The Fall Garden Cometh

KevinUncategorized9 Comments

As I’ve watched and listened to fellow local gardening folks, I’ve been a bit surprised at how early in the season folks are packing it in. It’s made me consider my own rhythm, and I realized a few things. Mid-September usually is the end of the summer crops – the tomatoes, squash, beans, and anything else that’s sensitive to frost. This year, frost hasn’t reared its head here in the city yet. Summer’s still on like donky kong. The turning point for me is frost, as for many others, but that far from heralds the end of the season, but instead the beginning of the shoulder season – the fall garden.

The fall garden is an abundant one. Sure the tomatoes, basil, squash, and finicky plants go to mush at first freeze, but I seem to have an arsenal of frost hardy, even frost loving veg. It seems to be the majority. Brassicas don’t mind frost, some love it. Some are even hardcore, like kale, happy to freeze solid, or take a foot of snow. So brocooli shoots, red cabbage, savoy cabbage, tuscan kale, red russian kale, collards, rutabagas, and brussel sprouts aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Most other root veg don’t care about frost either – so my multitude of varieties of carrots, parsnips, beets, potatoes, and so on will be fine for a good while. And although the allium like onions and garlic are harvested and ready to be planted again, the leeks stand like an army of awesomness to be reckoned with, and will well into the deep freeze.

So frost is only the end of the summer garden. The fall garden is just as exciting for different reasons, and extremely prolific and productive. Last year my final harvest from the garden was mid-November, without cold frame protection. This year I have baby peas, spinach, arugula, kale, and carrots growing now. And I have protection ready for them when the cold whallops upside the head arrive. But that time is not now, not yet.

9 Comments on “The Fall Garden Cometh”

  1. ashley

    here is hoping for a long, frost-free fall! we’ve planted some chard, lettuce and spinach that we’re hoping to cover with a cold frame when the time comes.
    out of curiosity, how did you grow your lovely cabbage and not have it attacked?

  2. Kevin

    Ashley – I grew 5 types of cabbage, and the bugs preferred 2-3 others, savoy the least. They were all damaged to some extent, far from perfect – thankfully that’s not my objective. ;)

  3. Greg

    Yeah, and so many Farmers’ Markets end on Labour Day, which surely compels market growers to plan according to that annual benchmark … which, as the seasons shift around irrespective of our contrived calendar system, has little to do with actual growing conditions, not to mention regionally.

    We’ve gotten our frost, here by Riding Mtn Nat’l Park, and it has stayed cold and wet since (this week). I got our susceptible veggies in but have a selection of things still out there, much like your list (but shorter… you’re a dynamo!). Do you save seeds? We’re making that a major priority starting this year and it is feeling like a brilliant practice, bringing the gardening seasons full-circle.

  4. Diana

    I harvest my parsnips in spring when there is nothing else fresh from the garden. I usually still have them when the asparagus start. I cover some with a comforter (bags) of leaves so that I can dig them up Christmas time. D.

  5. Annette

    Just wondering when you planted your greens, cabbages and peas to have a successful fall garden?

  6. Debra Krause

    i barely got a summer garden, much less a fall one.
    my mother’s garden has more sqfootage than her house, so i do my share of work and get some of the bounty :)
    next yr, will research better and only plant part-shade, not full sun (though my tomatoes did ok), veggies in my backyard. and be organized enough to either have a plot or containers in the front (by the sidewalk O_o) for full sun veggies.
    for now, i’m focused on getting my coldrm finished…

  7. Throwback at Trapper Creek

    Great post and gorgeous cabbage!

    While I lament the end of summer vegetables, I am not going to miss the frenetic pace of putting up those fruits of summer, and look forward to the more casual harvesting of roots and beautiful brassicas over a longer period of time.

  8. Kevin

    Will build cold frames this weekend.

    I am thinking that the frames also elevate CO2 levels around plants further enhancing growth.

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