For the last few weeks, you’ve been (hopefully) enjoying some wonderful harvests from your summer vegetable, flower and herb gardens. You’ve been watching your tomatoes grow to the perfect size and the perfect shade of red or yellow, you’re about to have more cucumbers than even the most prolific pickle fanatic could shake a stick at, and you’ve probably sat for a few minutes staring at a zucchini the size of a baseball bat, wondering how in the world you didn’t see it growing that big, and what in the world you’re going to make with it, AND how many dozens of people it’s going to feed.
Before you go hanging up your gardening gloves & hat, it’s time to get your fall planting done!
For our area, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, our first fall frost date is October 16.
With that knowledge, you can use THIS chart to determine when to plant your fall or second season crops!
Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of the Farmer’s Almanac article, as there are a few links to different fall planting topics, and they’re all chock full of helpful tips & information.
Lettuces, spinach, kale, arugula, peas, radishes, and beets are all great second season crops in Zones 4-6- their growing & maturation season is typically less than 2 months. Broccoli is a nice addition as well, fully maturing at 80-90 days, because it can stand a little colder weather and even a light frost. Some lettuces can stand a light frosting as well. Most second season crops like these can be harvested at different maturation stages, and will often have different flavor profiles, depending on when you harvest them. You can always double check the maturation dates on the back of the seed packages- we have a few of these left if you didn’t pick them up in the spring!
If you’re wanting some pumpkins for the fall season, now is a good time to get those in as well, but remember they will take a LOT of room. It’s often best to plant them in their own plot or space, so they don’t overpower your other crops.
A couple of reminders & tips if you’ll be using the some of your same spring beds, plots or containers:
Till & prepare your soil- make sure you’re tilling and turning your soil over thoroughly and removing remnants of the previous crop, or any weed material that found its way through.
Amend and refresh your soil- If you need to freshen up your garden or raised bed soil (which you will) we have a solid selection of quality soil products & plant food from conventional to organic lines like Fertilome and Espoma products. This is especially important if you’re using the same beds as your spring & summer plants- those crops will have depleted the existing soil of most nutrients, so to give your second season crops a better shot, set them up for the same success.
Water! We’re in the dog days of summer, and even though there’s still rainfall, it’s nothing like the late spring/early summer days. Seeds need water to germinate, and proper, consistent watering to continue growth to carry through to maturation. A properly watered plant is a happy one.
How’s your garden growing so far this season? Did you try anything new, or did you stick with the classics? Tag us on Facebook or Instagram with pictures of seeds or plants you grew that came from us, we’d love to see your progress and congratulate you on your successes!
What are you looking forward to growing as a second season crop?
As always, if you have any questions in your planting and growing process, you’re not alone- we’re here for you. Feel free to call, email or stop in with and we’re happy to help!