For An Extraordinary Fall & Winter Garden –
7 Vegetables That Must Be
Planted In August 2019
The Second Season has begun! We talked briefly about 7 flowers that must be planted in August in our last newsletter. Now let’s begin a discussion of vegetables that must be planted in August.
FIRST, some of our newsletter topics are now available on YouTube. We will include a YouTube link whenever there is a YouTube video from Harvesting History that relates to a subject in the newsletter.
The Second Gardening Season for most vegetable gardeners throughout theUS begins at the end of June or early July. It is the time to plant cold tolerant crops that will flourish in the cool autumn nights.
Unlike planting in the spring where each day is growing longer, planting in mid-summer and fall must take into account that each day is growing shorter. This means that it takes longer for a plant to mature.
The “Rule of Thumb” for mid-summer/fall planting is to add 2 weeks (14 days) to the time to maturity. If you are planting in containers or raised beds you should not add 14 days tothe time to maturity.
Most vegetables and flowers when planted in containers or raised beds mature more quickly.
You also need to be aware of frost dates. Many vegetables like beets, broccoli, kale, Swiss chard, turnips, rutabaga, etc. improve in flavor when exposed to frosts, but many vegetables are destroyed with exposure to frost.
Also once the ground freezes it is impossible to harvest root vegetables – so keep this in mind. Mulching heavily with straw will prevent the ground from freezing for a while and will allow you to extend your fall harvest for several weeks.
The ‘Second Season’ garden is every bit as exciting and rewarding as your spring garden. It just comes with a whole different set of challenges and rewards. You will find that weeding is not as much of an issue, bugs are not as much of an issue and watering is not as much of an issue, but a freak early frost can destroy all of your hard work.
However, if you want to be a gardener, then you need to be a ‘Second Season’ gardener as well.
Kale and Collards are probably the earliest cultivated variations of theEuropean wild cabbage. Kale is known to have been widely grown by both the Greeks and the Romans.
Kale, also known as Borecole, is a non-heading, leafy green that is among the most cold-hardy vegetables grown. Kale’s sweet flavor is substantially enhanced when the plant is exposed to several hard frosts. The more frosts that it is exposed to, the sweeter it gets. Kale, fresh from the garden, is an entirely different vegetable than the produce you get at the grocery store.
Kale is an extraordinarily nutritious vegetable. The leaves contain lots of calcium and potassium and are rich in the Vitamins A and C.
All the kales take approximately 75 days to mature in the fall, so in Zones 1-3, plant seeds in early July. In Zones 4-5, plant in late July to early August, and in Zones 6-7, plant in mid to late August.
In Hardiness Zones 8 and above, kale should not be planted until October, and since you rarely see frost in these zones, add a little lime to the soil before planting to get the sweetness.
In Hardiness Zones 5-10, kale can usually be harvested throughout the winter.
Kale is incredibly easy to grow from seed. Turn your garden soil, rake it smooth and then take your finger and draw a line in the soil approximately 1 inch deep. Sprinkle the seed along the line and cover with soil. Soak the soil and keep it moist until germination occurs which will happen in approximately 7-10 days in the summer. Once the seedlings are 2 inches high, thin to 6 inches apart. Fertilize with a high nitrogen fertilizer every two weeks for six weeks (3 applications).
Dinosaur Kale, AKA Lacinato Kale, Tuscan Kale or Black Palm Tree Cabbage is an Italian heirloom.
This kale is probably the ‘Cavolo Nero’ described by the great French seedhouse, Vilmorin-Andrieux, in 1885. Italian immigrants brought Lacinato to the US in the mid to late 1800s.
It is a truly exceptional green, with a sweet, mild flavor. The plant grows to approximately 2 feet and is topped with 10-12 inch long, frond-like leaves (hence the name Black Palm Tree). At a distance the leaves are so darkgreen that they appear to be black. The leaves are deeply savoyed.
One of the many remarkable characteristics about this kale is that it is extremely heat and cold tolerant.
It can be eaten fresh, slightly wilted, sautéed or boiled with corned beef. It is a delicious, hardy, attractive vegetable which displays vigorous growthin many American climates.
Dwarf Siberian and Vates Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch are the ‘curly kales”. Tome, they look like cousins with one being blue (Vates) and one being green (Siberian). Both date back to the 1800s and neither is what I would call “dwarf”. The plants average 12 inches in height.
Siberian probably made its way from Russia to Europe to the United States during the 1700s to 1800s, but little is known and less is verifiable when itcomes to this vegetable.
Though many of us only know kale when it is boiled with ham, this vegetable actually tastes better when its flavor is not hidden behind the flavor of meat. Kale leaves are so thick and strong that they can replace lasagna noodles to make a great vegetarian lasagna.
