Thinking Ahead for a Fall Garden: What to Plant When

As August turns to September, it is a good time to start planning and planting fall crops.  The following is a list of planting tips that can help you have success growing edibles well into the winter:

 Find out when your average first killing frost date is, and plant accordingly:

  • 12-14 weeks out you can still plant some warm season, fast maturing veggies such as  green beans, summer squash, sunflowers, potatoes, cucumbers, arugula, and summer radishes.  You can also plant some crops that can germinate in warmer weather, but also can take a little cold.  These include cilantro, snap peas, rutabagas, and lettuces.  If you have a place to start some longer maturing cold crops such as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, you can start these for setting out later.
  • 10-12 weeks out you can set out any cold crop brassicas you previously started, and direct seed others, such as rapini, and kale.  It’s also a good time to direct seed carrots, beets, lettuces, arugula, and peas.
  • 8-10 weeks out you can get started direct seeding fast growing crops that like a cool soil such as bok choy, tatsoi, peas (for shoots), mustard, spinach, radishes and lettuces.  These crops can take you well into winter especially if you keep them mulched.   You can also start planting garlic, and shallots for the following spring.
  • 6-8 weeks before your last frost you can still plant spinach and lettuce, kale and other hardy winter greens.  If you can keep them protected, in many parts of the country you can enjoy greens all winter.
  • Up to the first frost many lettuces, spinach, and mâche can be seeded successfully.

And here’s a bonus for fall planting–most bugs are a LOT less prolific and damaging on fall crops!

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