Start Your Fall Veggie Garden Now

Seed Packages Linda Wiggen Kraft

By Linda Wiggen Kraft
Healthy Planet Green & Growing Editor

Now is the time to plant seeds for your fall vegetable garden. Seeds of arugula, Asian greens, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard greens, peas, radish, spinach, and turnips can all be planted now. Seeds need time to germinate and grow large enough to harvest in the fall, so plant them now. Some fall vegetables can even live through the winter to be harvested in next spring. Seed packages and online websites give information about how many days until harvest and how far apart to plant. Many seeds are grown organically with some seed companies only selling organic seeds. Search online for organic seeds. 

There are many favorites for a fall veggie garden. Arugula “Astro” is heat and cold tolerant, while “Sylvetta” arugula is often perennial in our climate. Tatsoi is a very hardy Asian green that can be used in a salad or cooked. The leaves are mild with a slight mustard taste. Outer leaves can be cut and the plant will continue growing. “Detroit Dark Red” beet is a classic. Along with classic broccolis there are mini broccolis and sprouting broccolis, some are very cold hardy. “Marathon” is a very cold hardy classic broccoli. Chinese cabbage like “Minuet” are ready for harvest in about 50 days. Its leaves are looser than classic cabbage. Carrots come in purple, red, yellow and white along with orange. “Carnival” blend contains seeds of all these colors. Kale comes in greens and purples. “Russian Red” is an heirloom with frilly leaves and red stems. Kohlrabi grows above ground with white and purple round sputnik like spheres. Both are good choices. Lettuce is usually a cool weather crop, but there are some that take more heat. Batavian lettuces like “Nevada” and “Cherokee” will take the heat and are slow to bolt. They also do well in cooler temperatures. Mustard greens grow with purple and green leaves. “Ruby Steaks” is frilly with purple leaves. Peas grow with green, yellow and purple pods. “Golden Sweet” is a yellow pod snow pea. “Easter Egg” is a classic small red radish. “Red Meat” is a mild watermelon type radish. Spinach is often cold hardy and can live over winter with no covering. “Winter Bloomsdale” is considered a winter spinach. Hakurei turnips are a favorite of chefs with their sweet taste. 

Fall veggie seeds can be planted directly into the soil now, with some precautions for too hot weather. The soil temperature, not air temperature, must be below 95 degrees for all the seeds listed above to germinate, except lettuce. Lettuce won’t germinate with soil temperature over 80 degrees. If the soil is too warm, lettuce seeds can be started indoors and planted outside once they are established. Although all these plants need light, shade can cool the soil and help with germination and growing of young plants. For cooler soil, plant seeds near other growing plants that will shade the new seedlings. Another cooling technique is to put garden shade cloth or a thin sheet above the newly planted seeds to provide shade. Shade cloth that shades 50% of the sun works well. It is available online. 

Before planting add some organic granular fertilizer into the soil. Seeds planted outdoors can be placed a little deeper in cooler soil than the recommended depth of planting this time of year, just don’t plant too deep. Make sure the soil stays evenly moist as the seeds germinate and grow. This may mean watering once or twice a day. Plant your seeds now for the sweetness of fall weather and the sweetness of fresh garden vegetables. 

Linda Wiggen Kraft is a landscape designer who creates holistic and organic gardens. She offers Creativity Journeys, Mandala and Nature Journey workshops. More info is at her website and blog: www.CreativityForTheSoul.com Call her at 314 504-4266.