Saturday, July 9, 2011

Planning The Fall Garden

My "St. Patty's bed" will be one of the first areas to receive a fall makeover
I can't believe it is that time already, but I probably should be starting to think about what I'm going to be planting in the fall garden.  Actually, looking at this and referring to the charts in the back of the All New Square Foot Gardening book, I'm actually running a bit behind!  According to that, I should have already started my fall crop of broccoli, since that should be started about 16 weeks before the first frost and we're already nearly 12 weeks until the first expected frost!  Oops.  I guess I really need to get cracking on my plans!

The entire back bed will be available for fall planting
So, I plopped down with some scrap paper yesterday afternoon to put together the Great Fall Garden Plan of 2011...then, after a few drawings and scribbles, realized I was being silly.  Realistically, I'm not going to follow such a plan.  I'll end up doing what I always do--harvest things then look around and say to myself "hmm, what has time to grow in this spot?" and plant whatever I feel Mother Nature will let me get away with growing.

With that in mind, rather than neatly diagrammed illustrations of what will go where when, here is a list of when I can put in what, according to the SFG book (except for the rutabaga, since that isn't included in the book.  I had to get that info off the seed packet).  This is not a complete list, but rather just what I'll be planting.

Could stick something here
Plant: weeks before first frost to plant (deadline for my location):
Broccoli: 16 weeks start seed, transplant out at 9 weeks (getting a late start, transplant by August 1)
Cabbage: 16 weeks start seed, transplant out at 9 weeks (getting a late start, transplant by August 1)
Rutabaga: 13 weeks (getting a late start! Planting today!)
Carrots:  11 weeks (July 18)
Peas:  10 weeks (July 25)
Lettuce:  7 weeks (August 15)
Spinach:  7 weeks (August 15)

The book also gives dates for cauliflower (14 weeks, transplant at 8), beets (8 weeks), and radishes (4 weeks), but I'm not planning on growing any of those.

That broccoli coming out will make lots of room for something else
In addition to planting these things specifically for the fall, I'll still have summer crops coming in.  Tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, zucchini, corn (maybe, not sure when this will be finished), and melons should still be able to be harvested right up to the first frost, maybe even longer if I cover them up on frosty nights--one of the nice things about having small garden beds all over instead of one large garden monster planted in rows!  I should also have green beans, winter squash, and pumpkin that is planted now after the first frost, even without covering them up.  So while it is a little depressing planning for fall already, it is exciting to think about all the great garden produce I still have to come!
With two indeterminate tomato plants, two cucumber plants, and two green pepper plants in this garden box, this will be a high priority area to protect from the first few frosts.  There is already rutabaga growing on one side as part of the fall planting, but the carrots and broccoli being removed soon will open up another 7 square feet of gardening space, which, when gardening as intensively as I do, that's a lot of garden space!  I'm guessing I'll use it for three more broccoli plants (where the carrots are now) and 64 more carrots (where the broccoli is now), but I may very well change my mind!


  1. Great minds think alike. I was just drawing up my fall garden plans yesterday. For me, its always a struggle between taking out plants that are almost done but still producing something.

  2. This will be my first time trying a fall garden. Hopefully, it will be able to harvest something. Do you prefer to direct sow for fall or do you start indoors, first?

  3. The things that I indicated a transplant date for will be started indoors, but everything else will be direct sow.

  4. I'm hoping, hoping to be in our new house in time for at LEAST a fall garden. I have 24 pots with tomatoes, but they're all very little (healthy as all get-out, though, and finally flowering). I don't know how many fresh tomatoes we will get from them. Other than that... I wasn't able to do any planting this summer. Fall is my real hope. I want to plant fall carrots, beets, cabbage, and maybe some lettuces. If the autumn weather cooperates (and in New England, that's anyone's guess), I might get quite a bit of veggies, yet. I'm sad to have missed out on my green beans, though. :(

  5. Do you think it would be too late to plant zucchini for the year? We had crazy rains this spring and the ground was always too sodden to plant in, but now it's ready to take seeds.

  6. Probably depends on where you live. Check the seed packet to see how long it takes to mature and compare that with when your first frost date it.