October Planting Guide – 6 crops you SHOULD plant in October

As the weather cools and you start putting your garden to bed for the winter use this October planting guide to get a few seeds in your garden for spring harvest.

October Planting Guide

As you read this post, please keep in mind that this October Planting Guide is intended for those of us living in USDA Zones 4 to 7. Also you should know that anything you are planting in October in cold winter climates will be planted for SPRING harvest. You won’t be seeing any harvests until early spring or later.

October Planting Guide

So what should you be planting in October in your backyard garden.


The first crop in our October planting guide is garlic! Fall is the perfect time to plant your garlic. Garlic planted in the fall will grow stronger, healthier and larger bulbs next summer. By planting in the fall you get a huge head start in the spring. In fact in my opinion, if you didn’t get your garlic planted in the fall then don’t bother until next season!

October Planting Guide 4

Garlic is best planted a week or 2 after your first expected fall frost (notice I said expected, not actual). For us that means we are planting around October 15th. But if you have missed that date already, all is not lost. You can plant garlic right up until the day before your ground freezes. In fact one year I planted as late as November 5 (5 weeks after our first frost date) and still had a great crop the following summer.

To learn more about planting garlic in the fall please check out this growing guide!


Like garlic, shallots are often best planted in the fall. They are not quite as cold hardy as garlic so those of you in Zone 4 or lower may have some trouble, but for most of us planting shallots at the same time as garlic means a great crop of shallots in the late spring next year. I also recommend for both shallots and garlic that you cover the beds with a nice layer of mulch to help insulate the ground from the worst of winters cold.

You can learn more about growing shallots by reading this growing guide.


Corn Salad or Mache is a little known salad green that grows very well in cool and even cold weather. Mache is one of only 2 crops I know of (claytonia being the second) that will continue to grow when we have less than 10 hours of day light in our gardens.

In fact Mache loves growing this time of year and germinates better in temperatures around 65 degrees in the day time. So October is the perfect time to plant.

October Planting Guide 5

Newly planted Mache is hardy enough that it can survive being unprotected in the garden over the winter.  BUT it will do much better and grow much quicker with the protection of a cold frame or hoop house.

Mache planted in October should germinate before the super cold weather comes and then will slowly grow in your hoop house and will be ready to start eating in February!!
Order Mache Seeds here (Affiliate Link)


Kale planted in October will be ready to start harvesting leaves in early spring. It will likely germinate some time this month and then will sit quietly over the winter in your hoop house. Once the 10 hour days return in February, it will start growing again for a very early harvest!


Next on the October planting guide is spinach. If you choose to plant spinach in October you are for sure planning for the future. October planted spinach will likely germinate late in the month and possibly get one or two “true leaves” before the cold sets in. If protected by a hoop house or cold frame you will find the spinach grows slowly while we have less than 10 hours of day light. Once the sunshine returns in February these tiny plants will take off.  Giving you your earliest (and longest) spinach harvest ever!


Number 6 on the October Planting guide is lettuce. Lettuce is not nearly as hardy as the other crops listed above. But small, newly germinated lettuce plants are actually quite hardy. Planted now the seeds will germinate and grow just a little.

October Planting Guide 6

Protect them with a cold frame and when things start to warm up in early spring these plants will burst into production with a very early crop!

Flower bulbs

This one may seem a little strange, but flowering bulbs like tulips, daffodils, crocus and others make a colorful addition to your spring vegetable garden. Although not eatable, they will provide flowers to attract early emerging pollinators to your garden. (and hopefully encourage them to stick around!!) So plant a few bulbs in your garden while you are filling your flower beds.

October Planting Guide 3

Other greens

There are several other greens that, like lettuce, are not the hardiest plants, but their smaller versions will survive the winter with the protection of a cold frame. Some of these greens include arugula, endive, radicio, dandelion, beets, turnips or even radishes. Again you will be planting these for overwintering in the cold frame and for spring harvest.

I hope this October planting guide gets you thinking as you are cleaning up your garden this month. Look around and find some places to plant some of these over wintering crops. Now is also the perfect time to consider building a simple cold frame or hoop house to protect crops over the winter and to give your spring crops a head start!

Questions? Please leave them in the comments below.

Would you like to learn more about Year Round Gardening? Then please consider buying a copy of my on-line Year Round Gardening video course by following the link below!

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Planting Garlic in the Fall in your backyard garden

Early to mid Fall is the perfect time for planting garlic. Garlic planted in the Fall almost always does better than spring planted garlic.

