Although it might seem like the season for installing and planting vegetable gardens is coming to a close, you may be surprised to learn that most of the delicious produce you enjoy from a spring garden can again be planted in the fall vegetable garden. Personally, I find the fall temperatures actually produce sweeter roots (carrots and beets, for instance) and more tender greens as the night time temperatures fall and the sun becomes less intense. Now is the time to install and plant the fall garden so you will be feasting on fresh produce long after the heat of the summer passes. The following is a list of some of my favorite fall vegetable selections and when they should be ready to harvest if planted in the next few weeks.
Carrots: Carrots grown in the fall are extra sweet due to cooler temperatures! Plant a variety of colors (orange, red, yellow, white, or purple) for a beautiful harvest. Carrots take an average of 70 days to reach maturity making them available for harvest in early October.
Beets: Similar to carrots, fall beets tend to be sweeter than their spring and summer counterparts. From candy stripe and golden, to the traditional deep red, beets come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Beets take an average of 60 days to reach maturity making them available for harvest in early October
Green Beans: Often considered a summer delicacy, I’ve found that some quick growing varieties of snap green beans can also be planted with success in the fall garden. Snap Green Beans take an average of 50 days to reach maturity making them available for harvest mid-September.
Radishes: Well-known as a popular spring vegetable, a few varieties of radishes are actually better suited to the fall season. My favorite for taste and color is the Watermelon radish, which displays a vibrant pink center when sliced. Depending on variety, radishes can take anywhere from 30 to 60 days to reach maturity, making them available for harvest from early September through October. Some radishes can even withstand a light frost or two, extending their season even further.
Turnips: Similar to radishes, turnips come in many varieties with a few specifically suited to the fall season. The small Japanese turnips are great for eating raw, while storage turnips will last in the fridge for weeks. Turnips can take anywhere from 35 to 55 days to reach maturity, making them available for harvest from early September through October.
Lettuce, Kale, Spinach, and other greens: Leafy greens love the cooler temperatures that fall brings. I like to plant a few different varieties and harvest them at baby size for a homegrown salad mix. Most greens can be harvested after only 30 days, which means they will be available to harvest as early as the beginning of September.
Garlic: A personal favorite, garlic is one of the last things to be planted in the fall. It will stay in the ground all winter, do the most of its growing in the spring, and be ready for harvest in mid-summer of next year.
Written by: Stephanie Jansing.