(Natural News) For most gardeners, midsummer is the time to harvest crops sown in spring, such as berries and tomatoes. But you can also plant crops in midsummer for a fall harvest. The secret to an abundant fall garden is planting fast-growing crops now while the soil is still warm. Warm summer soil allows seeds to germinate quickly.
You also don’t have to worry about seedlings rotting away in damp, cool soil or dying from a hard freeze. Also, many of the pests that come out in spring, such as cutworms and slugs, aren’t as active in midsummer, too.
Here are six vegetables you can plant now for an abundant fall harvest later:
- Cucumber – Cucumber seeds sprout quickly in warm soil and air temperatures. Drop about three seeds in groups every 12 to 14 inches in a row. Cover with an inch of fine soil but don’t pack them in. Provide a trellis to support the plants as they grow. Cucumbers should be ready to harvest 50 days after planting.
- Green beans – When planted in spring, green beans begin to fade by mid to late July. By planting them in midsummer, you can harvest them just as fall settles in. Bush-type green beans take less time to produce beans than pole varieties, maturing after just 60 days. They also take up less space in the garden.
- Green leafy vegetables – Kale, cabbage and other cool-season green leafy vegetables are ideal for midsummer growing. They germinate and grow quickly, with some varieties maturing 25 to 30 days after planting.
- Green onions – This fast-growing crop is ideal for midsummer growing. It’s best to grow them from pea-sized bulblets. They’ll be ready to harvest after three to four weeks. Pull out the whole plant to harvest. The part that grows below the ground should not have formed a bulb yet.
- Radish – Depending on the variety, radishes can take anywhere between 28 to 72 days to mature. Radishes can be planted every few weeks from August to September for a steady supply just before the first hard freeze.
- Peas – Like beans, peas come in both bush-type and climbing varieties. Bush-type peas mature faster and take up less space than climbing ones. Most varieties are ready to harvest 60 days after planting.
Tips for new gardeners
Keep the following tips in mind if you’re planting vegetables in midsummer for the first time:
- Start with a small space. Start small if you’re new to gardening so you don’t get frustrated by the amount of work that goes into maintaining a big one. A good size for a beginner’s garden is six by six feet. You can grow up to five types of vegetables in that space. You can also grow vegetables in containers.
- Choose a sunny spot with water access. Plants need two main things every day: sunlight and water. Make sure your garden gets plenty of sunlight. It will also be easier to water your plants if the garden is near an outdoor water spout, well or other sources of water.
- Plan the garden’s layout. Plan the arrangement of crops in the garden by sketching a map of the area showing the location of each crop, the spacing between rows and the approximate planting and harvesting dates for each crop.
- Use fertile soil. For optimal plant growth, use rich, well-draining soil. If your soil isn’t fertile enough, enrich it by incorporating organic material like compost or well-rotted livestock manure into it. (Related: Home gardening hacks: 7 Household items you can use as fertilizer.)
- Prepare for weeds and pests. Mulch around plants to prevent weed growth. When pulling out weeds, make sure to remove the entire weed, including the roots. Erect fences around the garden to keep out small, burrowing critters like rabbits. For large insects, you can either pick them off by hand or spray them with homemade pesticides.
You don’t have to wait for spring to start growing food again. You can plant peas, green onions or radishes now for a bountiful fall harvest later.
Go to HomeGardeningNews.com for more tips on growing different vegetables.