Fall Is Around The Corner
Fall is around the corner, but that doesn't mean the end of gardening.
As summer draws to a close, gardens worldwide can transform into a tapestry of delectable greens, ranging from tender lettuce to frost-resistant spinach, seasoned with a dusting of red mustard. Fall gardens in North America's southern half can produce the greatest cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower you've ever tasted if seeds germinate in late July or early August. It's prime time in colder climates. In colder climes, now is the best time to plant carrots, rutabagas, and turnips for fall harvest. Filling up the gaps left by spring crops with summer-planted veggies will ensure that your garden remains fruitful far into the fall and even into the winter.
Granted, starting fragile seedlings in the middle of summer isn't the ideal idea. Hot days, little moisture, and strong insect pressure must all be included into a successful planting strategy, not to mention the problem of keeping fall plantings on track. However, by following the procedures listed here, you may meet all of the essential requirements for a successful, surprisingly low-maintenance fall garden. Long after frost has killed your tomatoes and darkened your beans, the time you put in now will pay off handsomely as you continue to harvest fresh vegetables from your garden.
12–14 weeks ahead of the first fatal frost
- Last-minute plantings of fast-maturing warm-season vegetables like snap beans, cucumbers, and summer squash should be direct-sown. Also, start planting parsnips and rutabagas, as well as cilantro, lettuce, and radishes.
- Seedlings from the cabbage family should be started indoors and transplanted as soon as feasible.
- In climates with long autumns, plant celery, bulb fennel, and parsley in the fall.
10 to 12 weeks ahead of the first fatal frost
- Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, and cauliflower seedlings, as well as celery, bulb fennel, and parsley, should all be set out.
- Beets, carrots, collards, leeks, and scallions, as well as more lettuce and radishes, should be direct-sown. Even fast-maturing peas and potatoes will thrive nicely in the fall garden in some places.
8 to 10 weeks ahead of the first fatal frost
- Arugula, Chinese cabbage, lettuce, turnips, spinach, mustard, pac choi, tatsoi, and other Asian greens can be planted directly in the ground.
- More lettuce and radishes, especially daikons, should be sown.
6 to 8 weeks ahead of the first fatal frost
- Make a final sowing of spinach and mâche, which is similar to spinach in terms of winter hardiness. (You may anticipate to see these crops in your Christmas salads in most areas!)
- Sow lettuce in a last row beneath a protected tunnel or frame.
On or around your first first fatal frost date
- Garlic and shallots should be included in every fall garden. Try multiplying onions and perpetual "nest" onions if you like onions.
Getting the Most from Your Fall Garden
With broccoli, high-density planting in double or triple rows can enhance your per-square-foot return by 40%, and with cabbage, it can increase your return by up to 70%. To fit more plants into less area, use a zigzag planting scheme with 18-inch spacing between plants. When spacing plants closer together, select dwarf cultivars because overcrowding might result in delayed maturation and inferior yields..
Spring-planted cabbage and Chinese cabbage can benefit from cut-and-come-again harvesting to extend their productive lives. Small secondary heads will often emerge within a few weeks if the primary head is chopped high and a stout stub is left behind. Broccoli is an eager cut-and-come-again vegetable in many kinds. After harvesting the main head (which only takes about 3 inches of stem), types like ‘Belstar,' ‘Green Goliath,' and many others yield a large number of sensitive side shoots.
The harvest will continue until temperatures fall into the teens, when broccoli plants are severely harmed. Healthy broccoli plants in much of Zones 7 and 8 will continue to produce shoots for months, if not all winter.
If it's necessary to get a good stand, transplant the non-transplantable. For example, most gardeners have heard that beets, carrots, and rutabagas should be seeded directly in the garden, but I've found that beginning seeds inside and transplanting seedlings when they show their first true leaf produces better-filled, more uniform rows in late summer. Around 75% of seedlings survive if they are kept moist and shaded for a few days after transplantation.