It's possible to extend the gardening season well into fall by planting crops which mature in cool weather. Second and third plantings of carrots, beets and beans will provide fresh, home-grown vegetables into the fall and are excellent for canning, freezing, or storing.
Many vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, collards, peas, and radish, do better when maturing in the cool weather. Some vegetables, like kale and turnips, actually taste better after being exposed to frost!
In some areas of the South, gardeners are able to grow second crops of warm weather vegetables, such as tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, winter squash, pumpkins and melons. Along the southern coastal and Pacific coast areas (Hardiness Zones 9 & 10), it's possible to have vegetables growing in the garden virtually every month of the year.
No matter where you live, late plantings can fill areas of your garden left vacant by crops harvested earlier in the season. This "succession" planting method will increase your garden's total yield and reduce soil moisture loss and weed growth, because the ground is never left bare.
Tips for Sowing Seeds in Summer:
For fall harvests, sow seeds or transplant seedlings as indicated in the tables on our web site. Vegetables that are subject to attack by the same diseases and insects should not follow each other in the garden; instead, plant an unrelated crop. For example, plant cabbage, carrots, or beets where early peas or beans grew, or turnips and spinach where early corn and potatoes grew.
Soil dries out faster in the summer than in the spring, so keep seeds or seedlings evenly moist until the plants are well established. Since it's difficult for seedlings to emerge in dry, crusted soil, consider covering furrows of newly planted seeds with a moistened, light layer of sand, vermiculite, or a floating row cover. Once the plants have emerged, cultivate frequently to control weeds. An even better way to control weeds, while at the same time conserving moisture, is to mulch with straw and other organic materials, newspaper or plastic mulch. Don't forget to add additional fertilizer and nutrients, as you'll be working your soil twice as hard planting successive crops.
Heat-sensitive crops like lettuce and spinach need protection from the hot summer sun, so plant in an area shaded by taller summer crops, or start the seeds inside and transplant into the garden later.
As daylight grows shorter in late summer, crops will take somewhat longer to mature. Therefore, it's important to know the average date of the first fall frost in your area. If you're not sure of the first fall frost date where you live, check with your local County Agricultural Extension Service (usually found in the blue pages of phone book). Once you've determined this date, consult the Fall Planting Schedule for the range of safe dates for planting fall crops.
Fall Garden Special (click to order)
#FGS - $29.99
The benefits of using Frost Protek™ covers are many, and here are just a few:
FROSTPROTEK COVER - LARGE ROUND
The large, 84" across cover is perfect for large pots, barrels, in-ground plants, or groupings.
FPTL - $14.99
FROSTPROTEK COVER - LONG BAG
The large, long bag (55" x 48") is a good choice for hanging baskets, tomato cages and other upright plants.
FPTH - $15.99
FP 10 - FABRIC PEGS - The perfect
anchoring the edges of floating row covers into the soil! These
and reusable pegs are also great for anchoring plastic mulches and
fabrics! Pkt of ten.
FP 10 - $3.50
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