Start Planting a Fall Garden Now to Reap a Bountiful Harvest in Time for the Holidays
Posted on August 30, 2023 by Van Becelaere Greenhouse
These last few weeks of Summer in Southeast Kansas have been brutal for humans, animals, and plants. But, with temperatures scorching into the triple digits, we are relieved to see cooler temperatures in our future. That also means it’s an excellent time to plant a Fall garden.
So, starting your Fall planting in August will ensure a bountiful harvest by mid-October or November. The first frost is expected sometime around October 21 this year, leaving you plenty of time to nurture these late-season growers and cool-weather crops, such as:
- Legumes and Pulses
- Vegetable Roots
- Mustard Greens
- Leafy Greens
Legumes and Pulses
If you’re looking to plant beans this season, there are just a few things to remember. First, beans are sometimes referred to as legumes, which is the outer shell. The actual bean contained within the legume is the pulse.
But if you plan on planting various beans, you’ll have the best success with bush bean plants, which produce the well-known green bean. If you plan to grow from seed, you should plant sometime in late August. Germination can take 5–10 days, while harvesting crops will occur within 50–65 days.
Some popular varieties that grow best across the four states are:
- Bush Snap
- Half-runner varieties
- Bush Wax
Many types of vegetable roots come from various families or sub-orders. One such root is the beet of the Amaranthaceae family. Beets are one type of vegetable root that is popular to grow in Fall gardens, as well as these two beloved Fall vegetables:
If you’re considering planting beets, they can be planted twice annually in the Spring and again in late Summer, around mid-August. Germination occurs roughly 5–8 days if grown from seed and ready for harvesting in 7–8 weeks.
The trick to a successful beet harvest is ground temperature. To be confident that the ground temperature is ripe for planting, it should be between 40–50 degrees Fahrenheit (°F). You can purchase a ground thermometer from your local greenhouse.
There are many beet varieties to choose from, but those that grow best in the four-state area include:
- Detroit Dark Red
- Ruby Queen
- Early Wonder
Sometimes mistaken for parsnips, carrots come in various colors and tapered shapes. They are a part of the Apiaceae family.
If you plan to grow carrots from seed, you can expect these to germinate within 14-15 days. You can try starter plants if you didn’t get those seeds in the ground by mid-August. Although harvesting carrots will still take 70–80 days. Here are several varieties that grow well here in the Four States:
- Scarlet Nantes
- Red Core Chantenay
- Atomic Red
As a popular Fall vegetable, radishes are part of the Brassicaceae family, and it’s the fleshy bulb that gets unearthed and served at the dinner table.
It’s commonly planted anytime in August and germinates in 3–4 days. But don’t expect to harvest these little morsels for another 3–5 weeks. Popular species of radishes include:
- Cherry Belle
- Easter Egg
- White Icicle
Planting From the Mustard Family of Fall Vegetables
The Brassicaceae family, commonly called the mustard family, is an extensive group of flowering plants encompassing a whopping 3,700 species. These diverse and abundant plants can be found all across the globe, making them a prominent presence in various ecosystems and kitchen tables. The Brassica family includes these we will be talking about today.
- Mustard Greens
Cabbage grown from seed takes around 4–10 days to germinate, and plants fully mature at 70 days. If you haven’t planted those by now, you may have to hold off until next season. Some popular cabbage varieties include:
- Golden Acre
- Savoy Ace
- Copenhagen Market
Turnips commonly get planted around the same time as your radishes. Germination takes roughly 4-7 days, provided the soil temperatures hover between 60° and 105°F. These Fall favorites yield healthy crops in approximately 70–75 days. Among the more popular varieties are the:
- Purple Top White Globe
- Just Right Hybrid
- Royal Crown
Kohlrabi resembles a turnip or fennel but is more closely related to cabbage. If you want to plant kohlrabi, it’s best done by mid-August.
Germination commonly takes just a day or two, but you can expect to harvest it in six weeks. Well-known kohlrabi varieties include:
- Grand Duke Hybrid
To make it super easy to remember when to plant your mustard greens, plant them at the same time as your kohlrabi. With soil temperatures of 55° to 65°F, mustard greens will emerge within 7-10 days. With any luck, you can harvest your mustard greens within six weeks. Popular mustard green varieties include:
- Green Wave
- Southern Giant Curled
Asteraceae Family of Flowering Leafy Lettuces
The Asteraceae family is the same flowering family that the sunflower and daisy are also a part of, and yep, you guessed it, they, too, are edible. That is also where we find many of our cool-season lettuces, such as the:
- Looseleaf Lettuce
- Butterhead Lettuce
Since looseleaf lettuce doesn’t do well in extreme heat, it’s best planted in August when soil temperatures range between 70° and 75°F. Many looseleaf lettuce varieties germinate within 7–15 days; you can expect to harvest in 45–55 days. Popular varieties include:
- Black Seeded Simpson
- Salad Bowl
- Ruby Red
Although butterhead germinates in roughly 5–10 days if planted from seed, you can expect to harvest it within 55–60 days. That means you need to plant butterhead seeds between mid- to late-August. Varieties that grow well throughout the four states are the following:
Although spinach is not part of the Asteraceae Family, it is another popular cool-season leafy green flowering plant of the order Caryophyllales in the Amaranthaceae family.
To yield a healthy spinach harvest from spinach seeds, plan on planting anytime throughout August. Germination can take 5–15 days, but harvest is generally within 6–8 weeks. Among home gardeners, popular spinach varieties include:
- Bloomsdale Long Standing
Where to Buy Seeds and Starter Plants for Fall Crops
If you’re ready to plant and know what you want to grow, stop at the Van Becelaere Greenhouse. They have many seeds and starter plants to help get your Fall garden off to a great start.