The joy of gardening doesn’t have to end along with summer, as the fall months approach, there are some vegetables that will do just fine. Late summer and early fall are some of the best times to plant certain vegetables. You can even mix them with flowers.
In Southern California, fall is considered our “second spring” and is an ideal time to plant vegetables in the garden, in raised beds, or even in pots. Below are some of the varieties that do well in the cooler weather. The fall is an ideal time of year for gardens there may be fewer insect pests, and rainfall is more plentiful than in summer. Cooler days also mean less watering, even if there’s no rainfall.
Because of the cooler nights, plants raised from seed will take longer to become established. In late August or early September, you can still plant a few cucumbers and tomatoes while the soil is warm. Once the fall is in full swing in October, you can plant lettuce, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, Swiss chard, kale, celery, onions, garlic, peas and spinach. Turnips, carrots and radishes are best grown from seeds. Radishes are great fun to plant with children because they grow so quickly.
Just remember that fall vegetables appreciate well-drained soil just like summer vegetables. If you plant in containers, use fresh potting mix rather than reusing soil. If you plant in the ground or raised beds, mix some compost into the soil, and top-dress with an inch or two of mulch to help retain soil moisture.
When and if the colder weather arrives, protect your crops from freezing. You can use a row cover to trap the heat, or you also can use old bedsheets and tablecloths—just be sure to remove them during the day. Also remember not to use plastic sheets or tarps as they may freeze and damage your crops.