Written by: Deric Stowell and Marge Vorndam
Yes! You can harvest veggies well into the growing year by planting late summer or early fall veggies, according to Deric Stowell.
Deric has been gardening for years since his family grew turnips for cattle on the family dairy farm. It just comes naturally to him to continue that knowledge as a Master Gardener in Pueblo County. He has provided the information on “Fall Garden Planting” from his considerable experience.
Most of our readers have grown spring to summer gardens but we may not be aware that we can continue harvesting well into the fall season. What about harvesting carrots, lettuce and potatoes in October, or even November? Well, it takes some effort but it can work at your locale.
The gardening approach will depend on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map as this effort is tied into the first major frost date in your area. Pueblo City and vicinity is in Zone 5b and has an average first frost date of October 1 to October 10. Locations such as Rye and Beulah can count on September 21 to September 30 frost dates. In Pueblo, the prairie to the East and Pueblo West you will be able to replant in the gardens in which you grew summer veggies. In the higher elevations, represented by Rye and Beulah, you might choose to use a cold frame approach instead to grow more tender vegetables into late winter.
Since you likely have already harvested a summer crop from the area of interest, Deric recommends that you apply a fertilizer such as organic Blood, Bone and Fish Emulsion to replenish the soil from what your previous crop took out. Also, alfalfa pellets obtained at a feed store and mixed into the soil can be a super source of nitrogen.
You can also interplant crops such as clover and buckwheat as a cover crop to enrich and hold your soil in place for the winter.
As far as what to plant, you should plan on short-term crops such as beets, carrots, spinach, potatoes and garlic which can be harvested over fall, past the first frost. Other vegetables that can successfully be planted for fall harvest are radishes, beans, peas, kale, chard, lettuce, endive, parsnips and herbs such as basil and cilantro. Other crops, such as broccoli and cauliflower, can be planted in the fall but not necessarily harvested until early to mid-Spring. A mid-August plant date is the best time to plant vegetables with 60 to 90-day maturity dates. Late August planting will work for short-season crops. Some crops such as kale can be planted in the fall and will grow in the spring.
Advantages of fall planting include less garden pests and diseases to deal with and more success in growing plants that favor cooler temperatures for growth. Happy eating!
For more information on fall gardening, check out Lamp’l, J. September 2, 2016. “What to Plant in a Fall Vegetable Garden. Growing a Greener World.” https://www.growingagreenerworld.com/fall-vegetable-garden/