Hi guys, Sorry for the long absence. Life has been really crazy and I needed to take a little break from blogging, but now I’m back!!
I know what you are thinking when you read the title of this post. “What!!!, we haven’t even hit the first day of summer yet and it is time to start thinking towards fall??!!!” Such is the life of the 4 season gardener.
If you live in Zones 4 to 7 and you would like a nice fall crop of broccoli or maybe some cabbage or Brussel Sprouts then it’s time to get busy.
I’ve found that early August is the best time to get starts out in the garden for all your Cole crops. This timing gives them six weeks of nice warm weather to put on lots of growth and then gives them another 4-6 weeks for the crop to mature in the cooler weather of fall!
So here’s what you need to be thinking about planting indoors in your seed starter this weekend:
Broccoli – You want to look for a fast maturing variety like “packman” or “Premium crop Hybrid”. Both mature in about 55 days from transplant so if you get them in the garden in August they will be ready towards the end of September.
Cabbage – Again you are looking for short maturity dates, Golden Acre is our favorite and it will mature in about 65 days from transplant. So early to mid October.
Pak Choi (Bak Choi) – This one only needs about 45 days so you will be able to plant it as late as September, but go a head and get a few plants going now.
Cauliflower – I’ll admit I’ve never grown cauliflower in the fall so this year will be our first try. Again look for maturity dates that are around the 50 to 60 day mark.
Kale – We will plant both the curled leaf (vates) and dinosaur leaf (Lacinato) kale starting now and progressing through the rest of the summer. You can plant this directly into the garden if you like, but if you are like us there’s not much room right now so we start it indoors for later transplant.
Brussel Sprouts – This will also be a new fall crop for us. Brussel sprouts take longer to mature than a lot of the other Cole crops so I’m interested to see how they do. I know some folks just leave them in the ground until December to sweeten them in the cold.
Kohlrabi – We like kohlrabi but we never seem to have enough to make a big meal. Fall is the best time to grow it because it likes some frost to sweeten the taste. Most kohlrabi will mature in 50 to 60 days.
Swiss Chard – We also like to plant a couple of starts of chard. It will mature in about 50 days. Be careful how much of this you plant. It can be very prolific in the fall and you can easily be over whelmed!!
A couple of other things you need to think about with fall Cole crops. First is aphids love these types of crops and at least around our place aphids are at their worst in the late summer. So you need to plan on protecting them with a light row fabric. Second most of these crops are pretty hardy! But as the fall progresses and the frosts get heavier you may need to plan on a heavy row cover to help extend your season.
Alright, it’s time to get busy again. Get those fall crops planted now. Only 6 more weeks and it will be time to start thinking about your winter crops!!