July 19 2021

Keep on growing: Second season in the garden

Hot weather crops, such as peppers and tomatoes, are getting ripe and popping up left and right in your garden. In case you were thinking about winding down, think again: You can keep the gardening fun going into fall with cooler-season vegetables and herbs.

You can start seeds now for the following plants, which can be enjoyed through late-summer and into fall:

  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Chives
  • Bush Beans
  • Chard
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach

Fall-grown veggies tend to be sweeter, and you don’t need to worry as much about insects, weeds and watering. Learn more.

Fall produce planting tips

Starting seeds: Be sure to read your seed packets and note the number of days to maturity. Long-season and hot-season crops can be replanted at this time, but plants with 30 to 50 days (6 weeks) to maturity will do well. Additionally, plant your seeds at the right depth and use recommended spacing, which you will find on your seed packet.

The biggest barrier to seed germination in late summer and early fall is keeping soil moist and cool. Warm, dry soil makes it difficult for seeds to germinate. Trying to keep your seeds shaded until they germinate. Emerging seedlings will start to sprout in warm weather so remember to protect them from direct sunlight until they are hardy.

Picking produce: In addition to the vegetables listed above, consider planting:

  • Root crops: Radishes and parsnips
  • Leaf crops: Lettuces and turnip greens
  • Greenery: Cabbage, broccoli and peas
  • Herbs: Perennial herbs such as sage, rosemary and thyme will last until frost. Green onions will have to be cut as they grow.

If you are using a space where you were growing summer veggies, be sure to completely clear the area before you plant seeds. If you are putting in a new bed or growing in containers, add clean compost to the soil.

Second season produce won’t get as big as your summer haul, but they will be just as delicious and good for your health.

Plant care: Fall plants need eight hours of sun per day. Because the days are getting shorter, plant in a location that will allow your garden to receive plenty of sunlight. Water as needed, but remember that with shorter days and cooler nights, there won’t be as much moisture lost to evaporation. Check your plants for mildew caused by over watering.

While you won’t have to worry as much about insects – especially later in the season – be mindful to clear any weeds that pop up.

Help MetroParks feed the community: You can help feed your neighbors by donating extra produce from your garden at MetroParks drop-off sites. Access to Excess, a local nonprofit helping provide access to fresh food, will distribute your donated produce to those who need it most.

Access to Excess Drop Off
2021 Produce Donation Drop Off
New this year: The first 50 gardeners to donate 30 pounds of produce can receive a T-shirt. Those who donate more than 30 pounds or wish to grow with a group will be entered to win additional prizes at the end of the season.
Upon drop off, your name and donation amount will be recorded and kept track of throughout the season.



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