Planting Garlic in the Fall

Planting garlic in the spring in most areas produces small bulbs that contain even smaller cloves. There just isn’t enough time for spring planted garlic to get established and growing before the heat of summer arrives.

Planting Garlic in the Fall

Planting garlic in mid fall allows the garlic cloves you plant some time to get established before the cold weather sets in. Fall planting also means that your garlic is able to start growing in the spring very early! Most years I see the first shoots of my fall planted garlic poking out of the soil as early as mid February. Having your garlic in the ground in the fall means the plants will have 6 or more weeks head start.

There are many differing opinions on when you should get you garlic planted. Many growers suggest getting your garlic in as soon as possible. Others say you should wait until just before the ground freezes.

Timing for planting garlic

Here’s the schedule I have settled on. I plant my garlic about two weeks after my average first frost date. But well before we have had any hard freezes that would cause the ground to freeze. So for me here in my zone 5b garden that means I plant garlic right around October 15th.  Notice I said 2 weeks after my AVERAGE first frost date, I don’t actually wait for my first frost, instead I plant based on the first expected frost date which for us is about October 1st.

Technically you can begin planting garlic any time after the weather really starts to cool off (when temperatures in the day start settling in the 60s). And you really have up until the ground freezes. If you are reading this post a little later in the year then don’t worry too much.  As long as your ground hasn’t frozen you are still okay to plant your garlic.

I really like that mid point of two weeks after your first frost date. (Remember this is the average first frost date for your area. Not the actual first frost date).  That time of the year is after the weather has cooled, but before the ground has frozen.  So figure out that date for your area and use it as your target.

How to plant garlic

Planting garlic is simple, just select the largest cloves in a bulb of garlic. Gently remove the cloves from the bulb. Larger cloves mean larger healthier plants

Planting Garlic 4

You plant garlic bulbs pointy side up and about 2 to 3 inches deep. The “pointy side” is the side from the top of the bulb, opposite from where the roots were growing.

Planting Garlic 3

I made this little stick with a 2 inch line on it that I use to gauge the correct planting depth while planting garlic. It’s handy to have!

Spacing should be around 8 inches in all directions. Garlic does well planted in patches instead of rows. Just keep the spacing to around 6 to 8 inches so the plants have plenty of room to grow.

If you live in an area with extreme winter cold it would also be a good idea to cover your garlic patch with some type of mulch. Straw, leaves or even grass clippings will help insulate the ground and prevent frost heave from disturbing your bulbs.

Planting Garlic 2

Also don’t forget to amend your soil before you plant.  A few inches of compost mixed into the soil will help your crop out in the spring!

Where to get garlic cloves to plant

You have 4 options for getting your garlic “seed” (the cloves you plant):

Seed growers

Either online, from a catalog or from your local nursery.  There are many sources out there for ordering garlic.  Try to order early so you are sure your favorite grower has the varieties you want!

Save your own seed

This is the method I use. You can save your own seed garlic by selecting the largest cloves from this years harvest and planting them. After as little as 3 years selecting only the largest and healthiest cloves you will have your own locally adapted variety!!  Garlic is very good at becoming adapted to your very specific growing conditions, so by saving your own cloves for planting in the fall you can build your own health variants of many popular varieties.

Planting Garlic 5

Farmers Markets

Find a variety you really like from one of your local farmers, then buy some extra garlic to plant in your garden.  Again remember to select on the largest and healthiest looking cloves.

The grocery store

You can even choose your favorite garlic from the grocery store and plant it. I really don’t recommend this method for a few reasons, first you have no idea what you are getting. Second, commercially produced garlic is often treated with chemicals that are meant to prevent sprouting. Third, the part of the bulb where the roots are attached are often cut very close. This can damage the cloves keeping them from ever sprouting.

Having said all this I do know folks that have great success planting garlic from a store.
Garlic is one of the easiest and most carefree vegetables to grow in your garden. Just plant it in the fall and water when needed in the spring. That along with a little weeding is all you need to grow a great crop of home grown garlic.

For more info on growing garlic in your garden you can check out these other great Stoney Acres Posts:

When to Harvest Garlic (Video)

How to Cure and Store Garlic (Video)

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Year Round Gardening Series #3 – Cold Frame Crops – Greens

In part three of our winter gardening series let’s talk about cold frame crops.

Cold Frame Crops

The crops that I will talk about in this post and in post #4 of the series are what I consider the “base” crops to grow in your cold frames.  There are actually close to 30 different crops, but the 8 in these two posts will take up the majority of the space in your cold frames and hoop houses.