Kale is delicious sautéed in olive oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, etc. with garlic and a little salt and pepper. Cooked this way, it can be ‘wilted’ orfried crisp. Either way, any way, it is a sumptuous side dish.
If you are considering planting for a fall and early winter vegetable crop, and you have never done Second Season planting, then I would suggest that you start with beets. They are one of the easiest to grow Second Season crops there is. They are also truly one of the most rewarding crops you will ever plant.
Detroit Dark Red, though it is not the oldest beet still in cultivation, is the Grand Old Man of beets. This beet has an interesting ‘introduction’ history. The beet was developed from a very popular French variety known as European Early Blood and in 1892 was introduced into the United States by at least three different seedhouses all at the same time.
Detroit Dark Red became an overnight success because of its great flavor and its resistance to mildew.
Detroit Dark Red takes about 70 days to mature in the fall. In the spring it takes 55 days. It will get woody if left in the ground too long, but like other beets it can be stored in slightly damp sand in a cool area for several months.
For a fall crop, in Zones 1-4, beets should be planted from July 15-August 15, in Zones 5-7 beets should be planted from July 15-August 31, in Zones 8-10 beets should be planted from October 15-November 15. Beets, like kale, are incredibly easy to grow from seed. Turn your garden soil, rake it smooth and then take your finger and draw a line in the soil approximately 1 inch deep. Sprinkle the seed along the line and cover with soil. Soak the soil and keep it moist until germination occurs which will happen in approximately 10-14 days in the summer. Once the seedlings are 2 inches high, thin to 3-4 inches apart. Fertilize with a high phosphorus fertilizer every two weeks for six weeks (3 applications).
It is incredible to realize that the Detroit Dark Red Beet is 126 years old, and IT IS STILL THE MOST POPULAR BEET VARIETY SOLD TODAY. This is truly one outstanding heirloom!!
Leeks are great vegetables to plant in the fall from Hardiness Zone 3 to Hardiness Zone 10. In the colder Hardiness Zones 3-6, plant leek seeds in late August or September. Leeks are easy to grow from seed. Turn your garden soil, rake it smooth and then take your finger and draw a line in the soil approximately 1 inch deep. Sprinkle the seed along the line and cover with soil. Soak the soil and keep it moist until germination occurs which will happen in approximately 7-10 days in the summer. Once the seedlings are 2 inches high, thin to 3 inches apart. Fertilize with a high phosphorus and potassium fertilizer every two weeks for six weeks (3 applications).
They will sprout looking like a line of straggly onion greens and then with the winter cold, the plants will die completely back.
In the spring, slightly stronger, but still scraggly greens will emerge from the soil, but then they will take off and grow into beautiful, strong, stately leek stalks.
Be sure to thin the seedlings in the fall leaving about 3 inches between plants. You can begin to harvest leeks that were planted from seed this August in July of 2020.
In Zones 7-10, plant the seeds no earlier than mid-October. They will sprout and grow into leeks maturing in late February or early March (Leeks take about 130 days to mature.). You should definitely harvest by mid-March because they will become woody and unpleasant if left in the ground longer.
Leeks are delicious in soups, salads and stews and as a mild replacement for onions in sauces.
Connoisseurs prefer leeks with long white bottoms. To achieve this effect, you need to cover the bottom half of the plant with mounded soil or straw to keep the sun from turning the plant green.
I don’t care about the whiteness of my leeks. I love them any way they comeout of the soil.
The Swiss Chards are all ideal candidates for late summer or fall planting. They take approximately 2 months and 2 weeks to mature so in Hardiness Zones 1-3, seeds must be planted within the next 3 weeks.
In Hardiness Zones 4-6, the mature plants will be ready to harvest by lateOctober or early November if seeds are planted in August. Sprouts can be harvested when they are 3 weeks old.
In Hardiness Zones 7-10, plant Swiss Chard no earlier than late October for a December through February harvest.
Like all of the vegetables discussed in this newsletter, the Swiss Chards are easy to grow from seed. Turn your garden soil, rake it smooth and then take your finger and draw a line in the soil approximately 1 inch deep. Sprinkle the seed along the line and cover with soil. Soak the soil and keep it moist until germination occurs which will happen in approximately 7-10 days inthe summer. Once the seedlings are 2 inches high, thin to 3-4 inches apart. Fertilize with a high nitrogen fertilizer every two weeks for six weeks(3 applications).
The Chards are not very frost sensitive. They can tolerate all but the hardest frosts, and sometimes the flavor improves with exposure to mild frosts.
Some people confuse the variety known as Rhubarb Ruby Red with Rhubarb-the plant. They are not related at all.
