Thinking Fall Vegetable Planting


It’s still cool at 2pm today.  It’s incomprehensible that it is indeed August.  My blooming hibiscus are out of place in what seems to be early July,  if one were to judge by the weather.

But alas.  It is time to think about fall vegetable planting.  This year, given all the fungus we’ve dealt with, fall planting feels like a second chance.  A fresh start.  Even though I am running a bit late,  I’m working on direct seeding some beans and cilantro and I plan to start some broccoli inside today.

Erica Shaffer, Nursery Manager of Highland Gardens in Camp Hill, PA, passed along this step by step schedule to fall vegetable planting.  In this nice dated reference, you’ll see a wide variety of vegetables.  You can load up on vegetables that you enjoy and skip others.groene_savooiekool_brassica_oleracea_convar_capitata_var_sabauda

Some veggies make my family smile while others go uneaten; left in sad piles on their plates.  My family has been loving broccoli this year, so I’m adding a fair amount of that.  We’ve enjoyed peas and beans.  We especially like beans that are picked when they are small.  They’re so tender that way.  Carrots have been a favorite and even though they aren’t on the list, I have baby carrot seeds so I am going to try some of those now.

You’ll also notice that she suggests planting lettuce and greens in waves.  This is so you constantly have a new crop maturing and can harvest the most tender produce. If you plant a lot at once, you can end up with too much, that later gets tough and bitter.

She used the August/September issue of Mother Earth News as a reference.  She shares additional tips at the end of the calender.

July 19- Aug. 2nd (see I told you I was late!)

  • Direct sow last plantings of fast maturing snap beans, cucumbers, and summer squash.
  • Begin planting cilantro, lettuce and radishes.
  • Start cabbage family seedling indoors, set out seedlings into garden as soon as they can be transplanted.  This family includes broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, and of course, cabbage.

Aug. 2- Aug. 16th

  • Set out transplants.
  • Direct sow beets, carrots, escarole, leeks, scallions, along with another planting of lettuce and radishes.
  • Direct sow fast maturing peas.

Aug. 16th – Sept. 5th

  • Direct sow arugula, Chinese cabbage, lettuce, turnips, spinach, mustard pac choi, and other Asian greens.
  • Sow more lettuce and radishes, including diakons.

Last week of August only

  • Final sowing of spinach and mache.
  • Final sowing of lettuce.

September – October

  • Onion sets, Garlic, Shallots.

Tips for fall planting success:

  • Add some Bumper Crop to your soil to re-enrich for the new plantings.
  • Be sure to remember your little plants have little root systems and keep them well watered.  Some seeds will take longer to germinate, be sure to keep the soil moist until they do.
  • Chopped leaves, straw or layers of newspaper in between rows to keep moisture in, weeds down, and give the worms so new work.
  • A frost barrier, a lightweight blanket, will allow harvesting of lettuce, spinach and other greens even as late as Christmas!


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About the Author

Laura Mathews

Laura is a garden writer and photographer. She writes online content for gardening websites, writes for gardening publications and blogs for three gardening blogs. Her interests are local food, organic gardening, backyard homesteading and native plants. She assists gardening related clients with social media. And occasionally, she'll offer a solicited opinion as a garden coach.

One Comment

  1. Great advice! We are planning on letting our students plant a garden by their dorm and now I have an idea of what won’t dissapoint them! Thanks!

    # Posted on August 7, 2009 at 12:43 pm by Andrew Kamerosky

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