Saturday, July 19, 2014
It may seem crazy to be sowing seeds in July for your fall and winter garden, but it is the time to do so. Everything you can grow for spring, you can grow for fall. For winter harvests, just look for cold hardy varieties.
September until your first frost is high time in the garden. Your summer veggies will still be producing at the same time your cool season crops can be harvested.
The trick to harvesting all winter is to have your veggies to full size by mid-October. With the shorter days of late fall and winter, your plants will not grow much after mid-October through mid-February.
The change I make from spring to fall plantings is for spring, I plant those varieties that are heat tolerant. In the fall, I plant those varieties that are cold tolerant to extend the harvest as long as possible into winter. Depending on the severity of the winter, many cold tolerant varieties revive in the spring and provide a really early, nice harvest surprise.
Because daylight hours are getting shorter in the fall, you will need to add about 2 weeks to the “Days to Harvest” your seed packet gives as the seed packet dates are based on spring planting.
Just like in spring, seeds have to be kept moist to sprout. You can also plant the seeds in peat pots or you can reuse the plastic annual trays you got in the spring. You can put the plastic trays in a water catch pan, find a shady spot convenient to watering, fill with seed starting mix, sow your seeds and keep moist. When the seedlings get their true leaves on them (second set), they are ready to transplant into the garden or a larger pot.
There are some veggies that the temps are too high to germinate in our Zone 6, like lettuce. These you will have to start inside or on the cool side of the house in the shade.
For July, sow 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.
August is the month for the rest of the greens (arugula, corn salad, lettuce, miner’s lettuce, spinach, mustard, endive), kohlrabi, onions, scallions, cabbage plants, radishes, and turnips. Peas and Fava beans can be planted in August for spring harvests in Zone 6 or higher.
In September, plant more greens, carrots, and radishes. October is the month to plant garlic for next year’s harvest.
If you don’t want to start seeds, big box stores, local nurseries and even mail order nurseries have begun to have fall planting veggies so you can wait until late August, early September to get transplants and still get them in on time for fall and winter harvests.
With cover, the following will allow you to harvest all winter: arugula, beets, chicory, corn salad, lettuce, mustard greens, parsley root, radicchio, radishes, spinach, and swiss chard.
|Potted winter lettuce and greens in mini greenhouse|
The following don’t require covering: brussels sprouts, winter harvest cabbage, carrots, collards, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, bunching onions or Egyptian onions, parsnips, rutabagas, turnips.
Fall and winter harvested veggies are at their crispest and sweetest after a light frost. The cold temps concentrate the sugars, making them extra yummy!