Mid summer planting for fall harvest
After harvesting early-maturing vegetables such as salad greens, radishes, peas and spinach, gardeners can plant other crops in midsummer for fall harvest. Some root crops, greens and other vegetables can be successfully grown from late June, July or even August plantings. It's important to know the average first frost date in your area, in order to calculate when to plant these late vegetables so they'll mature before being killed by cold weather. Find the average first fall frost dates in your area.
Some vegetables will tolerate a fair amount of frost and keep growing even when temperatures are in the low forties. Others can't tolerate frost and stop growing in cool weather. Bush snap beans, for instance, mature in 45-65 days, but even a light frost (temperatures between 30º and 32ºF) will kill the plants. Kale, on the other hand, takes just as long to mature, but plants continue to grow when temperatures are cool, and can survive cold down to about 20ºF. So cool-season vegetables including kale and others in the cabbage family may be the best choice for mid-summer sowing, because an earlier-than-expected frost won't kill them before they're ready to eat.
Many of the cold-tolerant vegetables actually have better quality when grown in cool weather; it's said that the frost "sweetens" them. Carrots usually taste better after a frost and both broccoli and brussel sprouts withstand hard freezes.
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Posted by Marilyn Renaker at July 22, 2011 12:44 PM