20 Vegetables You Can Start In July For A Full Fall Harvest

20 Vegetables You Can Start In July For A Full Fall Harvest

It might be July, and you might be thinking your gardening window has slammed shut, but don’t despair: There’s still PLENTY you can plant for a full fall harvest.

 

(This article is an excerpt from my #1 Amazon Best Selling book Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening. You can grab it on sale on Amazon by clicking here!)

 

We’ve finished harvesting the cool weather crops we planted in March, so there’s lots of space opening up in our garden for a fall garden full of leafy greens, root crops, and more.

 

Our planting season lasts longer than other areas of the country because we can harvest veggies well into November (the temperatures don’t get really freezing until January).

 

Even if you haven’t started a garden at ALL this year, there’s still plenty of options that you can start right now – and they’ll be ready in less than 90 days.

 

In this article, I show you 20 vegetables you can still start in July for a full fall harvest, PLUS which veggies are hardy down to 25 degrees.


Remember: Even if your area has early frosts, you can use a cold frame to keep them growing. In this article, I show you which vegetables do well in cold frames.

 

Not sure what crops to grow in May? Here's a guide!

 

20 Vegetables You Can Plant Right Now

 

You have options for leafy greens, root veggies, and vegetables you can ferment for a healthy snack all winter long (great for kid’s lunches too!)

 

Each vegetable listed takes between 60 to 90 days to mature, so you can expect a reasonably large harvest (depending on how much you plant) by the time frost hits.

 

Here’s what you can plant in July for a full fall harvest:

 

  • Herbs in pots
  • Beets
  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Collard Greens
  • Green Onions
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leaf Lettuce
  • Mustard Greens
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Turnips

 

What Vegetables Will Survive Down To 25 Degrees

 

While some of the veggies listed will survive in colder temperatures than 25 degrees (we’ve successfully overwintered spinach without a cold frame), they probably won’t grow too much when the temperatures really dip low and the ground freezes.

 

With the root vegetables, such as radishes, it’s important to make sure you harvest them before the ground completely freezes. You also don’t want the ground freezing and then thawing – that can cause rot.

 

And Remember: You can continue to grow these veggies in a South-facing cold frame well into winter in some areas! Make sure your cold frame gets plenty of light.

 

(In Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide to Backyard Gardening, I share full plans to create your own cold frame out of scrap wood as well as directions to build a hot bed with manure).

 

Vegetables that will survive down to 20 degrees are:

  • Beets
  • Green onions
  • Kale
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Cabbage
  • Collards
  • Spinach

 

Vegetables That Will Survive a Light Frost (30 degrees or higher)

 

While not all vegetables can survive below 30, there are some that CAN survive a light frost, and are even enhanced by it.

 

Mustard and kale are two leafy greens that actually benefit from a light frost – it enhances their flavor. You can keep them in the garden longer than other vegetables, but once the temperatures will consistently be below 32 degrees, you will want to pull them out of the ground or take your chances in a South-facing cold frame.

 

All the veggies listed in the previous section can survive a light frost. Other vegetables that do well when frost hits are:

 

  • Lettuce
  • Mustard
  • Swiss Chard
  • Broccoli
  • Turnips

 

5 Pro Tips To Use Coffee Grounds In Your Garden!

5 Pro Tips To Use Coffee Grounds In Your Garden!

Coffee grounds are one of those hidden treasures that can transform your garden.

 

If you make a cup of coffee every day, then you have an amazing source of organic matter at your fingertips that can help you grow a healthy harvest of fresh vegetables.

 

Coffee grounds are full of nitrogen, which as you know, is the difference between a garden that’s lackluster and a harvest that can support your family through the winter.

 

So how much nitrogen is actually in coffee? Well, according to science, coffee grounds are approximately 1.45% pure nitrogen – ideal for your backyard garden.

 

But nitrogen aside, coffee grounds are also awesome sources of magnesium, potassium, calcium and other types of trace minerals which help your organic garden grow healthy.

 

Not sure how to use coffee grounds in your garden? Here’s 5 pro tips to get you started!

 

Pour spent coffee grounds into your compost bin.

 

There are organic gardeners I know who regularly go to local stores to collect their spent coffee grounds (so if you don’t make coffee yourself, you can try this in your local area – a lot of places are happy to recycle as long as you provide a container.)

 

As you probably know, when it comes to compost, there’s “green” matter and “brown matter.” Green matter is full of nitrogen, while brown matter has carbon, and is a natural accompaniment to the nitrogen. Especially if you hot compost, you will want your ratio of carbon to nitrogen to be correct.

 

Although this seems unbelievable, especially due to the fact that coffee grounds are brown, they’re a “green” in compost rubbish, meaning that they’re highly rich in nitrogen.

