For some people, Fall is the last thing they want to think about, but for a successful fall garden planting in the late summer is a must. Popular fall crops include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce mixes, kale, and radishes.Fall cold weather crops experience maximum growth when daytime temperatures around 70°F and low 80°F and the night time temperatures between 40°F and 50°F. Once night time temperatures dip below freezing growth for your crops will stop so planting while it is still warm helps your crops get a head start.Most fall garden plants can be started from seeds. For these plants, start seeds directly into the ground and keep them moist and you should see sprouting in a few days. While with plants such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale it is better to transplant. Start by exposing these transplants to direct sunlight for a couple hours a day about a week before planting.Once all of your crops are planted make sure to follow these tips to keep your plants producing long into the fall.
- Fertilize- feed your plants with fertilizer or dig mature compost into the plant areas a week or so before planting reapply several weeks into the growing season.
- Water- keep beds moist, especially during germination.
- Keep pests away- to protect new seedlings use inexpensive row covers to shield your plants.
- Harvest early and often- many fall crops will be more productive when harvested often. Use the cut-and-come-again method where you harvest leaves rather than heads. This will lead to a longer more successful growing season.
In addition to your Fall crops planting cover crops in empty beds can also help your garden have a successful winter. Planting crops such as vetch, oats, winter wheat and, rye will load your soil with nutrients for next season while protecting against Winter erosion at the same time. When Spring time rolls around, just cut down or till the cover crop and start your Spring garden with even fresher soil.