Rhubarb Ruby Red was first introduced in 1857. Its flavor is milder than other chards, and its stalks are tender and quite juicy.
Swiss Chard Rhubarb Ruby Red can be a delightful addition to the fall garden with its strikingly red ribs and its deeply savoyed dark green leaves, but all of he chards are stately and, in their own way, quite showy.
Swiss Chard is a truly ancient vegetable that probably developed from the original wild beet plants. What is great about this plant is that it can tolerate both heat and cold, though it does best in cool areas.
Lucullus is an excellent Swiss Chard for the South because it withstands heat better than any other variety. It also can tolerate mild frosts.
Lucullus was introduced in 1914 and named after the Roman general Lucius Licinius Lucullus. The general, in addition to being a famous military figure was also well known as an epicure. One of his favorite foods was Swiss Chard.
Swiss Chard can be continuously harvested if it is harvested by taking the outer leaves first. The plant will continue to produce leaves from the center.
In Zones 3-4, parsnips have to be planted in the spring, April-May. In Zones 1-2, there is not enough time for parsnips to mature, usually.
Parsnips require 130 days to mature if they are planted in the spring. That is a little over 4 months. When planted in July, parsnips require 156 days to mature. That is a little over 5 months, BUT parsnips become sweeter and sweeter when they are exposed to cold and frosts, so really the best time to plant them is July.
In Zones 5-7, parsnips should be planted between July 1-10. In Zones 8-10, parsnips should be planted between October 1-10.
In Zones 8-10 it rarely gets cold enough to bring out the intense sweetness in parsnips, BUT if you treat the soil where the parsnips are going to be grown with lime before you plant the seeds, your parsnips will be plenty sweet enough.
In Zones 5-7, if you mulch heavily before the ground freezes solid, you can harvest parsnips throughout most of the winter. Parsnips can also tolerate being frozen solid in the ground. Many parsnip gardeners swear that the very sweetest parsnips are those which have been frozen solid and then dug in the spring after the ground thaws.
Parsnips are an old, old vegetable that is native to Europe. They were among the first vegetables brought by colonists to North America in 1609.
Sugar Hollow Crown was introduced in 1850 and remains today the most popular variety. The white, fine-grained flesh is very sweet and tender. It is also an excellent storer.
When planting parsnips remember that they take a very long time to germinate – around 3 weeks. Make sure you keep the soil well weeded until they begin to grow.
Parsnips, when planted in the fall are somewhat easy to grow from seed. Turn your garden soil, rake it smooth and then take your finger and draw a line in the soil approximately 1 inch deep. Sprinkle the seed along the line and cover with soil. Soak the soil and keep it moist until germination occurs which will happen in approximately 21+ days in the summer. Once the seedlings are 2 inches high, thin to 3-4 inches apart. Fertilize with a high phosphorus-potassium fertilizer every two weeks for six weeks (3 applications).
Peas are an ideal crop for gardeners just learning how to ‘Second Season’ garden. Peas are very cold tolerant plants and most peas are not affected by mild frosts, but they will stop producing when hit with a hard frost. In Zones 1-4, peas should be planted between July 1 and July 15. In Zones 5-7, peas should be planted between July 15 and July 31. In Zones 8-10, peas should not be planted before mid-October and can be planted until the end of December.
Peas are a delightful Second Season crop and easy to grow. Turn your garden soil, rake it smooth and then take your finger and draw a line in the soil approximately 1 inch deep. Sprinkle the seed along the line and cover with soil. Soak the soil and keep it moist until germination occurs which will happen in approximately 7-10 days in the summer. Once the seedlings are 2 inches high, thin to 4-6 inches apart. Fertilize with a high phosphorus and potassium fertilizer every two weeks for six weeks (3 applications).
Peas grow very well in containers. We recommend planting 6 plants in an 18-inch diameter container and then constructing a bamboo teepee made of three-8 foot tall bamboo poles tied at the top. This creation will produce many pounds of peas, if the peas are harvested frequently. If the pods are left on the vines, the vines will go into dormancy.
Freezonian, like Little Marvel, is a shelling pea meaning you remove the peas from their pod. This pea variety was developed by the Rogers Brothers Seed Company of Idaho in the late 1930s.
Freezonian was so outstanding that in 1948 it was awarded the All-America Selections (AAS) prize.
Freezonian is an especially good Second Season pea because it is very cold tolerant and takes only 77 days to mature when planted from seed in mid-summer. The 3-foot plants produce an abundance of 3-inch pods which carry 7-8 peas. The peas are extremely sweet, and they freeze well.
