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Have you been so busy or just unmotivated early this summer? So much so that you couldn’t even bear the thought of planting anything earlier this spring? It’s not too late if you’re still toying with growing-your-own vegetables and fruit this end of summer - there are options.
Just started your GIY (Grow it Yourself) project earlier this year? Looking to keep the momentum going? Here's some advice for you to keep the food plot busy up to Autumn.
Here are some handy resources for getting more detailed gardening advice
The first week of August, ideally 5 to 7 August, is critical for any late summer/ autumn and winter planting. The trick is to know when the first frost will likely appear so you can plant later in a milder temperate climate.
If you want to plant crops in time for late autumn or early winter harvests, your sowing start date should be 6-8 weeks before the likely date for the first frost.
You can plant a wide range of cool-season crop varieties that can begrownd to reach maturity when the weather is cool.
Did you know that you can still sow quick maturing salad crops?
Here are some options:
For most summer salad variations, you can keep planting the bases of your lettuce heads after letting them regenerate some roots in a jar of water. Keep plucking leaves - as and when you need them.
Lettuce works well in cooler weather as long as there is no frost. This is because its leaves are quite delicate and may get scorched in hot weather - the tips may get burnt and taste bitter.
Because they regenerate and grow so fast, you can keep planting varieties like lettuce and spinach between 8 weeks - 2 weeks before the first frost. The later harvest may be smaller and used as baby greens in late autumn.
You can also keep sowing new rounds of the following
Did you know the cooler weather is essential for making vegetables like carrots taste better? As the temperatures dip, the plants' starches start turning into sugar.
When planting turnips, there are many more varieties to consider. There are Oriental varieties, smaller rooted turnips, and dwarf varieties that do not need much growing time.
You can harvest turnips close to autumn. They can be used in salads or garnish. The French cook them braised with chicken stock and butter in casseroles. The tops of young baby turnips can be used as a succulent green vegetable.
Don’t forget, turnips and beetroots can also be pickled.
Did you know …Cabbages love cool weather? They come from the plants in the Cole or brassica family. So they are perfect for August planting.
These vegetable varieties include
Kale varieties are very hardy in wintery weather. They may need some cover when it’s cold, but you could still have kale to eat fresh all winter.
There are also quick-growing herbs you can plant in from existing supermarket batches.
Some Herbs can weather through the winter, like Bay plants and Rosemary. However, more delicate leafy herb varieties must be brought inside when the weather turns frosty for all-year use.
Examples of Herbs you can grow in late Summer:
If early random frosty nights appear well before the winter, then be quick to protect your crops with a fabric frost cover, temporary shelter, or a flexible structure that acts like a temporary polytunnel.
You can invest in accessories to keep the growing weather longer or to protect your plants from early frost. For example, get row covers made of a lightweight fabric designed to protect plants from frost damage. These materials also allow sun, moisture and air to pass through simultaneously.
There are also more structured devices such as cold frames and low tunnels that can insulate plants from cold weather.