by Kathie Hoyer – August 11, 2020

Right about now, the thought of fall vegetables  –  kale, cabbage, fresh lettuce, spinach and chard –  is as enticing as the dream of cooler weather. The tricky bit is to figure out how to get to that abundant dream while we sweat through the next month and a half. Many seeds struggle to germinate in too much heat, and many gardeners struggle with motivation to keep the seedbeds well-watered. We highly recommend covering sensitive seedlings and new transplants with Micromesh Cloth which provides shade while allowing sufficient light and moisture to get them off to a good start. Thinking ahead, we also recommend Poly Tunnels which will extend your harvesting season through the first frosts.

The secret of a productive fall garden is to spread out the tasks of seeding, planting and transplanting over the next few months. It’s helpful to think of the fall vegetable possibilities as falling into three loose categories, though you’ll notice there is some overlap. Feel free to pick and choose from these lists, experimenting to see what works best in your garden.

Seeds Sown into Warm Soil

Start sowing  at the beginning of August – plant slightly deeper than in spring, seedbed must be kept evenly moist

              • Peas – especially Snow Peas
              • Bush Beans – choose fast maturing varieties
              • Carrots – especially minis
              • Collard Greens and Kale

Seeds Started Indoors/Purchased Transplants

Start seeds inside beginning August 1st and transplant out when second set of true leaves appear
OR
Purchase transplants at Bowood beginning August 24thhere’s the full list.
Remember to check Fresh from the Farm each week as more transplants arrive.

              • Asian Greens, Mustard Greens
              • Endive, Escarole, Radicchio
              • Lettuce – Leaf, Bibb and Romaine
              • Spinach, Swiss Chard, Beet Greens
              • Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower
              • Collard Greens, and Kale
              • Brussels Sprouts

Seeds Sown into Cool Soil

Start sowing at the beginning of September

              • Arugula, Lettuce, and Mache
              • Mizuna and Mustard Greens
              • Turnips, Beets, Radishes

Of course, in addition to planning over time, gardeners need to consider space. If your gardening is currently churning out tomatoes and peppers, beans, cukes and squash you may have to be creative in finding areas to tuck in your fall transplants here and there. If there are empty spots from earlier crops that have been harvested or flowers that have finished blooming, make sure to remove the leftover plants and dig in some compost to give the seeds or transplants a fresh start. Don’t forget that many fall vegetables are quite decorative and can replace summer bloomers in your ornamental beds and containers, adding some needed color up until the time of harvest. Or you may wish to start a container collection of lettuce and greens or perhaps Swiss chard with kale. Our new pointy cabbages and loose-curd cauliflower are unique looking as well as tasty. Lastly, if you like the idea of fall gardening give yourself a reminder to consider succession planting when you design your vegetable beds for next season. More information can be found in Bowood’s Plant Care Tips, under “Vegetable Gardens by Season – Square Foot Garden Guidelines.”