Sunday, August 17, 2014

Planting fall garden

Swiss chard
It's time to plant again, but this time it's easy. Since time is limited, there's only a few plants that can grow fast enough.
I'm planting green onions, lettuce, spinach, Bok choy and maybe Swiss chard.
I could plant broccoli, kale, parsley, peas and root vegetables such as beets, carrots, parsnips and radishes, if space permits. Even if the temperature gets as low as 20 degrees F, these plants will survive.
Many root vegetables taste better after a good frost, because the vegetable's starches turn to sugar. Brussels sprouts taste better if harvested after frost as well.
Most herbs will die at the first sign of frost. I think the only exception is parsley.

Grow times from seed to maturity for cool weather tolerant plants
Radishes come in first at 30-50 days.
green onions 40-50 days
kale 40-65 days
lettuce 45 days
turnips 50 days
Swiss chard 50 days
cabbage 60-65 days
peas 65 days
broccoli 70 days
carrots 70 days
parsley 70 days

It is worthwhile to plant now, the growing season need not be over. One year, I picked Swiss chard for Thanksgiving dinner.

Since fall days provide less sunlight, its important to plant in a sunny location or plant in containers. Most vegetable plants require six hours of full sun a day.

Last year, I waited until Sept. 8, which was too late for fall harvest, so it became an overwinter garden. Surprisingly, even though it was the coldest winter ever, the spinach survived and grew in the spring. It was the best, sweetest spinach I've ever tasted. I used a roof-shaped wooden frame with a Visqueen tented cover, about 3 feet tall, fitted and weighted down snugly.

Here's an article about planting in the fall for next year.

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