So I know that we haven’t even hit the “official” first day of summer yet, but despite that fact if you live in zones 4, 5 or 6 it’s time to start thinking about your fall garden. Yep, if you are planning on growing your own seedlings you need to start thinking hard about getting some seeds planted.
Fall is quickly becoming my favorite time of year to garden. The cooler temperatures and dying pests make gardening easier and the veggies tastier. Please keep in mind days to harvest, your seed packet may say that those broccoli plants will be producing in 55 days. That number is based on spring production. If you are planting in the fall you should add at least 10 days to your harvest time because the temperatures are getting cooler and the days shorter.
So what should you be thinking about right now? Mainly you are going to want to get started on your Cole crops, Broccoli, Kohl Rabi, Cabbage and Kale. These all take a little longer to get established in the fall garden so if you get those seeds planted indoors within the next 2 weeks or so you will have some healthy starts ready to go out in the garden in early to mid August. Usually 6 to 8 weeks is plenty of time to get seedlings ready for the garden. Be sure to plan on some time to “harden” your starts off. Often the conditions in August are not the best for tender new seedlings, so be sure to give yourself a week or so to slowly introduce your seedlings to the August weather.
So what am I planting this week?
1. Broccoli – 2 varieties Pack Man and Waltham – I know Pack Man is a steady producer in the fall. It is a fairly short season crop with heads ready in about 50 days from the time the seedlings go out. They also produce good side shoots for weeks after the main head is harvested. So seedlings planted in early August should be ready to eat around October 1st. My Waltham starts are an experiment. Waltham produces bigger heads and I like them better but they are also 80 days to harvest so that puts us close to November, we will see if they work. I will plant 20 Pack Man and 4 Waltham this week.
2. Kohl Rabi – I’m hopping this year is our year for Kohl Rabi. I have planted it for 3 years with only limited success. We will have a lot of space this year in the home garden because there is no competing summer garden so I’m going to do 12 starts. The seedlings are usually harvest ready in about 60 days which means we should have Kohl Rabi ready to eat in early October. I will be growing both white & purple Vienna.
3. Cabbage – An August planting of an early variety of cabbage like “Golden Acre” will produce some nice heads for us by mid October. Remember that early varieties of cabbage are not as good for storage as some of the larger varieties, so if you are planting these don’t over do it, only plant what you can reasonably use in 30 to 45 days. We will be planting 8 seedlings.
4. Kale – I will be planting both Vates & Tuscan Kale. These plants wont be as big as my spring and summer planted kale but they will provide us with lots of young and tender leaves. And the plants are very hardy! The Tuscan kale should keep producing leaves for us well into December with out any frost protection. I will plant 4 seedlings of each variety.
5. Brussels Sprouts – Mrs. Stoney loves Brussels Sprouts, I’ve been promising her that I would try to grow some of our own for years, and this year is the year!! These are really new to our garden so we will call them an experimental crop and see how they do. I will be planting 4 seedlings.
6. Summer Crisp lettuce – I will be planting some more of the Summer Crisp lettuce variety Nevada this year. We are always looking for ways to extend our lettuce harvest. I’m hopping we will have this Lettuce ready to eat by late August, well before our traditional fall lettuce is ready.
7. Swiss Chard – I will also be planting a little Swiss Chard this week for early fall harvest. More will be started in 4 weeks for a late fall harvest. I will be planting 4 seedlings of “bright lights” variety.
So what else can you be planting right now? It’s still not too late to get some corn in and any beans planted between now and July 21st will still give you a good crop. It’s also time to start thinking about a spot to plant some fall peas, you will want to get them in the last week of July for a late September harvest.
I’m linking up this week with the Monday Harvest report at Daphne’s Dandelions and The Tuesday Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage.