If you’re busy gardening and preserving like we are, then you’ve been so busy harvesting and putting up tomatoes and zucchini that you’ve hardly had time to put in a fall garden. I just this past weekend managed to get in my peas, which were a good two weeks late.
However, there are still a few things for which there are adequate time at least for us here in Zone 6b with a mid October-early November-if even then first hard frost date.
You can still plant:
Baby Greens ~ Greens such as kale, beets (anticipate the tops only), and lettuces. They may/may not mature completely but you can harvest them small and eat them as a baby greens or a baby green mix. If you choose to use season extenders you may manage to prolong the harvest through a good part of the winter.
Garlic ~ Garlic can go in pretty late actually as long as the ground is not frozen. I put mine in about mid October.
Mustard Greens ~ A sturdy crop that can be sown directly in the bed until about mid October.
Radishes ~ These mature pretty quickly and therefore can be sown every two weeks for continual harvest right up until mid-October.
Spinach ~ Sow directly in the bed until mid September. This crop can also be overwintered for early spring harvest. Last year I sowed spinach seeds during the week between Christmas and New Years. We harvested spinach greens right around early April.
Swiss chard ~ You would be getting this in right on the tail end of the sowing season but in my opinion it is worth a try. The stuff is pretty hardy and like the lettuces and kale, could be eaten young. This is another crop that with protection could tolerate low temps and a small amount of frost.
A few things to remember:
- Most crops need about 60 days (ish) from seed for maturity so, when planting, keep in mind your first hard frost date. If you aren’t sure what yours is, contact your county extension office for help.
- If you can manage to locate some transplants, you can regain the two or three weeks of growing time that have already passed.
- Many crops such as spinach, beets, lettuce, Swiss chard, and kale will tolerate the cold and a certain amount of frost with some protection. Keep in mind however that the cold will slow down the growing process considerably. If you are wanting to keep these crops in the garden bed throughout the winter under protection that is fine, but they will have pretty much needed to reach their full maturity before winter sets in.
What are you planting in your fall garden?
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