Is it Too Late to Start a Vegetable Garden?
Gardening can be an incredibly rewarding endeavor that pays off in both physical and mental health benefits. But have you ever considered starting a vegetable garden in the late summer or early fall? Is it too late?
No, It’s Not Too Late!
Whether you’re looking to expand an existing garden or start a new one, you can take advantage of the cooling days of late summer and early fall to get your vegetable garden established. It’s actually the perfect time in many areas. Here are some tips:
- Choose vegetables that can withstand cooler weather. Check the seed packet for days-to-harvest – it may be shorter than you think. Leafy greens, such as lettuce, spinach, chard, and kale, can survive autumn’s chill. Peas and broccoli can also tolerate cold temperatures.
- Choose vegetables that mature quickly. Many vegetables can be harvested within a month or two. Radishes and beets are examples. If you don’t have enough time to wait for a full harvest, opt for vegetables with a short growing season.
- Plant in well-drained soil. Plants will have a hard time getting established if the soil is overly wet. Early fall rains can affect the soil quality and make it difficult for plants to drain properly. If needed, add organic matter, such as compost, to improve the soil’s drainage.
- Choose hardy varieties. Some varieties of vegetables are more tolerant than others to cool conditions. Look for heat-tolerant varieties that can withstand some cold. This is particularly important for plants that need long growing seasons, such as tomatoes and squash.
- Plant for succession. Planting multiple crops over a staggered period gives you a longer harvest season and a chance to enjoy the bounty from your garden for a longer period of time. Plant the same vegetable every two weeks for a continuous supply.
The Benefits of Late Summer Planting
Late summer and early fall is a great time to start a vegetable garden. The cooler temperatures are perfect for some vegetables, and you’ll be able to reap the rewards of a bountiful harvest. Plus, you won’t have to fight with the weeds as much and you won’t have as many pest problems.
So go ahead – don’t be discouraged by the late start. With proper planning and the right crops, you can still enjoy a bountiful harvest.