by Heather Stone
Mid- August to Mid- September is the prime time to start planning and planting your fall vegetable garden. Even though it’s still hot outside, the nights are getting cooler and the days shorter. Now is the time to get those quick-growing, cool-season vegetables in the ground. For bountiful late-season harvests here are a few guidelines to follow.
-Know which crops to plant and when. Here’s a list of our favorite cool-season vegetables and their days to maturity.
- Kale should be planted 85 – 90 days before the first frost. The leaves can handle a few light touches of frost and become sweeter each time.
- Carrots can be planted 80-85 days before frost. They can be harvested when young and tender. Even after the cold temperatures shrivel the tops, they can be dug, sweet and juicy, from the ground throughout the fall.
- Beets can do double duty with green tops for salads and tasty roots as well. Plant seeds about 65-70 days before frost, depending on the type you choose.
- Leafy greens such as spinach and leaf lettuces, arugula, mustard greens and Swiss chard all do best in the cooler temperatures of fall. Plant seeds about 50-60 days before frost depending on the type of green chosen. These can be harvested when young and immature for delicious baby greens.
- Radishes are always great to spice up salads. These are fast-growing and can be planted 30-35 days before the first frost. Pull them when young and tender.
-Keep moist. The garden will dry out more quickly in the warm days of late summer than it did in the spring. Keep a close eye on new plantings to make sure those seeds or seedlings stay well-watered. A light covering of grass clippings or straw can serve as mulch, helping to retain moisture. Using a light row cover over newly planted areas can also help retain moisture, provide shade and protect against light frosts further down the road.
Fertilize once a week with an organic fertilizer with nitrogen and enjoy delicious salads and veggies all fall long.