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Have you planted a good crop or container garden this year, but kind of wish you could have planted more? It’s not too late, you can still plant some quick growing vegetables to harvest this fall! There are a number of plants that grow quickly AND like colder weather. This year, in my little suburban home, I am currently summer planting my beans, lettuce, carrots and peas. There are options for all regions. So consider utilizing your space for brand new veggies you can grow late into the season.

Now is a great time to consider planting a fall garden!

If you are looking to have a productive Fall garden, you need to make sure your vegetables are planted or sowed by late July into the first week in August. Please make sure to check your region and zone. If you have really early winters, this “may” not work. However, a lot of these late harvesting vegetables do well in the cold and hardy weather (I’m from Colorado and I can grow it here). Root vegetables, and lettuces/greens always do well. There are options for all zones and regions, so just make sure you do your research before you plant.

Below is a list of all the vegetables that do well from summer through fall:

GREENS:
Kale
Spinach
Bak Choi
Arugula
Lettuce
Collards

BRASSICAS:
Cauliflower
Cabbage
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts

ROOT VEGETABLES:
Beets
Carrots
Turnips
Celery
Radishes
Parsnips
Potatoes (In some regions)

OTHER VEGETABLES:
peas
green beans

As is shown above, you have many options for different vegetables that can be grown in the late season. One great thing about vegetables in the Fall season is that they tend to taste better because they are being grown in cooler weather. Heat puts a lot of stress on plants, but cooler grown plants (as long as they are protected well) maintain their amazing flavor. These plants also grow quickly, most having a harvest time of about 70 days. I don’t know about you, but I love the fast growing veggies, it’s pretty satisfying to have food growing a producing so quickly in front of your eyes.

Here are a few tips to consider when planting your summer vegetables for late fall harvest:

1. It’s smart to start certain sends indoors. I suggest counting back 12-14 weeks from whatever your Average First Fall Frost Date. Where I am located in Colorado, we tend to get our first snow on Halloween weekend. Although, sometimes it will come earlier. All of your brassicas, and kale need to be started indoors where the temperature is cooler. Most greens and lettuces do not do well in the heat. Always plant them in spring and fall. Once your seedlings reach 3 weeks, transplant them outdoors, it would preferable to do it on a cloudy day.

2. Do not forget to add nutrients to your soil. Most likely, your new seedlings are going to be planted where you had previous vegetables. Because of this, those plants have already sucked the soil dry of nutrients. I would recommend adding some compost for the best Fall growing conditions.

3. Make sure to mulch your garden. Because your days are going to be hot, mulch will maintain the moisture in the ground. Add organic mulch or straw to help protect your plants.

4. Water your garden regularly. If you aren’t a newbie, you already know that keeping your seedlings moist, especially if you are trying to germinate seeds directly sown into your garden, is very important. Here’s an expert tip, soak your seeds and leave them in the refrigerator overnight. The next day sow them in your garden, this will speed up the germination process.

5. Make sure to Prevent Pests. One of the most difficult aspects of starting seeds and putting out new plants during the summer are bugs. There are plenty of options for organic pesticides, make sure to search your options. There are also natural methods that can help as well. Colorado is cold and dry, so we really don’t get too many bugs.

Calendar of Events:

From 12 to 14 weeks before your first frost – 

Directly sow: beans, parsnips, rutabagas, and begin planting lettuce and radishes.

Start brassica seedlings and kale indoors, and start planting the seedlings within 3 weeks.

From 10 to 12 weeks before your first frost – 

Plant your brassicas and kale seedlings.

Directly sow: beets, carrots, collards, leeks and scallions, along with more lettuce and radishes. In some areas, even fast-maturing peas and potatoes will do well in the fall garden. So make sure to research your area well.

From 8 to 10 weeks before your first frost – 

Directly sow: arugula, Chinese cabbage, lettuce, turnips, spinach,  pak choi and other Asian greens.

You can also sow more lettuce and radishes, including daikons.

From 6 to 8 weeks before first frost – 

Your final sowing of spinach as well as a final sowing of lettuce beneath a protective tunnel or frame.

Make sure to take it one step at a time. If you are a newbie gardener, try one green and root vegetable for your Fall garden. If you’re ready to take it to the next level of gardening, add a few varieties and keep track of what produces well and what you are able to preserve. Again, some areas will do a lot better than others. Just figure out what you’re able to grow in your region.

If you’re like me and you live in the suburbs, you really aren’t going to have a ton of room for more than a few of these anyway. As I listed above, my late planting has included carrots, beans and some greens. Carrots are one of my favorites because they do so well here and the kids love harvesting them. Although it’s definitely not too exciting over here on my homestead, I’m getting what I can out of the little land I have! I also am able to provide plenty for my small family. Whatever extra I have, I usually can or freeze to use during the winter. There is nothing better than frozen and canned vegetables that you grew yourself!