When we’re just now harvesting lettuce, it’s hard to think ahead about what we’ll be harvesting in the weeks ahead after the peas are gone! But now is the time to think about the last crop of veggies for this growing season — and August is the time to get planting.
We may be harvesting those late crops in the snow, but these veggies actually like cooler weather. Colorado is well suited to fall gardening and winter harvest and it can be done successfully almost anywhere. Fall crops are primarily greens and root crops, so they are very well adapted for late season growing.
Space is not an issue
Even though your garden may still be brimming with the veggies you’re still harvesting, there should be room for fall crops. Fall veggies adapt to intensive gardening. They grow well in containers, table top raised beds and raised beds of all kinds — so you can really get a big bang in a small space. Even in your current garden, you can probably find room to add some of veggies.
What to plant
Beets, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, kale and chard can all be planted now. August is the best time to plant arugula, cabbage, endive, spinach and cilantro. And in September, bush peas, radishes, Chinese greens and more spinach and lettuce can be planted.
plants or seeds?
Garden centers are slashing prices on transplants now, so there are some good deals. But be careful what you buy. For example, don’t buy tomatoes; it’s too late to start them for a fall harvest. For transplants, the best options are broccoli and cauliflower. The best thing about most fall crops is that they do well when planted from seed, especially, greens like spinach, lettuces and many herbs. Seeds are still readily available if you don’t already have them.
What about frost and snow?
Fall crops thrive in cool weather and many fall crops are frost tolerant. All these vegetables actually develop their prime flavors when the temperatures are cooler, so getting them germinated now so it’s cooler when they begin to mature is the goal. These crops don’t need a full 8 hours of sun, either.
Protection from elements
There are many ways to protect fall crops, whether in containers, raised beds or even in the ground, that can be put over crops quickly if there’s frost danger and taken off easily to harvest. Use frost blankets, horticultural fabrics, cloches and even old sheets. Don’t use plastic, however.
Becky Garber is member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970-468-0340.