Cold Frame Crops

Lettuce does well in cold frames until mid December


Most varieties of lettuce will do great in the cold frames.  There are some growers that focus on some extra cold hardy varieties, Johnny Seeds has several.  The variety Winter Density is specifically bread to grow well in the winter!

Don’t bother with head lettuce, it will never get done before the real cold hits.  But leaf, bib and even romaines or cos types will do very well.  Be prepared to harvest all your lettuce as soon as the really cold weather sets in.  Even under protection lettuce won’t hold up all winter, when the temps drop into the low 20’s you will start to lose the outside leaves and eventually the whole plant.

Those 20’s usually show up for us in early December, so we harvest the entire plants at that time and store them in a tight container in the fridge.  That usually keeps for another month, so we have lettuce until Christmas.  Last year a friend of mine was able to keep lettuce growing well all winter in a hoop house where he added bottles of water for supplemental heat.  We are going to experiment with that this year so I will report on the progress as the winter approaches.

Cold Frame Crops - Spinach


We love fresh spinach in our winter salads.  Most varieties seem to do well, we are trying a new type this year that is different than we have used in the past.  Bloomsdale has a little larger leaves and should be a bit more cold hardy.  January is the toughest month for winter gardens and spinach is one of the few crops that we are still able to harvest at that time.

Be sure to go easy on the harvest in the coldest months.  Leave a few green leaves on each plant so that they can build energy in the spring and start growing again.  You will find your fall planted, over wintered spinach will take off growing again in early spring and give you a second fantastic harvest until May!

Cold Frame Crops - Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard

We are big fans of Swiss Chard and it is one of the most productive cold frame crops.  One year we planted 5 four foot rows and we were over whelmed.  We had so much that we picked at it all winter and spring and eventually pulled out the plants and feed them to the chickens to make room for summer crops.  Chard is good as an additional ingredient in salads and is great if you like cooked greens.  We also enjoy eating the celery like stalks in the summer, but we have found that the plants never get a chance to grow big enough for good stalks in the winter; we mostly just grow it for the greens.


Cold Frame Crops - Sorrel


Sorrel is one of the more exotic cold frame crops.  You can see our sorrel growing on the right edge of this bed.  Sorrel is a perennial plant and we have decided to treat it as such.  The plants you see here were planted as starts way back in February and have been providing greens for us since May.  This year we should have some sorrel all winter.  Sorrel is similar to spinach in texture but has a very distinct lemony flavor.  It is a great addition to salads.  Sorrel can also be use more like an herb in soups, fish or chicken dishes.


Cold Frame Crops - Pac Choy

Chinese Cabbages

Another one of the great cold frame crops is Pac Choy.  We love Pac Choy (aka Bak Choy) for stir fries.  The smaller leaves are also good in salads.  We plant Pac Choy from starts in September; the plants love the cool fall weather and usually last well into November.

Chinese cabbages are a fall plant, the cool temperatures and lessening light make these plants grow big and tasty.  We have never had much success with them any other time of the year. A friend tells me this is because the increasing light of spring triggers the plants to bolt.  To be honest we have always eaten ours up by November.  So I’m not sure how well they do over the winter. I have read of people having success planting and harvesting them as baby salad greens in the winter but I have never tried.  We have also had success with Tatsoi as well, which is another Chinese cabbage.

I will continue our cold frame crops discussion in Part four in our winter gardening series! Follow this link to learn more!


Would you like to learn more about growing a year round garden?  Our Year Round Gardening video course is the perfect way to learn how to turn  your garden into a 365 day a year growing machine!!  Start learning now by following the link below!

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Curing potatoes before winter storage

Curing potatoes before winter storage is an important process that will help assure longer storing times for your potato crop.

Curing Potatoes

Potatoes are a super important garden crop around our place. They provide us with a fresh vegetable source for a big part of the winter months. We store our potatoes for the winter in a makeshift root cellar that we put together in a window well on the east side of our house. This root cellar provides a nice cool spot for our potatoes to sit in all winter. But before we put them away for the winter, curing potatoes for a week or so first is very important.

How do you cure potatoes?

Curing potatoes is really pretty easy. You simply spread your potatoes out on some surface for about a week to 10 days. We usually just spread our potatoes out on a big table in our garage. After they have sat for about 5 days I go out and turn them so that both sides of the potato dry well. There are a few things that are important to remember when you are curing potatoes:

Air flow is important

Try to lay the potatoes out flat in one layer, don’t pile them on top of each other, give them a little room to breath.

