By midsummer, many gardeners have hung up their trowels and are resting on the harvests of what’s been planted. The tomatoes and summer squashes are coming in in such abundance that it feels like the bounty will never run dry. Maybe the okra has started putting out delicious pods, the sugar peas are giving daily, and the cucumber vine has taken over a trellis. The garden is rocking.
However, in just a couple of short months, those veggies will be bowing out as the frost comes in, and the summer well will be running dry. Fortunately, for those into eating fresh as much and as long as possible, there is a solution: Pick up that trowel and do some mid-to-late summer planting for an awesome fall harvest. There’s still plenty of tasty things to be grown!
- Autumn/Winter squash doesn’t like the frost either, but if planted in the summer, they can be stored throughout the fall and into the winter for warming soup and roasted goodness. They are delicious and come in great varieties.
- Pumpkins, not unlike squashes, will see their plants die off when the frost comes, but because of those hard shells, they can remain in the field into the autumn. Pumpkins provide a lot of food, and they also have highly nutritious seeds.
- Green beans grow quickly and give a lot of food to enjoy. In most US locations, late summer is not too late to put some in the ground and get an early autumn harvest. No one regrets a few extra plates of fresh green beans, and of course, they can be frozen or canned for later.
- Peas fresh from the garden are something many people relish, but they are often forgotten because they don’t like the heat of July. However, planting them in the late summer will mean they germinate in the warmth but mature in the cool. That’s perfect.
- Collards are exceptional and too often overlooked outside of the South. They are fantastic cooked down atop a little coconut oil or sautéed in stir-fries, and they are packed with vitamins. They are best to eat after a frost has hit.
- Lettuce doesn’t like it to be hot outside, so they are great for planting in the late summer. Most will endure early frosts and continue to produce into the autumn. If protected with a cold frame, some varieties might even last longer.
- Kale is actually a biennial vegetable, meant to grow over two seasons. This makes it an excellent crop to plant in the late summer and keep through the winter. It won’t grow much when it gets cold, but the leaves will remain fresh and tasty.
- Chard is yet another green that stands up to frosty temperatures. It’s not quite as hardy as kale, but it’ll last into the winter if given a little protection. Plus, it is actually one of those vegetables that can be planted throughout the growing season, as it tolerates a wide range of temperatures.
- Broccoli is a winter warrior. It can withstand frosts and even snow and keep on giving. Fall broccoli is actually the best broccoli, as the frosty months give it a different flavor, while summer heat makes it bolt. And, after the large head is harvested, leave the plant in place as it will continue producing smaller shoots to harvest.
- Cauliflower has become a favorite for plant-based eaters looking to do buffalo “wings” or picatta. It provides a really nice texture for some of the saucy dishes usually associated with meat.
- Brussels sprouts are a holiday classic, and that, of course, is because they are planted in the summer and harvested right around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Plus, they are just a cool-looking vegetable for the cool-temperature garden.
- Kohlrabi, like chard, is pretty good at growing in a wide range of temperatures. It also provides a crisp, raw crunch that feels great when meals seem to have transitioned to lots of cooked stuff. They mature quickly (just over two months), so they’ll be great in the fall.
- Turnips are great utility vegetables that fill the stomach and can chip in on mixed vegetables roasts, creamy soups, and hearty stews. They are easy to grow and taste great. That alone earns them a spot in the fall garden.
- Parsnips are an unutilized root vegetable in the US. They look somewhat like rotund carrots, if carrots were white. The frost improves their flavor, and they’ll store well in the root cellar. They are fantastic roasted.
- Beets contribute a flash of color, a lot of valuable vitamins, and something oh-so-sweet on the plate. They grow easily and deal with the cold. The greens are edible as well. They make for a great fall veggie.
- Radishes reach maturity in about a month, which means they should just be planted and harvested throughout the growing season. As for the fall, they tolerate the early, easy frosts. They are a delightful raw component to have with salads or as pickles.
To put it mildly, the end of the summer vegetables hardly has to mean the end of the garden. For those keen to keep eating fresh into the fall, late summer is the perfect time to get these veggies going and extend the harvest for months to come.
Lead Image Source: Pixabay