Planting in July for Fall Harvest!

It’s summertime, and although you may be in summer harvest mode, zucchini, peppers, beans, tomatoes and so on, it does not mean you shouldn't be thinking about your fall garden and how to continue harvesting right through until fall. One thing that you must know is that fall gardens actually need to get planted mid-summer.


Maybe you've been thinking about planting a garden and you had every intention of starting a garden in the spring, but life happened and you didn't get it done; not to worry, there is still time!


Growing fall crops can be a bit trickier than spring and summer crops but there is still a large selection of veggies you can grow. When selecting crops to grow in fall, choose varieties that have the fewest days to harvest. The reason for this is because fall veggies take longer to reach maturity because they receive less daylight as the growing season slows down. Crops planted for fall will typically be ready for harvest in September and October.


Tips for Planting a Fall Vegetable Garden


Start Early!

  • Usually, by the time people start thinking about a fall garden, it's too late

  • In order to have a successful fall harvest, you need to be preparing your late-season crops anywhere from early to late summer

  • Crops with longer growing periods need more time to reach maturity before low levels of light and frost start to occur

  • Crops such as broccoli, carrots, cabbage

  • Other fall crops can be planted in August and September because they are fast-growing. They include lettuce, spinach and radishes

  • It is better to start sooner rather than later


Know your Growing Time

  • Every plant that you grow in your garden has a life span that you can predict. This means that you can approximate how long it will take for a plant to reach a harvestable size.

  • ‘Days to maturity’ is the term used to describe how long it takes a plant to reach a mature size, meaning it is ready to be harvested

  • To determine the “days to maturity” simply look on your seed packet or on the plant tag (if purchased)

  • * days to maturity usually means from the date of a direct sow or from days from transplanting

  • If you are starting your plants from seed, follow the instructions on the seed pack

  • Some cool-season crops like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower may need to be started in cells a few weeks early.

  • If this is the case, the days to maturity will be from the date that you transplanted seedling to the garden

  • The days to maturity is fairly accurate but may vary slightly due to environmental factors

  • As a general rule of thumb, you want to plan to have your crops planted in time for them to reach maturity before the first expected frost date

  • Know the first frost date for your area

  • Not all cool-season vegetables are frost tolerant, is that is why it's a good idea to plan to have your crops at a harvestable stage right before the first expected frost



Choosing the Right Variety

  • When direct seeding make sure that you choose varieties with the least amount of days until maturity

  • Want to ensure plants are ready for harvest before damaging frosts occur

  • Pay attention to the information on seed packets, it is there to help

  • Seed packets usually have information that is unique to that specific variety

  • Characteristics such as frost tolerant, heat tolerant, slow to bolt, early maturing, resistance to diseases, are examples of what to look for on your seed packet


Harvest Summer Crops as Soon as You Can

  • Get into the garden and harvest your spring and summer crops as soon as you can

  • Planting your fall garden has a lot to do with the management of your spring and summer gardens

  • This is most important in small gardens where space is limited

  • Your fall crops can’t be planted until there is room in the garden, meaning that crops such as lettuce, peas, garlic, onions, potatoes, carrots, beets, and spring cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli can be harvested to make room for new plantings

  • Many of these vegetables can be planted again for a fall harvest

  • We suggest making an inventory of the space that you will have coming available and use that to prioritize what crops you care most about planting in your fall garden

Crops Last Longer in the Fall

  • In fall the cool weather acts as a refrigerator and keep crops fresh longer once they mature

  • Basically crops can sit mature in the garden once ready for harvest without compromising their quality

  • This is unlike in the spring and summer when crops should be harvested as soon as they reach maturity to ensure maximum quality

  • For example, lettuce is quick to bolt/go to seed in warm weather, in the fall lettuce will hold its quality for much longer

  • Did you know some crops even taste better the longer they are left in the ground in fall and that being touched by frost can improve the taste?

  • Parsnips, carrots, beets, brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, Turnip, swiss chard, leeks


Crops that can be sown in summer for a fall harvest (Zone 5 planting recommendations)


  • Beets

  • Direct seed mid-late July

  • Cabbage

  • Seed indoors mid-late June

  • Can also try direct seeding

  • Cauliflower

  • Seed indoors mid-June

  • Can also direct seed

  • Kale

  • Direct seed early-mid July

  • Kohlrabi

  • Direct seed early August

  • Lettuce

  • Direct seed late July

  • Peas

  • Direct seed late July

  • Radish

  • Direct seed late August

  • Spinach

  • Direct seed early August

  • Turnips

  • Direct seed early August




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