The cooler the better

Ideal temperatures for curing potatoes would be 65 or below, in the fall that is often pretty hard to accomplish. But do your best to let them sit somewhere as cool as possible.

Some where dark is essential!

Light especially direct sunlight is the enemy of potatoes. Light causes the skins of your potatoes to turn green. Green skins on potatoes taste terrible and are mildly poisonous. It’s important while curing potatoes to do it somewhere as dark as possible. A little light for a few days isn’t going to ruin your potatoes, but it is very important that you keep them out of direct sunlight and as dark as possible. So we like a nice dark garage with any windows covered.

Curing Potatoes 3

I also like to cover the potatoes while they are curing with a light blanket or in this case a piece of fabric row cover.  This helps keep the potatoes in the dark, to keep them from going green.
Why is it so important to cure your potatoes before storing them?

Curing potatoes accomplishes several things

Hardening skins

The first and most important thing is, curing potatoes for about 10 days allows the skins of the potatoes to harden or toughen. This hardened skin will help the potatoes store for months!

Dries of all wet spots

Moisture is the enemy of any long storing food. Allowing your potatoes to sit out for 10 days assures that all of the potatoes are dry before you put them away.

Curing allows damaged spots to heal

Potatoes have the amazing ability to heal damaged spots. Much of the minor damage done to the skins of potatoes while harvesting will heal if the potatoes are left out and exposed to the open air for 10 days. This assures that those damaged spots don’t become “bad” spots that will end up rotting.

Curing potatoes forces you to handle your potatoes

Having to set all the potatoes out on a table, turn them, and eventually clean them off, forces you to handle all of your potatoes. This way you are able to inspect them for rotten spots or damage that may become future rottenness. You can then pull these bad potatoes out and keep them from being placed in with the good potatoes where the rot might spread.

Bad potatoes show up quickly

Another nice benefit of curing is that bad potatoes show up quickly. You are able to spot rotten spots or even softer potatoes that just aren’t going to store long.

Allows you to sort by size (and type)

Setting all these potatoes out also allows you to sort them by size and variety. Some varieties of potatoes store longer than others. Russets potatoes last longer in storage than reds so if they are sorted by type you can use the shorter storing types first.

Curing Potatoes 2

It is also super handy to sort by size. I sort by small, medium and large. Small potatoes are a pain to peel and are better used for roasting and in soups where the peels can be left on. Medium potatoes are perfect for casseroles and for mashing. Larger potatoes are the best for baking. By having them sorted by size it makes them easier to use during the winter.

I’ve also found that having all the smaller potatoes in one spot makes us see them and think about using them, because they always seem to be the ones we put off using.

Putting your potatoes away in storage

Once your potatoes have sat for about 10 days take a little time to inspect and do a rough clean of your potatoes. I handle each and every one of my potatoes. Use a pair of gloves and handle each one.  Rub off as much of the left over dirt as you can (being careful not to damage the skins). This will make them easier to clean in the sink when it’s time to cook them.

I also look for soft spots, unhealed damage and rottenness. Any potatoes with these types of problems I bring inside and store in the fridge until they can be used up. Also look for potatoes that are overall soft, these too won’t store as long so I also pull them out to be used up quickly.

I’m planning a separate post on storing potatoes. (When that post is live you will find it here). When storing keep in mind that potatoes need to be stored somewhere dark, dry and very cool! That is why root cellars are so ideal for long term storage of potatoes.

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5 Crops you can still plant in September

What can you plant in September?? Here are 5 crops you can still plant in September.  This post is meant mainly for those of us living in Zones 4 to 7, in the northern hemisphere.

5 crops you can still plant in September Cover

Summer is slipping a way very quickly now, only a few short weeks and it will officially be fall. The arrival of September brings with it cooler temperatures and considerably shorter days. Production from our warm weather crops is in full swing, melons, tomatoes, cucumbers and more are covering our counter tops.

But all of those plants are starting to slowly burn out. You may already have some empty spots in your garden. Why not fill those spots with late plantings of cool weather crops.  There are 5 crops you can still plant in September.   I recommend planting either by seed or with starts (if you can find them).

First Frost date

The key to planting the 5 crops you can still plant in September is your first frost date.  Use this frost date calculator to determine when your first frost is expected. You can then count back two weeks. This date becomes your “drop dead date” for your final fall plantings.

