Late June and July is the time to start thinking about planting your fall garden.
The year-round gardener never rests! That’s right. Despite the fact that it is barely the middle of summer if you live in USDA Zones 4, 5, 6 and even 7 it’s time to start thinking about your fall garden! Yep, if you want a successful fall garden and you grow your own starts now is the time to get started!
Timing for a Fall Garden
So let’s use my zone 5b/6a garden as an example. We love to grow broccoli, it is especially tasty in the fall around here. Of course, we grow it in both the spring and fall. So let’s use the spring crop to map out our plan for the fall crop. We planted our 6 week old Pac Man broccoli starts on April 11th, this year. Today is June 12th and those broccoli plants are just starting to get heads that are eatable size. So to make it easy let’s say they were ready to eat 60 days after transplanting.
Any plant you put into a fall garden will mature about 10 days later in the fall than the same plant would have matured in the spring. So broccoli will need 70 days from transplant to mature in the fall. So if I want the broccoli to be ready around October 10th (this is about the time we can really depend on consistent nights with frost) then I need to have the seedlings in the ground by August 1st. And if I need 6 weeks to grow the broccoli starts then guess what? I need to start broccoli seedlings by June 15th! That’s this weekend! Whew, my seed starter never gets a rest.
So you can apply the same formula to any cool-season veggie. This week I will be starting mainly Cole crops; broccoli, kale, cauliflower, Kohlrabi, cabbage, Brussels sprouts & maybe even a few Pac Choy. These plants will be ready to go out on August 1st, they will struggle a bit in the hot August weather but will be well established by the time September rolls around and the cooler weather arrives.
Upcoming garden planting Times
Other upcoming mileposts to keep in mind include the following:
Chinese Cabbages – Start indoors July 15th, August 1st, August 15th
Beets & Turnips – August 1st
Radishes – September 1st
Fall is a wonderful time to garden, many of the cool seasons’ plants do better for us in the fall than they do in the spring, lettuce, carrots, spinach, Chinese cabbages, and all the Cole crops really do better in the fall here in Utah, and the cooling weather and frosty nights can improve the taste of many of the hardier crops.
So this year don’t let the end of summer mean the end of your garden, get started now for a fantastic fall garden. (And just wait in only a month I’m going to start talking about your winter garden!!)
Do you want to learn more about growing a year-round garden? Check out our 5-hour master course on The Online Gardening School.
What are your favorite fall crops? Are there any that I didn’t mention here that you grow and need to make the list?