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Planting for a Fall Harvest

July 29, 2010

Extend your growing season by planting many cool-season crops now!  Between early July and mid August, many vegetables can be planted for harvest in the fall.

As I continue to harvest the cool-season crops I planted in the spring, such as onion, garlic, kohlrabi, and radishes, I am left with empty garden spaces ready for re-planting.  In these spaces, a second round of cool-season crops can be planted for a fall harvest.  This is one type of succession planting.

Cool-season crops can be planted in this empty garden bed.

One of the best parts of succession planting is that less work needs to be done than with spring planting! Since you’ve already added compost and mulch to your beds, just be sure before re-planting that the garden bed is free of any plant debris or weeds.  It is not necessary to add any additional soil amendment at this time, but if you choose to, mixing in additional compost will add nutrients and organic matter to the soil, giving your young plants a boost.  Also, mulch that was displaced by harvesting and planting can be replenished.  Composted leaf mulch or straw are good materials to use to cover and protect your soil. 

In my garden today, I planted many cool-season crops, including radish, kale, Swiss chard, spinach, beets and carrots.  Since I added a significant amount of mushroom manure in the spring, the soil is still very fertile, so I chose not to add any additional amendments to the soil.  I just planted right into the fine compost mulch and watered well.  I look forward to a good harvest in the fall! 

Swiss chard is a very hardy cool-season crop.

In general, members of the Cabbage Family and members of the Goosefoot Family are cool-
season crops and can be planted at this time for a fall harvest.  Broccoli, Brussels sprouts,
kale, collards, Swiss chard, and spinach can all be planted late in the season for cool weather
harvest.  These plants are all tolerant of cooler temperatures; most will tolerate a light frost and
some, like spinach, Swiss chard and kale, can survive a mild winter.  The snow actually makes
a good insulator, and my Swiss chard survived through the winter last year!  Many of the cold-tolerant vegetable even taste better when they are grown in cool temperatures.

In addition to harvesting cool season crops, many of your warm-season crops will be ready
for harvest at this time.  Green beans, cucumbers, and summer squash as well as a few eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes are ready to be harvested.  I like to check my garden every morning so that I can harvest my vegetables when they are at
their prime.  Green beans, cucumbers and squash should all be harvested before they get too large.  Smaller vegetables will be more tender and tasty!

For information on suggested plating times for most crops, please look over the planting guide.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 29, 2010 7:47 pm

    Graet idea! Having lots of empty spaces that start growing weeds already. Will get down to it hopefully in the next few days!

  2. July 30, 2010 2:23 am

    Not that cucumbers are a cool crop, necessarily, but do you have a remedy for cucumber beetles?

    I had great cuke vines last summer, covered with flowers. Then the beetles got to them and I got exactly one cuke 😦

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