The second thing to keep in mind is most of the plants you will be putting in in September will be planted for over wintering and will be used for late winter harvests or early spring harvest. So you need to plan on a hoop house, cold frame or at a bare minimum some Heavy Fabric Row Cover to protect these late plantings. So what can you still plant?


The first of the 5 Crops you can still plant in September is Mache.  This is one of our favorite greens.  Machè also know as corn salad or some times lambs lettuce, is a super hardy leafy green that grows very well in the winter time. Machè is one of those rare plants that continues to grow during the winter when day length drops below 10 hours.

5 Crops you can still plant in September Mache

This salad crop can be planted starting 2 weeks before your last frost. And seeds can be put in the ground for a good part of the fall. Wait for things to start to cool off a bit before you plant.  Machè actually prefers temperatures to be cooler (ideal is 65) before it will germinate, so don’t bother planting now if you are still experiencing days in the 90’s.

Machè has a delicious nutty flavor and makes a wonderful salad in the winter time. It is used as a salad green, not as a cooked green. Plant a lot of it, they are small plants so it takes quite a few to make a decent salad.  They are harvested by cutting the entire plant off at the base.  Mache is a one time plant, not a cut and come again plant like lettuce.

It can be hard to find seeds locally, your best chance of finding them is with some of the online growers like this one.


You can plant spinach up until around 2 weeks before your first frost. Plantings this late in the year will not provide a harvest this fall or winter. Instead you are planting for the spring. These late plantings will get up and growing before the cold weather sets in but expect them to only have a few small leaves.

5 Crops you can still plant in September Spinach

You will need to offer them some type of protection over the winter (a Mini hoop house or cold frame would be best). Once the weather starts to warm up in February these plants will take off and give you your earliest spring harvest ever!


Here too you are planting mostly for the spring now. Lettuce plantings in September will grow slowly all winter. Those small lettuce plants are surprisingly cold hardy and just like spinach they will take off in the spring for a delicious early harvest.

5 Crops you can still plant in September Lettuce

Choose mostly leaf lettuces for theses plantings. I have found those small leaf lettuce plants survive very well in a cold frame. Also look for extra hardy varieties like winter density, that are meant to do well in the winter. These hardy varieties can be found online here.


Kale is one of the hardiest plants out there. I have found the crinkly leaf varieties like Vates or Winterbore to be particularly hardy. Kale planted in September will grow slowly and will still be small when winter sets in. But it will provide a good harvest of small leaves all winter. Then the plants will take off in the spring.

5 Crops you can still plant in September Kale

Because kale is so hardy it will grow unprotected in your garden until early winter (think December).  In all but the coldest areas the only winter protection they will need is a piece of heavy fabric row cover. And you will love the improved taste the cold weather imparts to your kale, it’s like a different veggie this time of year.


Also known as miners lettuce, Claytonia is actually a weed that grows in California. This little beauty is another plant that isn’t deterred from growing when there is less than 10 hours of sun. Plant this one to add some variety to your winter salads.

5 Crops you can still plant in September Claytonia

The leaves on claytonia are small so you should use it as an addition to salads, based on other crops. Try tucking a few seeds of this fun plant into a corner of your cold frame or hoop house this year!

Other ideas

It’s not too late to think about planting a few other leafy greens. These greens will be over wintered and gardeners will harvest them in the late winter after the 10 hour days return. You can even plant things like turnips or beets. BUT you will be growing them only for the small tender tops, not the roots. Other greens include arugula, chard, chicory, endive, mizuna, sorrel and tatsoi.

Remember all of the 5 Crops you can still plant in September require protection if you live in a cold winter area. Mini hoop houses or cold frames are a great addition to your garden! And will extend your harvest all winter long!

If you live in a warmer part of the world (zones 8 to 10) your planting dates for these winter goodies will be much later.  Consult your local extension agency for planting times for your area!

Would you like to learn more about extending your garden season?  Our online video course will have your garden producing 365 days a year!  Start learning for only $25 by following the link below!


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Growing Cucumbers – A Complete Growing Guide

Growing cucumbers is quite easy, just follow the steps below:

Growing Cucumbers

Growing cucumbers is a backyard garden favorite.  Cucumbers are fairly easy to grow and usually have very few pest of disease problems.  We also love the fact that a small row of cucumbers , grown on a trellis, can produce upwards of 50 pounds of fruit per year.  In fact, our little 6 foot trellis is so productive that we end up giving away cucumbers.

