As we are fast approaching August, it is time to start planning for Fall Planting! In a month or so, your vegetable garden will probably be winding down, the tomatoes will be less plentiful, the beans will turn starchy, the zucchini vines will die off. While it may be hard to think about clearing out those beds you worked so tirelessly, soon enough it will be time to plant fall greens, radishes, carrots, etc. As we plan for a Fall planting in our own trial garden at Rohrer Seeds, we are considering which crops have seen their last harvest and which will be tapering off shortly.
We will be choosing which rows to clear out and what we 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. If you are planting in the same beds as your Spring crops there is no need to re-till, just rake up the soil and turn in some compost or another form of organic amendment. Then rotate your crops within the beds - so if you planted tomatoes in the Spring, plant cabbage and other leafy greens in their place this Fall.
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In addition to rotating your crops, you will also want to consider the days to maturity of each crop you are hoping to plant. South Central Pennsylvania sees its first frost in mid-October, so we start planting our Fall crops in July and August for an October harvest. 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 with a long maturity time it is best to start them in trays indoors and transplant into the garden in July. This year we will be trialing peas, cucumbers, and brussel sprouts, so stay tuned for an update!
As always, please feel free to share any Fall planting tips you have discovered!