Plant a Garden for Fall

By Crystal Stevens

August just might be the hottest month of the year in the Midwest. Don’t let that deter you from planting a fall garden. There is still time to have fresh homegrown produce for fall. Most fall crops are started from seed in May, June and July. In August, if you haven’t already started seeds for fall, it is best to buy established plant starts. Most nurseries around town sell plant starts for fall gardening.

The following plant starts can be planted now for a late fall harvest: Tomatoes, peppers, scallions, squash, cucumber, broccoli, cabbage, kale, chard, lettuce, spinach, and pumpkins.

The following greens do well when planted now from seed for fall: spinach, kale, chard and lettuce.

The following root crops can be planted now for a late fall harvest: carrots, beets and turnips.
Radishes can be planted now as well and are typically ready to harvest in 30 days.

What to plant for next year:
Garlic can be planted in late October of this year to be ready for early July Harvest.
Carrots and spinach can also be planted in October for an early spring harvest next year.
Perennial herbs can be planted now.

The following annual herbs can still be planted to enjoy in late summer/early fall: parsley (actually a biennial), cilantro, basil and dill.
Because of the hot weather in August, be sure to either use drip irrigation, or water regularly.

Pallets make excellent garden beds.
Straw bales work well to mulch vegetable crops.

Sheet mulching, or lasagna gardening is an excellent way to keep your garden bed weed free. Sheet mulching is essentially layering compost, leaf mulch, grass clippings, newspaper, more compost, and straw or mulch around each of your garden plants to help suppress weeds, add nutrients and retain moisture.

Compost is a gardener’s best friend! A simple compost bin can be made using reclaimed materials such as pallets or an old wire fence panel.

Crystal Stevens is a regular contributor to The Healthy Planet and a farmer with her husband Eric and children at La Vista CSA Farm in Godfrey, Illinois.