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Fall planting

If you haven’t put in your fall plants this is the time to do it.  In some cases you might be a little late but for most fall crops you can still get them in.  Here is my list of what to plant this next month.

Carrots– still have time for the next couple of weeks.  Start them from seed and make sure you keep the seed bed moist until they have germinated.  I plant them thick and then thin out the babies to eat.  My favorites are Scarlet Nantes though there are some hybrids that mature quicker so if you are on the late side of planting look at the days to maturity and go for a short one.

Beets– this is the perfect time to plant beets, they will get a good size and then you can harvest them into winter, just letting them sit in the ground.   I always plant beets from seed, in rows, I try to put the seeds about ½ inch apart and then thin them.  Beet seed is actually a cluster of seed so you will always have to thin some (there are a few new hybrids that are single seeded).   I love Detroit Reds and for fast and uniform I like the hybrid Red Ace.

Cabbage– Wendy talked about cabbage in her last blog.  You want to plant starts now, a little late for seed.  Look for the shorter season ones to get full heads.  The plants need to get fairly large for them to overwinter.  I have had only fifty fifty luck with over wintering cabbage- seems like if it is wet you can lose them to rot and sometimes they just bolt instead of forming heads.  Remember cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower do not like any stress- give them plenty of compost, fertilizer and water.

Broccoli–  There are fall producing types and there are the overwintering types- often called sprouting broccoli.   Know what you are planting, often people plant the sprouting type and watch this giant plant grow all winter and not produce and wonder where the broccoli heads are.  Sprouting types don’t produce until late winter and they produce sprouts all over not a single big head.   I would plant broccoli only from starts for the next month.

Brussel Sprouts– These are the classic fall crop, but they need to get in early if they are to produce well.  Plant starts now and look for short season varieties.  Days to maturity can range from 120 days to 80 days.  They like lots of nutrients and low stress.

Pak Choi, Tatsoi, Chinese Cabbage–  All of these Asian greens love the fall weather,  plant them for the next month.  The smaller ones can be planted from seed, Chinese cabbage might want to be from starts.  I find I have fewer problems with bolting as I have in spring as the days are shortening.

Salad greens– these are the joy of fall- they can be planted for the next two months.  Arugula, mizuna, spinach, mache, and lettuce all do great now and into fall.  I plant all of them except lettuce from seed.  I like to transplant starts of lettuce though you can also plant it as a cutting green.

And of course the crops that will feed you best all fall and winter- kale and chard.  I few plants of each will keep you in greens through the winter.  I always transplant starts of these. Though you can still start these from seed now.

Some other things you can plant now are turnips, cilantro, green onions, radishes, kohlrabi, and fennel.   Remember to give your new plantings some compost and fertilizer and help them through warm spells with lots of water.