August 17, 2021
If you’ve already harvested greens, tomatoes, carrots and beans that you planted in the spring, it’s time to start sowing plants to harvest this fall. If you’ve never planted a late harvest, think about this: veggies like broccoli can be sown in late summer and some can be harvested even after it snows!
The experts tell us to check your seed packets and plan backwards – and the Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts the first frost will be around September 30 in our zone, so you’ve got just enough time for a few crops.
For some crops, you’ll want to estimate your fall harvest before the first frost since lots of veggies are sensitive to freezing temps. (You can always cover your plants to protect them from a temperature dip to freezing – just remember to allow enough air to reach them, and remove the cover when the mercury rises.)
Give Us a “B”!
Brussels sprouts can be started in the fall and grown through winter into early spring – they love cool weather and can take a little frost. Start from seeds indoors and transplant outside when weather cools, or buy transplants at a nursery like Nick’s Garden Center on Chambers in Aurora.
Beans – pole beans, bush beans – grow quickly and can produce a good-sized harvest up until frost. This makes them perfect for planting at intervals throughout the growing season — even during the heat of summer. Right now, you can sow the seeds right into the soil. For bean-planting, growing and harvesting tips, check out the advice on Harvest to Table
Beets are the perfect crop to plant now and you can sow the seeds directly outdoors, as well (gardener’s tip: pre-soaking seeds will foster germination!). And in the category of “something we just learned” – thanks to Johnny Seeds – as the weather cools, beets get sweeter and colors intensify. Plus, beets are a two-for-one option because the greens are edible – if tough – and are nutrient-packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium and calcium!
Greens…So Good for You!
Other greens, such as kale, spinach and arugula, can be planted in late summer for another fall harvest. These grow fast, from just 45 days for arugula and spinach, to about 60 days for kale. One advantage of greens for the late-season gardener is that they can be harvested as baby greens for a tasty addition to your salad.
Kale has become popular because of its versatility, flavor, and high nutritional content. It’s one of the workhorses of the fall and winter garden: cold tolerant, and in most places can be harvested all winter from beneath snow! Plant a BUNCH of it to ensure a long harvest, as new growth will diminish as the days get shorter in the fall.
Fennel can be grown in spring or fall, but is best in fall because it is less likely to bolt as the weather gets cool. Plant it earlier than beets or kale because it takes longer to mature. It is also less tolerant of frost than many other fall crops, so you should be prepared to cover it with row cover in the event of an early frost.
With 30 days or less to harvest, you can plant radishes in mid-August or even early September for a fall harvest. Radishes like the cooler temperatures and are a good plant to fill in holes in the vegetable garden.
Turnips make a great fall harvest because those grown in late summer and fall actually taste sweeter than those grown in spring. Turnip varieties vary in how long they take to mature, which can range from 35 to 55 days. Another earthy option is kohlrabi, which takes 45 to 60 days to harvest, and has a similar taste to turnips.
So Many Options, At Southshore!
This season, summertime, is such a favorite among the residents at the master-planned community of Southshore, not just because of the spring to fall gardening that goes on here, but also access to Southlands, Aurora Reservoir, and transportation arteries. Check out the many options in floor plans and designs, brand new homes from Taylor Morrison, Century Communities, Richmond American Homes and Toll Brothers. Life at the Lake is neighborly, exclusive and priced between the $400s and the $700s.