Time To Plant for Fall
Here we find ourselves in mid-July already and are getting excited about our fall gardens! As we have been finished harvesting the tender spring items for some time and are fully into the mid-season summer harvest, it is time to think about planning our fall garden to have the freshest produce available during the cooler and shorter days of autumn. Many people overlook that some of the summer crops will actually do better in the fall than in the hot summer weather. While squash is considered a summer vegetable and is usually planted in late spring or early summer, it very often produces much better as a later crop and misses many of the squash bug infestations that plague earlier plantings. Many of the vegetables that people plant as early spring crops will also produce quite well in the cool days of autumn.
Success with a fall garden depends on the gardener being aware of early frost dates and the average days to maturity of the varieties planted. It is important to allow enough time for the crops to mature if they may be damaged by cold temperatures. Some of the cole crops, such as broccoli and cauliflower may not germinate outside in excessively hot temperatures. They may need to be started indoors in a cooler environment and then transplanted outdoors after the temperatures have cooled a little. It also possible to simply plan ahead and create a shade for part of your garden to allow the soil to cool a little before planting. Many other vegetable types may be seeded directly into the ground with germination being unaffected during hot temperatures.
Some crops such as turnips, kale, and broccoli can withstand a fair amount of cold or even frost, while other crops such as beans, squash, and cucumbers cannot. It doesn't take a lot of effort to extend your growing season even past the early frost date. One cost free idea is to plant against an existing south-facing wall that will add extra warmth and protection to the growing plants. You can think about rotating your crops and putting fragile ones where they will get more sunshine in the late season. Using a thick cover of mulch also helps to keep the soil warm for a longer growth period. Floating row covers can add a few weeks to the growing season in some areas. The choices range from expensive commercial covers made of high-grade plastic to something as simple as cheaper plastic sheets. Even old bedsheets can offer some extension of protection. Cold frames can be easy and inexpensive to build using a few boards and some type of plastic for glass cover—even repurposing old windows that have been replaced during a remodel. Hoop houses and low tunnels can be constructed by most people. http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/low-tunnel-construction-mini-hoop-house.aspx#axzz2YleGriGn
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Following is a short list of our 25 favorite things to plant now and have delicious and healthful food in the autumn months. Take your cue from our suggestions and then try some of your own favorites for hearty autumn eating.
Beans are one of our favorite things to plant in late summer for a fall harvest. With many beans having a maturation rate of 50-60 days, they can add color and nutrition to the menu of autumn meals. The Calima bush bean has been our number one seller this year and produces long, straight pods, http:www.rareseeds.com/calima-beans/. The Dragon Tongue bush bean is also quite popular with its purple specks on the light green pods. http://www.rareseeds.com/dragon-tongue-bush-bean/?F_Keyword=dragon.
Many people plant beets only as a spring crop, when the root vegetables actually make an excellent fall crop. The ever popular Detroit Dark Red is even more sweet and tasty in the fall. http://www.rareseeds.com/detroit-dark-red-beet/?F_Keyword=detroit. The Colorful Chioggia, with its insides of candy-like red and white flesh, adds both color and flavor to the table. http://www.rareseeds.com/chioggia-bassano-beet/.
Cabbages are a big favorite that grow well in the fall and can be summer-seeded right in the garden. Both Early Jersey Wakefield http://www.rareseeds.com/early-jersey-wakefield-cabbage and Nero Di Toscana http://www.rareseeds.com/nero-di-toscana-cabbage/?F_Keyword=nero are short-season cabbages that will produce nice heads for fall eating.
Carrots are another root crop that provides excellent flavor and nutrition going into the cold months of winter. The Little Finger produces in only 55 days and is great for snacks http://www.rareseeds.com/little-finger-carrot/?F_Keyword=little%20finger. You might also like to try the small round Parisien
ne that is so popular in France http://www.rareseeds.com/search/?F_Keyword=parisienne.
Cucumbers are a relatively short-season crop that can be planted in mid-summer for a nice harvest in autumn. One of our favorites is the Lemon Cuke that looks like a lemon but produces a sweet and mild cucumber taste in just 60 days. http://www.rareseeds.com/lemon-cuke-cucumber/?F_Keyword=lemon%20cuke. New in our catalog this year is the Miniature White with a 50-day growth season http://www.rareseeds.com/miniature-white-cucum/?F_Keyword=miniature%20white.
We absolutely love fresh greens on our plates in the autumn. You can't beat the Extra Dwarf Pak Choyhttp://www.rareseeds.com/extra-dwarf-pak-choy/?F_Keyword=extra%20dwarf%20pak%20choy or some of the colored mustards. New and popular this year are the Mizuna Lime Streaks and the Mizuna Red Streaks that produce tasty leaves in just 45 days. They are so colorful and tasty! http://www.rareseeds.com/search/?F_Keyword=mizuna. Vates collards will produce a crop in very cold autumn weather http://www.rareseeds.com/vates-collards/?F_Keyword=vates. Russian Red kale is another one of our favorites that is very tender and mild http://www.rareseeds.com/russian-red-or-ragged-jack-k/?F_Keyword=russian%20red.
Leaf lettuces have always been popular as a late-season crop with most of them falling in the production range of 40-65 days. We especially love the Forellenschluss with its speckled leaves http://www.rareseeds.com/search/?F_Keyword=forellenschluss and our new Australian Yellow http://www.rareseeds.com/australian-yellow-lettu/?F_Keyword=australian%20yellow.
Parsnips and turnips are root crops that have long been held in esteem for fall gardens, as they can be kept in the ground long after the onset of frost, and even taste sweeter when harvested after frost. Try the Hollow Crown parsnip http://www.rareseeds.com/hollow-crown-parsnip/?F_Keyword=hollow%20crown or the ever-popular Purple Top White Globe turnip http://www.rareseeds.com/purple-top-white-globe/?F_Keyword=purple%20top%20white%20globe.
Snow, snap, and garden peas love the cooler days of autumn much better than the hot days of summer. The Sugar Ann produces about 10 days earlier than other snap peas http://www.rareseeds.com/sugar-ann-snap-pea/?F_Keyword=sugar%20ann. The Little Marvel produces heavy yields on bushy plants.
Radishes are great to add color and taste to fall salads. The Early Scarlet Globe is a classic round radish that is ready in as little as 22 days! http://www.rareseeds.com/early-scarlet-globe-radi/?F_Keyword=early%20scarlet%20globe. The Pink Beauty is sweet and tasty in just 29 days!
Don't let the term “summer squash” keep you from enjoying them in the fall. The first squash that Jere Gettle ever grew was a scallop, and he still grows them in abundance. Our Yellow Scallop or White Scallop both grow quickly and can be seeded directly into summer gardens and harvested before frost. http://www.rareseeds.com/search/?F_Keyword=scallop. Even the Black Beauty Zucchini can produce in as little as 50 days http://www.rareseeds.com/zucchini-black-beauty/?F_Keyword=black%20beauty.
Harvesting fresh herbs in the autumn can add delightful tastes to the meal. The Genovese Basil that is so popular with many cooks is ready in 68 days http://www.rareseeds.com/basil-genovese/?F_Keyword=genovese. Many herbs such as Emily Basil can be grown in containers to be be moved inside and kept growing throughout the winter http://www.rareseeds.com/search/?F_Keyword=emily%20basil.