Last kick at the can for fall vegetables

I start my last major flat of transplants before the middle of July.  These are planted in the garden in early August and mature towards the end of September.  Many of these vegetables will keep their quality, without growing bigger, through into November.  This timing works for me in Southern Ontario at around 45 latitude.  The big factor in the timing is the way in which growth rates are affected by the decreasing light levels.  You want your plants to mature to full size but not to grow past full size and begin to bolt – if I plant one week earlier or later, then either of these scenarios are what happens.  If I plant between the 10-15 of July, I generally find that they grow to be just right (said the little bear!)

I like to start lettuce, endive, kale, beets, and green onions.  Often I will try a few broccoli as well.  Sometimes I have wonderful luck with fall broccoli – with nice heads and side shoots into December.  Multi-plant tranpslants are desribed in detail in the March chapter of my book – for green onions each transplant cell holds 8-10 green onions and is planted out as 1 bunch.  Try to do 1-2 dozen transplant cells of green onions as these will grow into the fall and easily survive the winter.  They are then up and growing in early April and ready to harvest in May – far earlier than any that are seeded indoors in spring.

Other plants that will often survive the winter and provide some early greens are spinach and kale.  I like to direct seed spinach into my garden in early August, again going for a large planting.  The area that my peas occupied is now open and so there is ample room for a second crop of something here.  Try putting a light mulch of straw on half of the spinach plants in late fall and see if these survive better than those that are not mulched.  Kale does not need any special care, it is always a dependable early spring plant in my garden.  If you let it, will go to seed in its second year. sometime in early June.  I have two plants in seed in my garden this year, the seed pods are fully formed right now and will dry over the next month or so.  They can then be harvested and stored – one or two plants allowed to go to seed with provide you with enough seed to last many years – it is one of the easiest seeds to harvest and will maybe get you wanting to learn more.

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