Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fall is the perfect time to plant vegetables and herbs

Right about now is the perfect time to plant Fall crops, including those that will be harvested this fall and winter, as well as though planted in fall for an early Spring harvest.

Although there may not be much time left until the first frost, you can still get a good harvest of certain crops in the next month or two. You'll have to be sure your seedlings get plenty of water, and they may need some extra protection from the sun, but once the plants are established, they'll thrive in the cool Fall weather.
Johnny's Fall Planting Calculator is a handy tool to help you figure out the dates crops need to be planted outside without season extension products. By growing your plants under row covers, your planting dates can be later than the calculator advises.  You can find different weights of row covers, from lightweight to heavy, that offer different levels of frost protection.  Some covers protect down to 20 degrees!
Some plants you can start growing in the Fall include Basil, beets, Broccoli Raab, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, kale, endive, cilantro, onions, spinach, radishes, and Swiss Chard.  I like to plant lettuce in the Spring and again in the Fall.  All of these plants enjoy the cooler Fall temperatures and more regular rainfall.  Planting in the Fall also helps make me feel better about the summer crops that are starting to \fade.  I enjoy replacing those dried up and yellowing cucumber vines, summer squash plants, and other warm weather crops with bright green little seedlings that will fill the garden with color (and food) right up until the first frost, or even longer if you use row covers.  Plus working in the garden is even more pleasant when it's a comfy 60- 65 degrees, versus the 85- 90 degrees of July!  So get out there and get your hands dirty- you'll reap the rewards of your labor in no time!
Happy gardening! =)
-Michelle of CreativeCritters
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