As we are soon headed into the last week of August, Summer is quickly coming to a close and Fall is being ushered in on the breeze. It is already time to begin garden clean-up to prepare for a Fall planting! At this point in the year your vegetable garden is probably starting to wind down, the tomatoes are less plentiful, the beans have begun to turn starchy, the zucchini vines are dying off. As I plan for a Fall planting in our own trial garden at Rohrer Seeds, I am considering which crops have seen their last harvest and which will be tapering off shortly. I will be choosing which rows to clear out and what I will be planting in their place. An important part of this process is crop rotation, which aids in prevention of plant disease and fungus within your garden. In addition to rotating your crops, you will also want to consider the days to maturity of each crop you are hoping to plant.
As of today, August 18th, we have approximately 67 days before South Central Pennsylvania sees its first frost. This means that any varieties I plant today will need to have a maturity time of 67 days or less, and so on as the days continue to pass. Depending on which zone you are located in, you may experience an extended growing season, which allows you to continue to receive yield into the “Winter”, or you may not have a Fall crop, as some zones experience very early frost. For us, in Zone 6, we plant Fall crops in July and August and harvest through mid-late October. Certain vegetables are known to grow well in the Fall, and some grow even better in the Fall than in the Spring.
Commonly grown Fall crops include lettuce, kale, cabbage, beans, carrots, radishes, turnips, broccoli, spinach, and squash. Peas can also be grown in the Fall, but will not have as productive a yield as a Spring planting. Brussels sprouts are another option as they handle light frost well, but they have a long maturity time, so it is best to start them in trays indoors and transplant into the garden in July. This year I will trial cucumbers, peas, and Brussels Sprouts as Fall crops, so stay tuned for an update! And as always, please feel free to share any Fall planting tips you may have on our Facebook page!