Just when you thought it was safe to sit back and watch the tomatoes ripen, it’s time to start planning and planting your fall garden.
While some fast-maturing summer crops can still be planted–I’m thinking beans and basil, summer squash and cukes–you’ll want to start thinking about what you want to have quantities of for winter use. Of course you already planted your winter squash, leeks, and onions, but there’s so much more to be done!
My fall garden line-up includes some big yellow beets, storage types of carrots (Chantenay types that do best in our heavy soil are also the best keepers), rutabagas, daikon radishes, and mustard greens mixes. I’ve already got in the kale (some people plant this in spring–I don’t have room at that point), and I sowed a little bulb fennel the other day as well.
I’ve also started soaking flats for fall cabbages–one for a red ballhead and another for a green arrowhead. I’d thought I had seed for a big keeper variety like “Late Flat Dutch,” but that must’ve been my imagination.
My cue for starting fall crops is when we start getting a little rain again after our early-July drought (we’re getting a lovely soaking as I type this). That makes it a little easier to keep things moist.
Carrots take quite awhile to germinate, too, so I usually strew my fall carrot beds with a very light covering of straw to keep in a little moisture. Cover all the radishes and brassicas with row cover to discourage the cabbage moths and flea beetles that so like to munch on those crops.
We’ll likely still have some “dog days” in August, but September comes quick, and then the frosts. Get on that fall garden planning!