Keep your garden producing into fall by planting a last round of fast-growing vegetables now. Whether you garden on a balcony or in long rows, bok choy, lettuce, radishes, turnips and spinach quickly grow bountiful crops with fresh fall flavor.
As you renovate space for new plantings, use a digging fork to mix in a 2-inch-layer of compost along with a light application of a balanced organic fertilizer. After the seeds are planted and gently patted into place, moisten the bed with a light spray of water.
Seeds planted in warm weather need a little help to thrive. First, cover the seeded beds with a lightweight cloth or row cover to keep the soil moist and cooler between waterings. Next, place pieces of scrap lumber alongside seeded rows to block evaporation and provide shelter from drying winds.
Five Quick Crops To Grow This Fall:
- Bok choy’s dainty looks are deceiving because the seeds germinate right away, and the pest-resistant plants quickly bulk up with crunchy, spoon-shaped leaves. Bok choy grown in spring often bolts before it reaches full size, but fall-grown plants last much longer in the garden.
- Lettuce loves growing in cool fall soil, but it can be difficult to get the seeds to germinate under hot conditions. Start seeds in cooler temps indoors and set the seedlings out during a period of cloudy weather. Purchased seedlings transplant easily, especially if you shade the seedlings with an upturned flowerpot for two days after they are set out. All types of lettuce are worth trying in the fall, and it is the best season for stately romaine types, which become big, sweet and crisp as nights get colder.
- Radishes are easier to grow in fall than in spring because fall radishes are much less likely to bolt. In addition to colorful salad radishes, consider trying carrot-shaped daikon radishes as a fall crop.
- Turnips are a perfect match for fall growing conditions, and fast-growing salad turnips plump up only a few weeks after sowing. You can grow turnips for their nutritious greens, too, which become tenderer after they have been exposed to a light frost.
- Spinach loves fall growing conditions. You can improve seed germination by soaking the seeds in water overnight and then allowing them to dry on paper towels for a few hours before planting them. Whether purchased or started indoors, spinach seedlings transplant easily provided they are kept shaded and moist for a few days after planting.
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