Gardening is a great hobby – it gets you outside, keeps you active, and there’s the great reward of fresh veggies! Of course, towards the end of summer, and as we drift into the fall, we know the fateful ending of the gardening season with the coming of football & frost.
However, you are still able to grow a wide variety of things through the fall. Some crops are frost-tolerant – spinach, kale, and garlic will even be more flavorful through colder weather or after a frost! But, if you are deep into Autumn & fear a hard frost, or even a freeze, you may want to take some precautions to protect your plants – or you can drastically extend your growing season with some of the following options.
Not everyone has the money for a greenhouse or hoophouse, but the other alternatives listed above will help you cheat death-by-frost for a few weeks at least.
There’s only a few months out of the year that we can garden successfully, so why not extend that time a little further & extend the cycle of fresh vegetables in your kitchen?
Hope this offers some beginning tips – please let me know if you have any further questions & I’ll be happy to help!
Also, check out the Gardening 4 Gains YouTube Channel here! Feel free to leave suggestions for future videos & blogs below!
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Stored in fancy vases, and served in the Titanic’s first-class cabin. There were days when celery was not just boring crudité, but a luxury.
My late-summer garden will be dedicated to salad. Right now I am still tending 45 tomato plants, 50 pepper plants, and 6 raspberry bushes that are lost in the tomato jungle.
Earlier in the season I had radishes, lettuce, garlic, onions, basil, cilantro, and dill but after I harvested them, I just stuck to tomatoes. I’m really not sure why I planted so many. My initial thought was that it would be a hit at the local farmer’s market – but I haven’t been to one yet. That may have to happen soon because I have no counter space left due to the Tomato Takeover!
Besides that, Kyla makes the best pico, spaghetti sauce, and chili from the ingredients we’ve grown this year. It’s true what they say – nothing compares to homemade tomato sauce with homegrown ingredients!
So to supplement the tomatoes, jalapeños, habaneros, onions, and garlic, I’ll be growing herbs like Basil & Cilantro to make our salsas & sauces even more authentic. Also throwing in some greens to increase our vegetable consumption to more than just tomatoes!
Keep in mind that this is a garden to be harvested in the Fall – you want to pick vegetables that are cold-hardy & that will be harvested before the frost (check out my cold-hardy vegetable list here!)
I know what you’re thinking – Beets? Rainbow Chard? Turnips? Why?
Honestly don’t think I’ve ever had Beets or Rainbow Chard – so trying them fresh is one factor. Rainbow Chard is one of the most colorful things you can grow in the garden, I just hope that we like it! I think we’ll like the Beets, but I’m just growing those to live up to my girlfriend calling me Dwight Schrute! (from the TV show The Office).
Turnips, on the other hand, are the unsung champion vegetable of the garden. Someone I work with said it best, a turnip is what happens when a radish & a potato have a baby. That is really the perfect description for the taste, texture & everything. So how do you use it? We like to chop them up in beef stew, use it in chili, or in a stir fry – basically the same way you would use a potato.
Please comment if you have any other Turnip, Beet, or Rainbow Chard recipes or recommendations!
A small section of the garden has been cleared of wild tomatoes & cucumbers and is ready for the sowing of the salad. We have a ton of rain on the way this week so that should help get everything saturated & germinated for another round of garden bliss!
Hope this helps keep your garden growing into, and well beyond, the fall!
It’s the end of August here in Ohio – the nights are cooling off, tomatoes & peppers continue to produce fruit to no end, but you still have the itch to keep planting.
Luckily, there is still a ton of stuff you can plant!
Being in zone 5, our last frost date is approximately mid-October – that means we’ve got about 2 months to get growing! With ~60 days, you won’t have enough time for corn, potatoes, or tomatoes, but there are a few options.
Below is a little more detailed cool-weather crop breakdown I got from Bonnie Plants:
Cool-weather crops are broken into 2 categories – Hardy & Semi-Hardy.
Hardy – can tolerate hard frost of 25-28°F. Collards, Kale, & Spinach can handle low 20s and teens in some cases! The beautiful thing about cool weather crops is that they are more flavorful when grown under these circumstances – you know this first-hand if you’ve ever had Spinach in the garden when temps hit 90-100!
Semi-hardy – can tolerate 29-32°F
*Tastes better in winter, but will grow well through summer.
Grown in 60 days
|Arugula||30-40 days to harvest|
|Basil||35-45 days to harvest|
|Beet||50-65 days to harvest|
|Cabbage||50-65 days to harvest|
|55-75 days to harvest|
|Cilantro||60-75 days to harvest|
|Collards||55-60 days to harvest|
|55-65 days to harvest|
|Garlic||90-110 in ground all winter|
|Kale||45-60 days to harvest|
|Kohlrabi||55-65 days to harvest|
|Lettuce||45-60 days to harvest|
|Leek||85-105 in ground all winter|
|Mustard||30-50 days to harvest|
|Green bunching onion||55-60 days to harvest|
|Snap Peas||55-60 days to harvest|
|Radish||25-40 days to harvest|
|Spinach||37-50 days to harvest|
|Swiss Chard||50-60 days to harvest|
|Turnip||45-60 days to harvest|
Planting a garden at the end of the summer is something I enjoy for 2 reasons:
First Fall Frost
As is noted above, most of these crops are somewhat frost-tolerant – some vegetables will even be more flavorful after the frost! But, if you are deep into October & fear a hard frost, or even a freeze, you may want to take some precautions if you want to extend your growing season even further.
