvesting on our farm.
It’s time to turn our attention to those cool weather favorites like lettuce, spinach, and broccoli Just because summer is coming to a close doesn’t mean you have to stop gardening. A lot can be grown in your fall garden. Here at Russo’s, it is actually our busiest time of year because we are still harvesting our summer crops (like corn, tomatoes and beans) as well as all the fall crops we grow (such as cabbage, lettuces, broccoli, and spinach to name a few). At home, I also like to replant and freshen up my herb garden in August too. I love my herbs (I know, I have told you this many times) and my herb garden is looking a little sad right now. Freshly planted herbs will grow and produce just like fall crops until our first frost.
Before planting any fall crops in your garden, make sure the area you are planning to plant in is clear of any dead plants. The area should be tilled before you plant just as you do in the spring. This helps with disease control and will lighten or aerate your soil. In other words, your plants will grow better.
You should begin thinking about and planning your fall garden in early to mid-August. It is also easier to plant actual seedlings or plant plugs or plants seeds at this time of year. This is because the days are getting shorter and nights cooler and planting from seed may not allow the plant to reach maturity. Check out your local garden center or farmer’s market for them.
Be sure to check the plant tag or seed packet for the maturity days. This is the number that indicates the amount of time it will take the plant to grow until it is ready to harvest. Plants like lettuces, herbs, spinach and radishes take less time while broccoli, beets, and cabbage take longer to mature. Plants that take longer to grow would need to be planted earlier at the end of July or early August. For instance, if lettuce takes 45 days to mature, you would need to count backwards on your calendar 45 days from the average frost date in your area to figure out when to plant it. You don’t want all you hard work ruined by the frost.
So what can you plant? Basically, fall vegetables are ones that grow better in the cooler weather.
Many are the same that can be grown in the early spring.
Here are my fall vegetable gardening plant suggestions…
Spinach – about 45 days to maturity
Lettuces – about 45 days to maturity
Broccoli – about 65 days to maturity
Cabbage – about 70 days
Herbs (basil, parsley, cilantro, etc.)
Kale – about 45 days
Radishes – 25 to 35 days depending on variety
Mustard Greens – about 45 days to maturity
Beets – about 55 days (usually planted from seed)
Whatever you choose to plant, have fun with it! Gardening is a great family activity too. Click here for a recent post I wrote about how to get the kids involved in your gardening project. It’s a win-win situation for all.
Happy planting! Let me know how you make out.