Summer is in full swing and the garden is feeling full and lush. Tomatoes, peppers and hot crops are ripening up, and despite all the abundance, now is the time to start thinking and planning for a fall harvest.
Many of the plants you’ll want to grow into the fall should be direct seeded in the garden (yes, you may need to pull out some plants to make space) or started in cell packs to be transplanted into the garden at a later time (yes, you may still need to pull out some plants to make space). By starting them relatively early, this will give them enough time to grow in the garden to either last late in the fall or develop enough energy and size to last through the winter and produce some very early crops next year.
Planning for a fall crop is based on our first frost date, which generally occurs in October. While we were very lucky last year to have an exceptionally warm and long fall, we can’t expect that to happen every year. Counting back the weeks in our region, we generally want to have things planted by late August or early September, unless you intend to use hoop tunnels or cold frames. Even then, the shorter days and cooler weather will mean plants take longer to grow than their listed day to maturity.
Some of our favourite fall crops include greens like spinach and lettuce, root vegetables like radishes, beets and carrots, and other leafy brassicas like cabbage, kale, mizuna. Here is a general guide on days to maturity for some popular fall crops. Keep in mind other factors for days to maturity from tip #215.
- Beets 50 to 60 days
- Broccoli 70 to 80 days
- Cabbage 60 to 80 days
- Carrots 50 to 75 days
- Kale 50 to 60 days
- Lettuce 25 to 60 days
- Radish 25 to 30 days
- Spinach 45 to 60 days
- Swiss Chard 55 to 65 days
Let us help you with your succession planting guide and how we can get your garden producing well into October, November, and even December.