Our gardening has been put on the back shelf this year as moving, renovating, land clearing, and adjusting have all been the priorities of the last several months. However, I couldn’t go for a whole year without planting anything, so we gathered some of the rocks we found around our property, and built an impromptu raised bed just off the back door.
In it, we planted staples that we have come to appreciate in our garden: green beans, kale and chard, carrots, zucchini, pickling cucumbers, tomatoes, salad greens, and strawberries. (It’s amazing to see how much can grow in around 20 square feet!) Our plants had a bit of a late start, but they are thriving now. We are finally harvesting much of what we have planted.
Now I am thinking about the fall, and I am pretty sure that our future garden site will be not ready to plant in the next week or two. So I am going to have to adjust my plans for this little raised bed. I am considering what I can move or remove to make room for some easy to grow fall vegetables. I have my sights set on the top ten vegetables and herbs to plant for a fall harvest. They are both easy to grow, and they produce an abundance for such a small space.
Here is a list of the top ten vegetables and herbs to plant (by seed) for a fall harvest in Southwestern BC. For more information, check out West Coast Seed’s Fall and Winter Planting Guide.
Arugula, spinach, and corn salad are all delicious ways to eat your greens. Arugula and spinach are very hearty and produce both fall and spring crops. Arugula has a peppery flavor and is a great addition to any salad, or sautéed greens. Arugula can be planted from mid August to mid September, in one or several plantings, to stager the times of harvest.
Spinach can be planted throughout the month of August, just as arugula, in one or several plantings. Neither the spinach or the arugula needs to be covered in our mild winter climate. The plants will die back when it gets too cold but will liven right up again in the spring. A tunnel could be placed over them for an extended fall, or an early spring harvest.
Corn Salad, a lesser known type of hearty green, will grow well through the fall, and if covered with a tunnel, should grow well into the winter. Corn Salad can be planted mid August to the end of September.
These are two lesser known brassicas, related to the likes of broccoli and cabbage. Kohlrabi looks like a green bulb with lots of leaves sticking out of it. It sits just above the ground when it is ready to harvest and has a similar, mild flavor to that of broccoli stems. It is delicious eaten raw. It can be sliced into match sticks for dipping, or shredded into salads. It’s leaves can also be used like collards or kale. It can be planted from mid July to mid August.
Bok Choy, also called Pac Choi, is a little like chard. It has thick fibrous stalks, and large green leaves. Both parts can be eaten and are lovely sautéed or raw in a coleslaw. Bok Choy can also be planted from mid July to mid August, and produces both a fall and winter crop.
Carrots and beets are easily grown, and are great vegetables to harvest through the fall, and right into winter. Carrots are delicious eaten raw or cooked, and together with onions and celery, are the base of many soup stocks and sauces. Carrots should be planted from mid July to mid August, and can be planted at all at once, or in several plantings.
Beets, like carrots, are also very versatile. The bulbs can be roasted, pickled, eaten cold in salads, or even baked into chips. Their greens can also be eaten, sautéed like spinach or kale. Beets are one of my favorite vegetables – they can be planted from mid August to the end of August. Both carrots and beets should be covered with a tunnel or mulched with straw or leaves if left in the ground over winter.
Some of the most versatile herbs, cilantro, parsley, and scallions all produce a bountiful fall crop. Cilantro can be planted from the beginning of July through to the end of August, and should be planted in several plantings. It bolts (produces seed) quickly in hot weather, so successive plantings will keep the crop from being completely unusable if a heat wave strikes.
Parsley can be added to just about any dish! It grows prolifically once it is established, and it is a biannual, so it will come back in the spring. If it seeds itself, you can maintain an ongoing patch of parsley indefinitely. It can be planted from mid July to the end of August.
Scallions, also called green onions, are a lovely way to finish dishes and add a slight but not overpowering onion flavor. It can be planted from mid July to mid August.
Do you plant a fall garden? Do you have any tips or resources you’d like to share? Happy Gardening!
This post has also appeared at TGIM on Nourishing Joy!