This has been the question this week as gardeners pulled out lettuces and peas that are past prime and wondered how they can utilize the space in their raised beds at Pitney Meadows Community Gardens.
Planting a Fall Garden
Our average first killing frost date (28 degrees) is October 15. But the weather is unpredictable so it is wise to add a buffer and think about the first killing frost as being Oct. 1.
On seed packets, it lists the days to maturity, which enables you to select the vegetables that have enough time to mature before the killing frost.
What can we plant now and in the next month?
We have 12 weeks until Oct. 1. about 80 days
We can direct sow beans, cucumbers, summer squash, Swiss chard, parsnips, rutabagas, cilantro, lettuce, spinach and radishes.
Some seeds are best started indoors now and transplanted outdoors in two weeks. This includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and kohlrabi. Why? Because these seedlings like to start off in cooler soil than what we now have in the gardens.
July 21 – 10 weeks before Oct. 1 – 70 days
Direct sow beets, carrots, collards, leeks and scallions, lettuce and radishes. Start peas indoors and put out in two weeks.
Early August – 8 weeks before Oct. 1 – 56 days
Direct-sow arugula, lettuce, radishes, turnips, spinach, mustard, pac choi, Asian greens.
Mid August – Direct sow spinach, mache, Swiss chard. – 42 days
You can extend the season with a row covers in the fall. So there’s plenty of time to grow many more vegetables.
Just remember that seedlings need lots of attention. The roots are small and you will need to water frequently until they are established.
Columbus Day weekend – plant garlic and shallots.