Please let me know if you have any questions about starting your garden & I’ll be happy to help!
It’s the end of July, you planted your tomatoes over 2 months ago & the seed packet said you’d be able to harvest fruit in 60 days – why aren’t your tomatoes ripening & turning red?
There could be a few different factors playing a role in the ripening. But why do tomatoes turn red anyways?
Tomatoes are a tough crop to grow, but with a little patience & cooperation from Mother Nature, you can have salsa all summer! If you have any questions on How to Grow Tomatoes – check my guide here!
It is the end of July here in Ohio. Normally it’s scorching hot & we’re dancing between 90-100 degrees at this time of the year, but this summer’s been a little cooler & a lot wetter. Since it’s getting to be July-August area, the garlic that you planted this past spring should be ready to harvest! But how do you know when the time is right to harvest your garlic? Here’s a simple guide below, plus you can check out my latest YouTube video that will give you a visual how-to guide for harvesting & storing Garlic.
There are 2 different types of Garlic – each one has its own benefits, but the type you plant will depend on what your goals are. Below is more detailed info.
Hardneck varieties are more winter-hardy are characterized by a long, flowering stem (called a scape) growing from the middle. The scape will produce a pod that contains bulbils, which are smaller versions of garlic gloves & can be planted in the same way. Hardneck varieties form a single layer of cloves.
Softneck varieties have a stem that is softer & it is much less winter-hardy. When you see garlic braided – it is a softneck variety. This type does not have a scape that reproduces bulbils & that may be the reason that softneck can have bulbs yielding anywhere from 8-30 cloves per bulb! Compare that with hardneck varieties that typically yield 4-12 cloves per bulb – but the scape could contain hundred of bulbils!
(What is a bulbil?) A bulbil is basically a garlic seed that forms in the scape of hardneck types. They are much smaller & may take up to 3-4 years before you get a full-sized bulb!
Garlic really doesn’t require too much care.
Garlic is a natural insect repellent! The smell keeps a lot a pests out of the garden ranging from bugs to deer. I like to plant Garlic & Basil with my Tomatoes to help keep everyone pest free as naturally as possible!
When the tops of your garlic plants begin to get yellowed, or start dying, that is the time to harvest.
Growing garlic is fairly easy – the hardest part is bending over to plant & weed, but there’s not too much maintenance in-between! Garlic can store for up to 6 months, so if you planted a lot, you’ve still got time. And if you really have too much, hit up your local farmer’s market & you’ll sell out in no time.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to drop me a line AND please feel free to check out my most recent YouTube video on “How to Harvest & Store Garlic”.
When I first starting gardening, I had no idea about the differences in tomatoes plant types – I just wanted to grow tomatoes! There is a really big difference between the 2 plants & it is important to know these differences and how each plant should be cared for.
Determinate Tomato Plants – these are the “bush-type” varieties of tomatoes. Typically they will grow 3-4 feet tall & 3 feet wide. They do not require pruning and tomato cages are probably your best bet for plant supports – my Grandpa drives a stake in by the plant & has fencing along one side of his that keep them supported & fruiting all summer long. Determinate varieties set fruit all at once & then they are done producing for the year, unlike Indeterminate tomatoes which produce all year long.
Indeterminate Tomato Plants – these are “vining” varieties that tend to grow more vertically. Typically they will grow between 4-6 feet tall & 2-3 feet wide. They do require pruning – remove the bottom third of branches, and prune and “suckers” that emerge between the main stem & a branch. Those suckers will basically form another head to your tomato plant. You may think this is a good thing, but it will actually suck a lot of energy from the plant & is not ideal for optimal fruit production. With proper care, Indeterminate varieties will produce fruit all year long (or until the frost gets them).
This is my first year using the Florida weave method – I think my mom tagged me in something about it? Or maybe I found it while looking at a customer’s website? Either way, it’s an awesome alternative to traditional staking.
I think pulling weeds is kind of therapeutic. It makes you stop and focus on a “mundane” task – but you know it is essential to your garden’s success, so you suck it up. But there are other options to help prevent pulling so many weeds!
You’re not the only one who wants to eat your tomatoes – here are some tips on pests & what to do to control them.
Tomatoes are usually bred to have pest or disease-resistance, but that doesn’t guarantee that will be the case. There are some simple steps you can take to ensure your tomatoes will survive & not suffer from diseases or pests. The most important this when it comes to disease is not necessarily treatment, but rather, your plan should be focused on prevention.
Videos will be coming in the next couple weeks as all of my tomato plants are fruiting like crazy right now! (You can see those on the [once] greatly neglected Gardening for Gains YouTube Channel – I PROMISE MORE IS ON THE WAY SOON!) If I don’t learn how to make a perfect sauce, I’ll end up buried in tomatoes from the 55 plants we have blooming.
Really hope that this guide has given you a somewhat detailed roadmap to successfully grow tomatoes! Please like, comment, follow AND PLEASE let me know if you have any wisdom to contribute to this tomato growing guide!