3 main types of cucumbers

Cucumbers can be divided into 3 main types:

  1. Slicing
  2. Pickling
  3. Novelty
Slicing Cucumbers

Slicing cucumbers are perfect for fresh eating.  Slicing cucumbers usually grow to between 8 to 15 inches depending on variety. As the fruit starts to mature the skin of slicing cucumbers harden.  This makes mature slicers unusable for pickling.  But slicing cucumbers can be pickled when smaller and still tender skinned.  Slicing cucumbers also make great refrigerator pickles.


Pickling Cucumbers

Pickling cucumbers are much smaller.  Usually 2 to 6 inches and their skins are much more tender, making it easier for the pickling spices to penetrate the fruit.  Pickling cucumbers are also generally more prolific.  You will get more cucumbers per plant with picklers, especially if you are careful to pick them often.

Novelty Cucumbers

Novelty cucumbers include middle eastern & oriental varieties.  They also include some fun colors and shapes. Novelty cucumbers include a fun yellow fruited variety called lemon and lots of fun, long funky shaped varieties.  Most novelty cucumbers are eaten as slicers, although again they can be pickled when small.

General Information for Growing Cucumbers

Cucumbers are warm season veggies and must be grown in the summer.

Most cucumber varieties vine, making them perfect candidates for vertical growing.  Growing cucumbers on a trellis keeps the fruit clean, makes the plants less susceptible to cold and frost and allows you to plant more cucumbers in a small space.  Additionally growing cucumbers on a trellis’ reduce the occurrence of some diseases like powdery mildew by increasing air flow and keeping the leaves drier. (Learn about our simple cucumber trellis here)

Growing Cucumbers Trellis

There are a few bush varieties out there.  Bush cucumbers tend to be MUCH less productive.  I tried a bush pickling cucumber a few years ago and was very disappointed with the production.  But they do have their uses, and do well in smaller gardens or small containers.

Like all members of the squash family, when they bloom cucumbers have both male and female blossoms.  It’s easy to tell the difference.

Growing Cucumbers female flower

The female blossoms have little baby cucumbers behind the flowers.

Growing Cucumbers Male Flower

Don’t panic if when your plants first bloom, all you see are male flowers.  There will often be a big flush of male flowers at first.  This is natures way of drawing attention to the growing cucumbers plants and to get the pollinators interested.  The female blossoms will follow after the bee’s know where to find the plants.

Growing cucumbers are almost 100% insect pollinated (there can be occasional wind pollination but this will be spotty at best) because of this it is always wise to be very careful with insecticides around your garden.  You don’t want to kill those bee’s!!


Because they are warm weather plants cucumbers must be planted 1 to up to 6 weeks AFTER your average last frost date.  Soil temperatures should be at least 60 degrees (You can find your soil temp using one of these handy Soil Thermometers)

Growing Cucumbers  seedlings

Under the right conditions it usually takes about 1 week for newly planted seeds to emerge as seedlings, so if you are willing to take the risk you could plant on, or even a little before, your average last frost date, and hope the seedlings don’t come out until after the frost.  But be prepared to risk loosing your plants and having to replant.

You can get you cucumbers off to a quicker start in the spring by warming the soil for a few weeks before planting, by covering the bed with clear plastic.

Plant seeds 1 inch deep and leave about 3 inches between each seed.

Growing Cucumbers starts

If you would like to get a bit of a head start with growing cucumbers you can always start some seeds indoors 2 weeks before planting outside.  Use florescent lights or a sunny window.  Don’t let seedlings get much older than 2 weeks.  Cucumber plants don’t transplant well if they are much older than that.

If you are buying seedlings from a store always buy seedlings that are very small, with no more than one set of true leaves.  You not trying to transplant large plants, instead you are just trying to get a couple of weeks head start.  I will say it again, large cucumber plants that are already vining (or even worse blooming) DO NOT transplant well, go for the much smaller plant.


Growing cucumbers love fertile soil, so it is always a good idea to add some good quality compost and blood meal to your soil.  They would also appreciate manure added to your soil and dried seaweed (if available).

Growing Cucumbers love lots of water.  They prefer long deep drinks, therefore it is always better to water with a drip system.  Watering with sprinklers encourages mildew problems on the leaves.  To little water will cause your cucumbers to be bitter.

Common pests for growing cucumbers include aphids, cucumber beetles, flea beetles, mites and squash bugs.  Diseases include downy mildew and powdery mildew.


