You can enjoy favorites like snow peas late into the fall with a second late summer planting!
You can enjoy favorites like snow peas late into the fall with a second late summer planting!

So much emphasis is given every year to getting the garden in throughout the spring and early summer – that sometimes we forget that many crops can be planted again in the late summer.

Almost all of the crops that do well in the cooler seasons of early spring and summer can once again thrive in late summer and fall – giving you a chance to enjoy even more fresh veggies before the proverbial snow starts to fly.

Better yet, with the warmer soil temperatures in late summer – all of the plantings can be done through direct sowing of seeds.  That means for just a few dollars – you can enjoy mounds and mounds of fresh vegetables!

Clearing And Preparing Space In The Garden:

Radishes are a great fall crop - maturing in as little as 18 to 21 days!
Radishes are a great fall crop – maturing in as little as 18 to 21 days!

As many of your early season plants such as peas, cucumbers, zucchini or cabbage are harvested – it is a great time to clear them out and prepare the space for planting a second round of crops.  We simply pull up our expired plants – chop them up and add them into our compost bins.

If you missed planting anything at all early in the year – here is your chance to still have a garden!

Add Some Compost And Rejuvenate Your Soil:

Compost is a great way to rejuvenate the soil for a late summer crop
Compost is a great way to rejuvenate the soil for a late summer crop

This is a step that many forget to take when planting successive crops within the same season.  Remember that your soil just spent the last few months giving back some of its nutrients to your first round of crops, so it is important to rejuvenate the soil with a little compost to provide a boost for your fall crop.  We like to work in an inch or two to the soil, and then add a little more into the planting rows when we sow our seeds.

When And What To Plant:

Green onions are another great late season crop
Green onions are another great late season crop
Planting in late summer can keep you in fresh salads late into the year!
Planting in late summer can keep you in fresh salads late into the year!

Although it is a little late to plant a new round of long maturing crops like corn or tomatoes – late summer can be a great time to get in a few more rounds of your favorite cool weather crops such as sugar snap peas, lettuce, kale, green onions, radishes, carrots and even green beans.

Late summer planting has a lot of advantages over early spring planting for cool loving crops.  For one, the soil is already warm, so your seeds will germinate much faster, without the worries of your seed rotting in the overly cool and sometimes all too wet spring.

Here in Ohio – we start to sow our crops in late July / Early August – allowing the plants to come up through the soil and mature in the cooler temperatures of late August and September.  In many cases, like with our snow peas – we will sow two separate crops about 10 days apart to enjoy two extra crops.

Fall Care:

Clear all of your debris from the garden before winter - and plant a cover crop like annual rye to build back nutrients and keep back weeds!
Clear all of plant debris from the garden before winter – and plant a cover crop like annual rye to build back nutrients and keep back weeds next year!

It is important, as it is with all crops, to make sure to remove all the plants and foliage from the garden once your late season crops are finished.  Why? Allowing any of your vegetable plant material to over-winter is an open invitation to insects, pests and plant diseases to become established in your garden and soil.  So make sure to clear that space!  Better yet – once those garden crops are complete – sow in a great fall cover crop (See How To Plant Cover Crops) to rejuvenate that soil for a great garden next year!

So get planning and planting on those fall seed crops now – and you will be rewarded with some in-season fall vegetables to enjoy!

Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary

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