early fall gardenVegetables, flowers and plants that grow well when you plant late summer and early fall.

Vegetables

Plant in August to September for a late fall crop  as far north as Michigan.

Beets

All parts of beets are edible. The most  beets are red, but golden and striped varieties are now available. You can harvest beet greens when they are a about 2″  tall.  Beet roots are ready to harvest when they are approx. 1 ½ – 2″ in diameter. Larger roots are tougher. Harvest by pulling or digging out. Leave at least 1 inch of the leaves on, to stop bleeding while cooking.

Kale

Fall is the best time for growing kale in areas where winter doesn’t dip below the teens, or in cold farther north, because the leaves are sweeter when they mature in cooler weather. Kale is easy to plant. Set plants at the depth at which they are growing in the container. Space them 18 to 24 inches apart. The leaves will grow bigger if given a lot of space, but smaller leaves are the most tender. Pick the oldest leaves from the lowest section of the plants, discarding those that appear yellowed or ragged. Pick your way up the stalk, taking as many leaves as you like, as long as you leave at least 4 leaves intact at each plant’s top (or growing crown) if you want re-growth.

Celery

Is a cool-season crop, it needs moist ground in which to grow.   Start your celery seeds indoors 8 to 12 weeks before the usual  frost date for your area. Soak the seeds before planting. Seeds need light but not direct sunlight. They grow best if  temperatures range from 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit in the day and not below 60 degrees Fahrenheitat night. Plant seeds in new, clean potting soil, placing the seed no more than 1/4-inch deep. Translpant outside into feritzed ground. You can start eating celery when the stalks reach 8 inches high. Cut the stalks from the outside in, or just cut the entire plant at the soil level.

Flowers

Several flower varies need to be planted in the fall to grow in the spring. These flowers are often the first to be seen each spring.

Tulips

Plant when the soil is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit and when a hard frost is about six to eight weeks away. Plant with  the bulb’s pointed end facing up, at least 8 inches below the surface. Cover the bulbs with dirt, water and add fertilizer. Further watering is necessary only during times of extremely low rainfall.

Daffodils

Daffodils are hardy and easy perennials and grow in most areas in North America. Daffodils like full sun or partial shade. Plant bulbs 1-1/2 to 5 times below the surface, spaced 3 to 6 inches apart. Cover with at least 3 inches of soil.

Crocus

Plant in a sunny area away from trees. Plant in hole about 6 inch deep and 3 inches wide, cover with soil about 2x the depth of the bulb. Pat soil.

Mums

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends planting in zones 3 through 9. there are many varieties, so check with your local lawn and garden store to find the best variety suited to your climate. Choose a spot with more sun in northern climates and at least four hours in warmer climates. Plant in a hole twice as wide and slightly shallower than the containers or root balls on transplant Allow space for each mum’s mature size. Leave stems uncut in cold climates, and mound up to 8 inches of soil or leaves over plants for added protection throughout the winter.

Ground Cover

Ajuga Black Scallop PW

A neat little fast-growing ground cover with deep, dark burgundy leaves and blue blossoms in spring, lingering into summer. I prefer this one to regular Ajuga bronze due to its larger leaves and deeper color.

Creeping Red Thyme

(Thymus praecox subsp. Arcticus) This is a fast-growing evergreen ground cover with wonderfully aromatic foliage. If you’d planted it last season, right now you could be enjoying a profusion of lovely red flowers. Easy to grow and good between pavers, too.

More Fall Planting Tips

Geraldine Jensen

Publisher and Editor of Families Online Magazine. Our experts provide warm, loving, and generous advice for you, your family and children, no matter their age -- infants, school age, 'tweens, and teenagers. Features include:Parenting, Ages and Stages of Child Development, Child Support, Cooking, Health, Children's Books, Nutrition, Christian Parenting, Relationships, Green-living, Education and School

Ms. Jensen is a leading advocate for families and children and was the founder and president of ACES, The Association for Children for Enforcement of Support.
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