Plan on your first harvest between 50 to 70 days after planting.

Clipping the fruit from the vine with a pair of garden scissors, instead of pulling from the vine, will cause less damage.

Growing cucumbers Harvest

Pick your growing cucumbers while they are still green, long and slender.  Never let fruit stay on the vine so long that they are yellow and bulging.  This will discourage extra fruit production as the plant will start focusing on seed growth.

Plan on picking often!  3 or 4 times a week at least, but you really should be checking daily!  Frequent harvesting encourages more fruit production.

Fresh picked cucumbers will last around 1 week in the fridge.

Cucumbers are part of the Cucurbitaceae or squash family.  As such you should plan on rotating where you plant your cucumbers each year and avoid spots where other squashes or melons have been planted in the past 2 -3 years.

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Fall Gardening Resource Guide

Fall Gardening Resource Guide! Wait! It’s not fall yet, why would I be worried about my fall garden yet???

Fall Gardening Resource Guide

Well it turns out if you want fall garden on most parts of the northern hemisphere August is the time to begin.

Along with harvesting, preserving and storing your summer grown crops. You also have to start planting your fall crops and your need to start working on options for protecting those fall crops. That’s why I decided to create this Fall Gardening Resource Guide.

I know a lot of successful gardeners who are also wonderful bloggers. All these folks have blogs packed full of articles of all different aspects of gardening this time of year.

I sent out a message to all my blogging friends asking for their best fall gardening and related tasks posts.  And boy did they come through!  Turns out there are a lot of people that are very passionate about fall gardening.  So this week I’ve created this Fall Gardening Resource Guide for you. I’ve included over 100 different posts, both from Stoney Acres and many other great blogs.

All the post revolve around 4 topics that should be on your mind this time of year: Fall planting, Season Extension, Canning and preserving, and storing your crops fresh. I’ve done my best to organize them in a manner that will be helpful to you!  Enjoy!

Fall Gardening Resource Guide

Fall planting

Fall Gardening Resource Guide 1

August is the time to focus on most of your fall planting, the target date is the window between 8 to 6 weeks before your first average frost.  For most of us here in the north that window will fall sometime in the month of August.  Of course those of you that live in the warmer areas (think zones 8,9,10) your planting dates will be much later.  But even in the warmer climates you want to start thinking about your fall gardens soon.  Below is a list of different blog articles that will help you with your fall planting:

General Fall Garden Advice

9 crops you can plant in August for fall and winter harvest

13 Quick Growing Vegetables for Your Fall Garden

12 Vegetables To Plant NOW In Your Fall Garden

15 Frost Tolerant Vegetables to Grow in the Fall Garden

Time to start thinking about your Fall garden

What does the arrival of 10 hour days mean for your garden?

7 Tips for Preparing the Fall Garden

How to Plan a Successful Fall Garden

Transitioning The Garden From Summer To Fall

Fall Gardening Planting Guide

Starting a Fall Garden in the Sweltering Heat of Oklahoma

Know when to harvest these 25 organic vegetables

Seed Starting: You Can Do It!

Gardening Where it is Cold (Zone 3)

Planning and Planting a Fall Garden

Planning {and planting} the fall garden

How I Prepared for the Fall Garden

When Should I Start My Seeds? Printable seed starting calendar

Crop Specific Posts

Growing Peas in the Fall

Growing Carrots for Winter Harvest

Growing Fall and Winer Carrots

Growing Lettuce in the Fall & Early Winter

Tips for Digging and Storing Sweet Potatoes

How to Grow and Preserve Pumpkins

Beginner’s Guide To Winter Squash

How to Grow Garlic – From Planting to Harvest

Growing, Harvesting, and Storing Garlic

Planting Garlic in the Fall Garden

Planting Organic Garlic: The Basics & Common Questions

How to Grow Cabbage

Harvesting Dandelion Root Tea from your garden

How to Grow Swiss Chard in your Fall Garden

5 Vegetables to Plant Now For a Fall Harvest

Pod Casts:

Fall Gardening Prep 10 Tips to Improve Your Soil

Save Money With A Backyard Chicken Fall Garden [Podcast]

Planting a Fall Vegetable Garden

Season Extension

Fall Gardening Resource Guide 2

Unless you live in Zones 9 & 10 you are going to have to deal with frost this fall and winter (even you warm folks will have frost every once in a while.  So you need to have a plan to deal with protecting your fall (and even early winter) crops from frost and cold temperatures as the year progresses!  There are several different options for extending your season these include fabric row covers, cold frames, mini hoop houses, high hoops and green houses.  Below is a list of several resources to help you learn how to build and use them:

