Planting Fall Vegetables

Gardening has for some folks (including me at first) just two seasons of growing vegetables spring and summer when there are actually 4 seasons, spring, summer, fall, and, winter. Many gardeners seem to have a misconception that it is difficult to plant vegetables in the fall. In actuality it is fairly easy!

There are two things to remember.

  1. The frost date: For fall planting you will require a little planning. There are two key items you need to know; firstly you will need your fall frost date for your area. For my area in Wellesley Ontario the first frost date is September 30th. The calculation of frost is based upon a 33% probability. Your date will change based upon the location you live in.
  2. Maturity dates: The second key item is know the maturity date of the vegetable you going to plant. Let’s use for example Kohl Rabi, they are great to use for a fall planting. As you look at your seed package the maturity date to harvest is 60 days. Now that we know both the first fall frost date and the seed maturity days to harvest we will work backwards to determine our date for sowing seeds for our fall harvest. The approx. date would be around August 1st. I would add another week or 2 because of the fact that the sun will rise and set later during the month of Sept.

An example: On July 27th in Kitchener the daylight hours range from 6:06am-8:49pm as compared to much less daylight hours on Sept 27th from 7:13am-7:11pm,hence the reason to tack another week or so on the sowing timetable to ensure a successful harvest. As we know it can be still warm at the end of July going into August it might be good idea to plant the Kohl Rabi (or any cool weather root vegetable) beside a taller plant such as tomatoes which would cast some shade to the cool loving Kohl Rabi and give some heat relief to the cool loving plant.

Like other cole crops, Kohl Rabi is somewhat tolerant of frosts and cold weather. To protect your fall crop from frost and extend your season you may want to use a floating row cover. Here is a list of easy to grow fall plants – Swiss Chard, peas, lettuce, green onions, onions, endive, arugula, kale, radishes and carrots.

See, now, wasn’t that easy! Happy Fall Planting Everyone!!

Submitted by Marty Schwende