For most of my gardening life, fall wasn’t a time to harvest; it was the time to clean up the vegetable garden and prepare it for the winter.
While I still prepare the garden for winter, that’s now become a job for mid to late November. Up until that time, I’m still harvesting from the garden. Over the past 10 years, I’ve been focusing more and more on growing a fall vegetable garden.
In July and August, as space opens up in the garden, I think about what can be planted to harvest in the fall. I’ll admit it does take some planning. Storage cabbage has to be sown by the middle of July; other vegetables are planted in August. And then there’s the challenge of getting seeds to germinate in the summer when the soil is warm and dry.
But the benefits of planning a fall garden are worth it. Right now I can harvest a plethora of crops: beets, carrots, chard, collards, kale, lettuce, boc choy, endive, snap peas, spinach and parsley as well as some remaining tomatoes and peppers. Yes, a lot of these fall crops are greens but like a lot of people, while I neither grew or ate greens in the past, I’ve learned to love them. There’s also something very satisfying to be able to harvest home-grown vegetables from April until the end of October. (I’m looking to try a few season extending tricks this year in the hope of expanding that harvest window an additional month or two.)
The days are getting shorter. The nights are getting cooler. Fall is in the air. But in the vegetable garden, things are still going strong!