There's no need to say goodbye to your garden just yet! You can extend your growing season by putting in a fall garden. Our summer here in Missouri has been a blessed one with perfect temperatures and much needed rainfall. (Way different than what we got last year, that's for sure!) We hope you're in the midst of a plentiful season too. Together, let's keep those gardens flourishing and the canner running "full steam ahead"!
Many vegetables can be planted right now for a fall crop. Here's our list of ten great varieties we recommend:
1. Bush Beans – Plant these 12 weeks before your first frost.
Suggested varieties: Contender, Blue Lake Bush, Provider, or Jade. Each of these are heavy producers and make beautiful green beans.
2. Beets – Plant these 10-12 weeks before your first frost.
Suggested varieties: Detroit Dark Red, Bull's Blood, or Chioggia. If you prefer a yellow beet, try the Golden Detroit Beet. Don't forget to save those leaves to be used in salads!
3. Broccoli – Plant these seeds 12-14 weeks before your first frost.
Suggested varieties: Waltham 29 has a 90-day maturity date. If you need a variety that matures a little sooner, consider the Green Sprouting Calabrese which takes 70-80 days to mature. Both love the cooler temperatures and will do well in those fall gardens.
4. Carrots – Plant these seeds about 12 weeks before last frost.
Suggested varieties: Scarlet Nantes (my personal favorite) has an earlier maturity date of 65-70 days. The Imperator 158 is another excellent carrot, great for adding to those soups and stews you'll be making once the weather gets colder. If you plant late and need something with a shorter maturity before the first frost hits, consider the Little Finger baby carrot which matures at 55-65 days.
5. Cauliflower – Plant these seeds 16 weeks before first frost.
Suggested variety: Snowball Y Improved. A seasoned gardener recommended to us to grow cauliflower only in the fall. They do better as a fall crop and planting them this time of the year eliminates any bug problems.
6. Cucumbers – Plant these seeds 12-14 weeks before first frost.
Suggested varieties: Marketmore 76, Homemade Pickles (if space is limited), or for something different, try the Lemon Cucumber which is a great fresh eater!
7. Pumpkins – Plant 14-15 weeks before first frost.
Suggested varieties: Connecticut Field (makes great canned pumpkin!), Small Sugar Squash (which is a smaller version of the Connecticut Field), Howden Pumpkin, or the Rouge Vif D'Entampes (Cinderella Squash).
8. Spinach – Plant 8 weeks before the first frost.
Suggested variety: Bloomsdale Long Standing. With all of the healthy benefits that spinach provides, no garden should be without it.
9.Squash – Plant 12-14 weeks before first frost.
Suggested Varieties: Butternut-Waltham, Vegetable Spaghetti Squash (did you know you can grow spaghetti in your garden?), or Delicata Winter Squash.
10. Turnips – Plant 8-10 weeks before first frost.
Suggested variety: Purple Top White Globe. (Turnips are a staple at all of our Thanksgiving Dinners.)
Hope these give you some ideas and inspiration to keep the gardens growing. Wishing you a bountiful fall harvest!