Sunday, July 3, 2016

Fall garden planning and planting

Fall garden

Sunday, July 3 2016

I know it seems crazy to even think of fall in this heat wave we are having, much less start planting for it, but it is actually time!  When you think of fall gardens, think of the veggies that thrive in the cool temps of spring.  Summer is when you have to get your fall garden sown.

Daylight hours have a significant impact on the growth rate of plants.  Since the days are now getting shorter, it will take longer for the plants to come to full maturity in the waning daylight hours of fall than the lengthening hours of spring.  By the first of November, all growth has come to a full standstill which lasts until the beginning of January.

To know when to plant for fall harvest, first find your area’s first frost day.  Then, look at your cool season crops seed packet.  It will have days to maturity.  Add an extra 14 days and back it up from your last frost date to know when you should sow your fall garden seeds.  For frost date, here is a link you can use.  

Good choices for fall planting:
Root crops-Beets, Burdock, Carrots, Celeriac, Kohlrabi, Parsnips. Radishes, Root Parsley, Rutabaga, Salsify, Scorzonera, Turnips
Greens-Chard, Lettuce, Mustard, Collards, Chicory, Kale  Growing fabulous lettuce and greens
Brassicas-Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower  Broccoli and cauliflower growing tips
Choose varieties that have terms like cold hardy, frost tolerant, overwintering to extend your season into early winter.  

Below are some general planting times for cool season crops for our Zone 6/7 garden:
Beets, carrots, Asian greens (pak choi, tat-soi), cilantro, collard greens, endive, escarole, frisee, fennel, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, mustard, onions, parsnips, scallions, and Swiss chard.  Use transplants for broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage.
The rest of the greens (arugula, corn salad, lettuce, miner’s lettuce, spinach, mustard, endive), kohlrabi, onions, snap peas, scallions, cabbage plants, radishes, and turnips.  Peas and Fava beans can be planted in August for spring harvests in Zone 6 or higher.  
Plant more greens, carrots, and radishes.  September is also a great month for starting perennial veggies, fruits, and herbs as well as flowers, trees and shrubs.  Midwest Perennial Vegetable Garden
The month to plant garlic for next year’s harvest.  Order your favorites early as many sell out quick.

Like in the spring, newly sown seeds need moisture to sprout.  Keep them moist until they get their first real set of leaves.  Then water as needed.  I like to start my seeds in self watering containers in shade.  Self watering pots that have water reservoirs in the bottom of the pot.  This really helps keep the soil moist.
Indoor seed starting tips
Ideal soil temperatures for seed starting

There are some cool season crop seeds that don't like to sprout in temp's that are too warm for them.  Lettuce is one.  You may have to start your lettuce seeds indoors and then move outside if your soil temperature is 80 degrees F or above.

Many crops you can harvest into December and beyond, depending on how cold fall is.  Some get sweeter with some frost, like carrots, chard, and lettuce.  With cover, you can harvest all the way through winter.  More on that as time gets closer.......

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