Crops need to be planted early enough to let them reach full maturity before the killing frost arrives. Your exact planting dates are based on your expected first frost date. Planting for a good fall and winter harvest starts 6 to 8 weeks before your first anticipated frost date. Plant these crops in mid July for a fall harvest or later if you want a spring harvest.
Carrots are fall favorite treats. Many people say that the cooler weather improves the taste of carrots. As the temperatures start to get cold an amazing change takes place inside your carrots. The starches in the plants turn to sugars, making winter harvested carrots sweet and delicious. Best carrot to grow in the late summer is Little Finger, they are smaller but have a short maturity date which helps them size up in time for winter.
Radish grow fairly quickly, with most varieties ready for harvest in a 30 days. Plants radish in late July or early August for a tasty fall treat. Juicy and peppery, radishes are a relatively trouble-free vegetable that loves cooler conditions. If you grow them in the heat of summer you shouldn’t be too surprised if your radishes to go to seed and/or become woody. Autumn and Spring conditions are perfect for these tasty and colorful little root veggies. The best way to eat them is raw, in a salad, but they can be very tasty when roasted.
Like Radishes, Spinach doesn’t much care for hot conditions. Turn your back on it in the summer and you can expect it to bolt. Spinach is a great crop to grow because it can be grown in partial shade and produces leaves about 35 days after planting. A little protection with a hoop house or cold frame will give you 6-8 months of harvest. An august planting of spinach with give you a harvest starting in mid October. If you cover the bed with a hoop house or cold frame you can continue to harvest small amounts all winter. Start planting spinach 8 weeks before your first frost. Just like lettuce you can continue to plant up until 2 weeks before your first frost.
Pole beans can be planted as late as the first week of August for a decent fall crop. Beans do not grow well as seedlings or transplants. They are best sowed directly into the ground as a seed. Beans should be sown when the soil temperature is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
This salad staple is an ideal crop for anyone who wants to get as much as they can out of the summer gardening season. Lettuce is fairly hardy, so moderate frost and cold night time temps are really not a big deal. And the biggest difference with fall lettuce is you are not fighting the impending heat of summer which causes tip burn and bitterness. it’s probably fine to use any types when sowing in late August to September. You can start planting fall lettuce 8 weeks from your first frost. With winter varieties, harvest when in a ‘baby’ state for fresh salads.
Though growing the leaves from seed can take up to ten weeks, you can also purchase plant plugs to shorten the growing time. This tip applies to many leafy annual herbs so have a look around your garden center for ideas. Also known as Cilantro.
Onions can be sown directly outside starting in late fall for a late spring harvest. Onions are quite hardy when it comes to colder weather, which makes them perfect for a late summer planting. Look for a spot in your garden with lots of sun where other plants will not get in the way. They also take up very little space so you can grow onions in containers, flower garden borders, or if you have the room plant longer rows in your backyard garden. Make sure the soil is loose, well-drained, and rich in nitrogen. Ideally, use onion sets, and plant them roughly one inch deep and four inches apart. Water them with about one inch of water a week, including rainfall. Pay close attention and always water during a drought, because the onions will appear healthy even if they are too dry.
Winter squash is planted in the summer and then can overwinter for months at a time. Planting pumpkins in July allows them to be ready to carve by Halloween and cooked up for pumpkin pie by Thanksgiving. Squash plants encompass many different subspecies of plants. In the squash family you have cucumbers, zucchini from yellow crookneck to green beauties. Then add in your winter squash like acorn, butternut, and gourds. Don’t forget the many varieties of pumpkins that also fall into this category from Jack O’Lanterns to minis and sugars to Giants. All of these plants are perfect to get into your garden around the 4th of July. Starting squash seeds indoors is an option. You want to begin them 3-4 weeks before the final frost of the season.