It is hard to imagine with tomatoes barely starting to ripen that now is the time to start planning and planting for the 2019 fall garden harvest. The backyard grower, community gardener and urban farmer should plan one season ahead to make sure they maximize harvest in the future. Right now is the time to think about filling the spots in the garden that will open up after the spring and early summer plants are removed.
The goal is to make sure the garden is planted with no bare soil the entire year, including winter. That requires planning. First consider crop rotation. To do this you need to know your vegetable families.
Take this opportunity to make sure that you keep your ground planted at all times. There are a number of short term crops that could go into the garden right now that will allow harvest prior to the frost date:
- Green Beans – can be planted every two weeks for the next month. Choose rapid bush type varieties.
- Peas – Sugar Snaps are 70 days until maturity. Germination can be tricky with hot, baked clay soils.
- Summer Squash/Zucchini – plant now or wait until closer to the end of the month in order to miss cucumber beetles for a fall harvest.
- Swiss Chard – plant now for a fall harvest
- Green Onions – plant now for a fall harvest
- Tomato/Pepper – transplants of short season varieties(if you can still find them locally) are possible right now in case the grower has lost plants due to pest damage. Rotate to another spot in the garden.
- Lettuce – can be planted from seed or transplant. May need shade cloth to protect from heat. Start transplants indoor every two weeks for the next three months for a fall and early winter harvest.
- Brassicas – start indoor transplants of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Asian greens now to transplant outdoors in late August.
- Radish – wait until later in the season to direct seed.
- Beets – can direct seed in the garden now for fall harvest.
- Carrots – can direct seed in the garden now for fall harvest.
- Herbs – start more basil now from seed outdoors for a late summer harvest to pair with fresh tomatoes.
- Cover Crops – keep your garden planted. Summer cover crops like buckwheat can be planted now, plan on your over wintered space.
Think about the spot that you will use for over-wintered spinach production using low tunnels and row cover.
Make sure to address fertility. Did your most recent harvest take out your nutrition? Address that prior to planting the fall garden.