Winter Garden Structures

Building a garden cold frame

Protecting your garden from Early Frost

Growing a Year Round Garden

How to Build a Cold Frame

Polytunnels: Extend Your Growing Season

Cheap and Easy Row Covers

Move a Portion of Your Garden South

Winter Growing Conditions in a Greenhouse

Make a Hoop House to Extend Your Growing Season

Canning & Preservation

Fall Gardening Resource Guide 3

Fall is also canning and preserving time!  As your summer fruits and veggies start to finish off you will want to be putting them away for the winter.  Below is a huge list of resources for canning and other food preservation methods:



Canning Apples

Canning Applesauce Recipe

Homemade Applesauce

Canning Apple Butter using a Crock Pot

Homemade Apple Butter in the Slow Cooker

How to Pressure Can Apple Pie Filling

How to Can Apples for Baking

Crockpot Apple Butter with Canning Instructions

How to Can Applesauce

Canning Apple Pie Filling

Homemade Applesauce


Canning Pears

Pear Butter Recipe


Canning Tomatoes

Canning Tomato Sauce

How to Make and Can Tomato Sauce

Homemade Enchilada Sauce


Canning Carrots

How to Can Carrots

Pickled Carrots with Ginger & Dill Recipe

Raw Water Packed Carrot Recipe


Canning Pumpkin

Easy Homemade Pumpkin Puree


6 Fall Canning Recipes

Canning Potatoes

Canning Potatoes

How to Pressure Can Potatoes


Canning & Pickling Beets

Chicken Bone Broth Soup with Canning Instructions

Cranberry Sauce with Canning Instructions

Canned Zucchini Tongue Recipe

Fresh Beets Packed in Water Recipe

Canning Butternut Squash

Pickled Beets with Dill Recipe

Beautyberry Jelly Recipe


Freezing Tomatoes

Freezing Broccoli

Preserving Bell Peppers

Other Methods

8 Ways to Preserve Pumpkin at Home

9 Ways to Preserve Apples at Home

Drying Apples & Apple Leather

Dehydrating Foods Without Electricity

5 Simple Ways to Preserve Apples

A to Z Guide to Dehydrating Vegetables

How to Dehydrate Your Own Foods

Helpful Guide To Drying Homegrown Herbs

Preserving Green Beans- Leather Britches

Fresh Storage

Fall Gardening Resource Guide 4

Along with canning, freezing and drying you will also have many crops that can be stored fresh, garlic, onions, potatoes, carrots, pumpkins and all of the winter squashes are stored whole and fresh.  Below I’ve included a bunch of different resources to teach you how to do this, weather you are using a root cellar or just a cool spot in your basement, this list contains a bunch of different posts to teach you how to store your crops for the winter:

Building and Using a Window Well Root Cellar

How to Ripen Green Tomatoes

The 5 Easiest Vegetables to Store

How To Store Potatoes Most Efficiently

Five Foods to Store for Winter

How to Harvest, Cure and Store Onions

It’s a matter of having a Root Cellar

Above Ground Root Cellars

Root Cellars 101- Root Cellar Design and Use

10 Tips for Storing Vegetables Without a Root Cellar

Other Fall Garden Advice

Along with all the above resources, there are also things you need to be doing in the fall to prepare your home and garden for both the winter AND next spring.  Here are some guides to help you there:

Five Steps to Get Your New Garden started this fall

8 Garden Tasks you should be doing this fall

5 Reasons why you should plant a garden next year

Preparing your Garden for Winter

The Magical Mouse Box

Preparing a New Garden Bed

Preparing the Garden fo Winter

Fall Leaves: A Valuable Soil Builder

Fall: The Perfect Time to Build Healthy Soil

Fall Blooming Flowers for the Bees

Cleaning and Sharpening Garden Tools

Fall Gardening Prep 10 Tips to Improve Your Soil

Basic Guide to Saving Seed From Your Garden


Well I hope you found Fall Gardening Resource Guide helpful, I don’t often do these kinds of “round up” posts but I felt like there are so many great posts and articles floating around out there right now that we need a spot to put them all together and make them easy to get at!!   If nothing else this will give you hours of reading enjoyment, Right!!

Did I miss some posts?  Do you have a favorite site that helps you with your fall gardening?  Please leave a link in the comments section and if the site owner agrees, I will add the post to this resource guide!

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