It may not feel like it, but the clock is ticking quickly toward the first frost of Fall. This means your planting options are much more limited than they are earlier in the season, but there are still many crops that mature quickly and can be planted ahead of frost arriving in your garden. This episode includes a round-up of crops that mature in 40 days or less. We picked 40 days because there are very few crops that can mature in fewer than this many days, but it is still a short enough period (just over a month) that it is easy to plan for and execute even in the waning days of the summer. Consider this your last call for planting and get out there and sow some seeds!
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In this episode, we discuss:
- Short season crops that thrive in the fall
- Growing and harvesting crops for late-summer seeded crops.
Radishes: Radishes can be ready to harvest in as little as 20 days after direct seeding. All radish varieties will grow well in late summer and early fall, and there are also varieties that will only grow reliably in fall conditions, including watermelon radish, daikon, and nero tondo.
Turnips: Turnips are one of the most reliable fall crops. The traditional type is called Purple Top White Globe, which grow wonderfully in the fall.
Mustard Greens: There are seemingly endless varieties of mustard greens to choose from. Varieties we recommend are mizuna, green wave, and minutina, as well as purple-leaved types including purple mizuna, ruby streaks, scarlet frills and red wave. Mustards grow quickly and are also very cold and frost tolerant.
Arugula: Arugula can be ready to harvest in as little as 30 days after seeding. There are many varieties to choose from, and arugula is surprisingly cold tolerant.
Cilantro: Growing cilantro late in the season is the best because it is much slower to bolt and holds a lot longer in the garden than in the spring and summer. It can also survive through frost and makes a great winter crop.
Spinach: probably the most cold hardy, commonly grown salad green. We just did an episode on spinach so I won’t say too much about it here except that it can easily grow to maturity in 40 days, so get planting!
Lettuce Mix: Lettuce mix will germinate and grow better in late summer / early fall conditions and may be able to provide 2 harvests if planted with 40+ days left. It does not survive frost well, so harvest all of your baby lettuce if frosts are imminent.
Baby Beets: Some varieties of beets, like Babybeat, can mature to baby size in 40 days. Any type can be grown as a baby beet if harvested at baby size, they just may not be shaped up. Beets do not tolerate frost well, so harvest all of your crop before the first frost.
Pac Choi: There are many types of Bok choi and some types take 60+ days to mature. However, some baby types can be ready in 30 days; one favorite is Shiro which can be ready in 30 days!
Kohlrabi (Honorable Mention): Technically, kohlrabi takes about 45-50 days to mature, but it grows very well in fall weather and if you don’t mind picking it a little small it is likely to be full size or almost full size within 40 days. Make sure to pick fresh eating types (not storage types); our favorite is the purple type called Kolibri.
Our friends at Seattle Seed Co. carry many of these varieties, so take advantage of your Encyclopedia Botanica Podcast listeners discount by using the code EBPODCAST to get 15% off your order at Seattle Seed Co. anytime!
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