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Planting dates for the fall garden

Late summer garden
"I seeded some broccoli, cauliflower & radishes a bit ago-only the radishes flourished-and I think it is too late to reseed the broccoli & cauliflower, correct? I didn't get around to planting seeds of cabbage, carrots, etc. and am not sure about the dates on those, either...

"Is the below (more or less) the formula for planning on when to plant for our Persephone date?

Crop maturity date - a few days less so crop is not quite mature + a few days to allow for less sunshine in the fall = days needed by Persephone date.

Pea trellis"Or do you just have a chart already made up that you would be willing to let me try?

"My garden space is ready and waiting, and I still have a lot of good seeds."

--- Jeannette, zone 7, east Tennessee on a gentle southeast slope of a mountain

Jeannette, I've been getting lots of fall-gardening questions lately, so I thought I'd answer yours in a post instead of via email. Persephone Days are most relevant for people who garden in a mild climate, in a greenhouse, or are growing hardy leaf crops like kale and lettuce. The date tells you when these cut-and-come-again crops will stop producing due to lack of sunlight, but it doesn't take into account killing freezes that will completely wipe out your crops. Broccoli, for example, is going to kick the bucket at 25 degrees Fahrenheit unless you cover it well, so the Persephone Date (which comes much later than the hard-freeze date for most of us) is irrelevant.

Brussels sprout set

My favorite chart for fall planting is here, and I give you lots more information about how to choose planting dates and how to make easy frost-protection in my book Weekend Homesteader. The short version is --- it's too late for you to plant carrots, cabbages, and broccoli from seed, but you can still have a great fall garden with leafy greens (kale is our special favorite) and lettuce, which grow much faster than other fall vegetables. If you buy big sets, you might also get away with planting out brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli now since you live further south than we do. We don't like radishes, but I believe they're pretty fast so planting another round of those as well as some turnips could fill in the gaps. Just be sure to check the days-to-maturity date on your packets and add two weeks for safety --- some varieties grow much faster than others!

I hope that helps, and good luck with your fall garden. I always feel like I get more food for my effort with the fall garden than at any other time of year, so it's definitely worth figuring out.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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These are my two favorite planting date resources. They aren't perfect as they don't take into account micro-climates and the weather you've been having recently (like if it's been an unusually hot summer, you might need to delay the planting a couple weeks past when they suggest), but they're a great jumping off point!

Comment by Rae Mon Aug 17 09:10:21 2015
Thank you Rae for the links!
Comment by NaYan Mon Aug 17 18:12:02 2015

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