fall vegetable garden in the Piedmont

janellewJune 23, 2007

Hi all,

I am planning my first-ever fall vegetable garden, and I could really use some knowledgeable advice on what grows best here (I'm in Durham) and when to plant it.

I'm thinking about cabbage, broccoli, beets, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, onions, kale, spinach, leeks, swiss chard?, carrots, garlic?, and fennel. Any suggestions on what grows well, what doesn't, varieties I should look for or avoid? Advice on the brussels is especially welcome, as they are my very favorite winter veg. (I bought some red rubine seeds in England last month, but I'd also like to grow some plain brussels.)

In terms of planting times, I have a copy of the extension service's fall planting guide, but I'm a little wary. For example, they recommend planting broccoli between July 15 and August 15, but I can't imagine little seedlings actually surviving the August heat. (I assume they're talking about sowing, not transplanting seedlings, but it's not clear.) I usually start all my veg from seed, but maybe I should start them in containers in a more protected place and then move them out later in September?

I've also heard that bugs can be more of a problem in the fall, so is there anything (organic) I can do to head them off ahead of time?



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limhyl(z8 NC)

Fall gardening can be challanging for just the reason you mentioned. It's so flippin hot when you need to get them started. I would start everything from seed and keep it activly growing and semi shaded until the temps cool down around the middle of Sept usually. As to specific varieties, I can't be of much help as I usually don't pay attention to such details, but I have had good luck with brussels, broccoli,cabbage, kale, and garlic. Of course, garlic should be planted directly in the ground at the end of September and usually does quite well. The only problem with pests on the above is the ever present cabbage looper. I hand pick them in small amounts,feeding them to the birds, and if they are amassing an army I usually resort to Bt. A few holes in the leaves don't hurt anything except our gardening egos. Theresa.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 1:14PM
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dogridge(7b nc)

i have had great succes with leeks, both direct sowing and transplants. Spinach, chard and beets all do well. I have never tried broccoli as a fall crop, but I have read where folks put in transplants in August and cover them with a lightweight row cover both for sun and insect protection. Fennel also does well, but you have to plant in Aug to get any size on them. i have also grown parsnips by planting seed in August. Sorry I can't give advice on the brussels sprouts, but let us know if you have any success.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 9:17PM
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Broccoli rabe is a YUMMMMMY vegetable lightly sauteed with olive oil and a little garlic. I tried it in the early early spring and got a nice harvest before summer. Someone told me it was one of the easiest vegetables for the fall garden. He said he just direct sows them and gets his frying pan ready. They would definately be worth a try. Adele

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 10:02PM
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Ralph Whisnant(z7b-8 NC)

Janelle, Mizuna and Tah Tsai are two of many Asian salad greens that are easy to grow in the fall. I also recommend Park Seed's Chef's Blend leaf lettuce. Regarding broccoli, I bought a pack of Renee's Seeds' Mix of 3 Hybrids last summer at Logan's in downtown Raleigh. I started about 18 plants in containers in late August and planted them in late September in a 4 x 8 raised bed ala Square Foot Gardening. In late October I put several 9-gauge wire hoops over the bed and covered it with shade cloth/row cover when frost was forecast. We ate the first small heads in late November and through Christmas. Ever since then we have been getting lots of side shoots. In really cold weather I covered the shade cloth with 1 mil polyethylene plastic. In late spring I assumed that the fall raised broccoli would soon give out, so I bought a flat of half Packman broccoli and half Snow Crown cauliflower. The fall raised broccoli is still going strong and the plants are getting quite large. Admittedly, in this hot weather the broccoli has a stronger taste, but we still eat it both in casseroles and raw in salads mixed with leaf lettuce, carrots, summer squash. basil and whatever else is available. The biggest pest problem has been slugs. I have put out beer in sunken yogurt cups, iron phosphate-based slug bait and practiced hand picking into a pail of soapy water late at night. Curiously, there are white cabbage butterflies in the garden constantly, but there have been very few of their caterpillars, and little damage from them. Recently, I was about to harvest a broccoli stem when I noticed a large wasp sitting on a leaf eating a "cabbage worm". It ate the whole thing before flying off. In the spring I let the fall planted mustard plants flower and have been growing fennel, butterfly weed and lots of different flowers to attract different bees and wasps, and they seem to be helping with insect pests. I had planned to start dusting with BT in the spring, but between the bees & wasps and hand picking, it has not been necessary.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 5:30PM
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puddle_of_mud(NC - zone 7)

I always have great success with broccoli in the fall. Those cool nights make it so sweet!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 9:09AM
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susandonb(NC 7)

Hi Janelle,

I have had great success with fall veggies. Packman broccoli, Bubbles brussel sprouts, Any late variety cabbage, purple top turnips, detroit dark red beets. These are all the ones I have grown and they did great. I am putting my brussel sprout seed directly into the garden July 15th. I planted them in march and just picked mine last week. Fall brussels get bigger and taste better.

I advise getting everthing direct sowed by August 1st. I put brocc in August 15th last year and it was too late. Didn't get any.

Cabbage and turnips, I mulch heavy with straw, it keeps them moist cool and if it does get cold early it keeps them tucked in and cuddly! In '05 growing season I was picking broccoli heads 8-10 inches across on Christmas Eve Day for Christmas dinner, that was my best year yet!

I am from SE Massachusetts, the growing season here is GREAT!!

I planted the common type of spinach and mulched that too, I still had it growing in the Spring, I can't think of the name right now but it is the real common one....ARRGGHH, menopause!

Keep us posted, I am already looking forward to my Fall crops.

Happy Gardening,
Susan in NC

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 8:24PM
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Can you plant green beans this late? (end of July)

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 10:15PM
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