The Snap Pea is believed to be a fortuitous cross between Shelling Peas and Snow Peas. The original snap peas probably, were known to ancient peoples. However, somehow the Snap Pea was lost and was only rediscovered fairly recently.
In 1970, Calvin Lamborn, a plant scientist working on peas, discovered a plant growing in one of his trial fields which produced unusual peas – ones where the pod did not crack and expel the peas
Lamborn found the peas and the pods to be incredibly sweet and perfectly edible. The plant he discovered eventually became known as the Sugar Snap Pole Pea and in 1979, it was selected for an AAS award. This pea has spawned a family of very sweet, edible pod peas with names like Sugar Ann, Sugar Daddy, Sugar Sprint and Sugar Bon.
Pole Peas like Pole Beans produce throughout the season. They are not limited to a few weeks production like the dwarf varieties. Because of this factor, pole varieties are better suited for small spaces because you receive the maximum yield for the space allotted.
The vines of the Sugar Snap Pole Pea grow to a height of 4-6 feet. They produce fruit in about 79 days when planted in mid-summer. The pods are 2-3 inches and produce 6-8 peas. The peas are quite sweet. The plants are known to tolerate mild frosts.
This is a great variety for Zones 8-10 because of its long production period. Sugar Snap Pole, planted in late October should produce from mid-December (just in time for the holidays!) until February or maybe even March.
Sugar Snap Pole also grows very well in Zones 1-7.
Edible Pod peas are also known as Snow Peas and are the pea pods that you encounter when eating Chinese food. These peas are closely related to snap peas, but the pods are very flat and the peas are immature when the pods are ready to be eaten. You can leave the pods to swell with mature peas, but if you do, the pea and peapods will lose their sweetness and are actually rather unpleasant. These peapods are meant to be eaten when the peas are underdeveloped.
Edible pod peas are very, very sweet. They are a great way to introduce children to vegetable gardening because often the peapods are so sweet that they rival candy and can be eaten fresh off the vine.
Mammoth Melting was introduced before 1906 as an alternative to Dwarf Grey Sugar peas.
The Mammoth Melting vines which can reach a height of 5 feet are 2-3 feet longer than Dwarf Grey Sugar vines. The thick stringless pods are 4-5 inches long compared to the 2-3 inches that Dwarf Grey Sugar pods reach.
The pods are sweeter than Dwarf Grey Sugar pods, and, more importantly, Mammoth Melting pods remain sweeter and more tender when they are older than Dwarf Grey Sugar pods.
The plants take 89 days to mature when planted mid-summer, but their tolerance for cold and frost, and their ability to remain sweet and tender as they age, make them a great choice for a fall pea.
Our children and grandchildren of the 21st century need to be taught a love for America and for America’s horticultural legacy. Bloomsdale Longstanding Spinach is an excellent example.
Of all the vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs you can plant in the fall, Bloomsdale Longstanding Spinach may very well be the easiest with one big BUT!
Spinach likes it cool or cold. The seeds do not like to germinate if their soil temperature is above 70 degrees, so for Hardiness Zones 1-3 begin seeding July 1-10. In Zones 4-5, begin seeding August 10-20. In Zones 6-7, you can start to plant in mid-September, and in Zones 8-10, I would not start planting until the end of October.
The soil must be below 70 degrees to get good germination.
Bloomsdale is a very old spinach variety. In 1826, the Landreth Seed Company introduced the variety. Since 1826, it has remained one of the most popular spinach varieties sold and one of the most popular vegetable varieties ever developed.
It is a true and venerable American heirloom, but it is also a rugged little guy. In Zones 5-7, if you protect the plant with some straw in the winter, during most winters, it will survive and continue to produce until spring when, with the heat, it will rapidly go to seed.
In Zones 8-10, it can only be grown in the winter.
In Zones 1-4, even with mulching it, usually, will not make it through the winter, but will survive if protected by a coldframe. During the winter of 2011-2012, in our Zone 4 garden, the Bloomsdale Longstanding spinach made it through the winter without protection. We were harvesting and eating spinach in January after digging through a light layer of snow to get to it.
Bloomsdale does very well in pots. A small, 6-inch pot will hold one plant, an 8-inch pot will hold 2 plants and a 12-inch pot can hold 5 plants – enough to feed a family of four fresh spinach once or twice a week.
Next January, as you sit down with your children or grandchildren to a dinner of fresh spinach salad, that, together, you grew in your own garden or coldframe and cared for with your own hands and time, just think, “This spinach variety was MADE IN AMERICA, and it is so good that it has been grown by Americans for 195 years!!”
There are not many products that have stood the test of time this well and teach your children/grandchildren the significance of that achievement!
Get Your Fall Blooming Bulbs Now While Supplies Last!