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When to Plant for a Bountiful Fall Harvest

Abt-Harvest-01With July now squarely behind us, and August nearly half over, the chilly grasp of autumn looms on the forefront of our minds. While our builds team has not quite begun building cold frames – though they will be soon – our farmers have been planting in fall crops for weeks!

Are we making you nervous that you are behind schedule? Don’t be! In general, you should be waiting for summer crops to stop producing before pulling them out and replacing them with hardier, fall crops. But if for some reason you are sick of tomatoes and are insistent on maximizing your fall crop yields, our friends at Johnny’s Selected Seeds have created a handy calculator that can help you determine when to plant in for each fall crop. Many of these crops will still do just fine if you haven’t planted in yet, though you will not get quite the same production!

The calculator is based on your average first frost. If you’re unsure about that, check out this easy tool from the Farmer’s Almanac, that considers local topography and micro-climate. For our purposes at GCG, we often split the difference between several weather stations (our own calculations below are based on an average first frost of October 25th). After a few years of gardening in your own space, you will learn to anticipate when the frost will come.

So, when do you plant in your favorite fall crops to maximize yield? Here’s what we recommend if you’re living in the Boston area. If you live outside the Boston area, use the calculator to determine your plant dates.

Beets (DS) 8/13/15
Broccoli (TP) 8/2/15
Brussels Sprouts (TP) 6/27/15
Cabbage, storage (TP) 7/2/15
Cabbage, fresh eating (TP) 7/27/15
Cabbage, Chinese (TP) 8/19/15
Carrots (DS) 7/31/15
Cauliflower (TP) 8/3/15
Celery (TP) 7/9/15
Celeriac (TP) 6/19/15
Collards (TP) 7/29/15
Chicory – Endive, Escarole (TP) 8/26/15
Chicory – Radicchio (TP) 8/6/15
Fennel (DS) 7/9/15
Greens, Asian, full size (DS) 8/18/15
Kale (DS) 7/29/15
Kohlrabi (DS) 8/26/15
Leeks (TP) 7/2/15
Lettuce, baby (DS) 8/28/15
Lettuce, heads (DS) 8/18/15
Onions (DS) 8/6/15
Parsnips (DS) 6/12/15
Peas (DS; frost-sensitive) 7/15/15
Radish, round (DS) 9/19/15
Radish, daikon (DS) 8/21/15
Rutabaga (DS) 7/27/15
Spinach (DS) 9/1/15
Swiss chard, bunching (DS) 8/22/15
Turnips, salad (DS) 9/2/15
Turnips, purple top (DS) 8/22/15

Curious to learn more about all things urban garden-related? Consider purchasing a copy of our book, The Urban Bounty!


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