 

Simply toss your coffee grounds on your compost pile, making sure the ratio of carbon to nitrogen is correct.

 

Add coffee grounds directly to the soil in your garden

 

This can be done in a wide variety of ways; you can choose to scratch it into a couple of inches of soil at the topmost layer, or just sprinkle the spent coffee grounds into the top layer of the soil and leave it alone.

 

Coffee grounds are comprised of some useful mineral materials, and these can help in adding to the fertility of the soil, especially if your plants are lacking nutrients or if you just want to be proactive.

 

They can be used to create a barrier for slugs and snails.

 

Coffee grounds are abrasive and acidic, and a barrier made of them will fend off slugs and snails that otherwise might snack on your harvest.

 

To create these barriers, lace grounds around plants that are highly susceptible to slug infestations. To preserve their soft bodies, slugs will find another plant to eat.

 

Make coffee ground “tea”

 

To make this, all you have to do is add 2 cups filled with used coffee grounds to a 5-gallon bucket of water.

 

Leave the “tea” to mix and steep for a few hours.

 

The concoction you’ll wake up to in the morning can be used as a liquid fertilizer for both garden and container plants.

 

It is also an awesome source of foliar feed, especially for plants like peppers, which need SOME nitrogen, but are liable to grow only leafy green leaves instead of fruit if they get too much.

 

Add some coffee grounds to your worm bin

Although you might not be aware of this, worms are actually suckers for some good coffee grounds. The worms will consume them, leaving healthy castings you can use as plant food.

 

However, you should be very careful to add too much; you don’t want the acidity to harm or repel your red worms.

 

Just add one cup every week to your worm bin, and that should be enough to do the trick perfectly.

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Will you try adding coffee grounds to your garden? Leave a comment below!

How To Heat A Greenhouse In Winter

How To Heat A Greenhouse In Winter

Wondering how to keep a greenhouse warm in winter without investing in electric or fuel-supplied heating systems?

Yes, it can be done. And without adding any more costs to your household budget. I mean, who needs another bill right? Right.

Now, you might be wondering why bother keeping your greenhouse warm during the frostier months anyway – why not just enjoy the season? Well, this girl likes her greens.

Ok, you caught me. I DO like greens, but I’m not a superfan. I like them…but more like sprouts on a sammich. NOT full blown salads. Unless they’re Southwestern salads. Then, bring on the arugula. ANYWAY, I like to keep growing over the winter because, well, I like to grow vegetables. Like any normal, sane person.

The other reason to keep a greenhouse warm in winter is because if you ARE growing anything, you’ll want to provide a healthier living environment for your vegetables, prevent cold spots, and reduce the risk of fungal diseases.

I have more readers growing crops in the winter, and naturally, a common question is how to heat a greenhouse in winter for free (which mean you can grow a wider variety of vegetables, too).

 
Wondering how to heat a greenhouse in winter? Here's 4 easy but genius ideas to heat a greenhouse without electricity! You can even heat a greenhouse with compost!

Understand the Basics of How to Keep a Greenhouse Warm in Winter

Before we delve into our ideas, let’s first establish some basics. In this season where temperatures can go unpredictably low, you can only do so much. In other words, don’t try to grow oranges in sub-zero weather. You won’t be successful, right?

So, let’s talk about some basics to help you run your greenhouse in winter.

  • Choose the right crops to grow for the season. Go for low-lying greens like kale, spinach, and mustard greens that can stand below-freezing temperatures
  • Invest in a good quality thermometer like this one that can read max and min temperatures throughout the day.
  • Only heat the areas necessary. Grouping plants together will help you save energy and cost.
  • Install proper ventilation to prevent the spread of fungal diseases and maintain a healthy growing greenhouse.

Here are 3 more effective strategies in controlling the temperature inside your structure without having to waste fuel or energy.

Store Thermal Energy Using Thermal Mass

Thermal mass heaters are the bee’s knees, and easy to incorporate into your greenhouse. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, thermal mass, sometimes called a heat sink, absorbs and stores solar heat energy.

This involves putting materials around your greenhouse that absorb heat from the sunlight during the day. These heat sinks are then capable of slowly releasing thermal energy at night time when the mercury drops like crazy.

Here are some effective methods to collect thermal mass:

Idea 1: Build a cobbled pathway across the floor of your greenhouse using dark gravel or small stones (you can reach out to a local nursery or a dealer that sells rocks for driveways).  These rocks naturally absorb heat – and the release of this heat keeps your plants warmer during the dark, cold hours of winter.

Idea 2: Since water has higher heat capacity than land or soil, try putting water or rain barrels around the interior of your greenhouse. Place dark barrels at a Southern-facing location, where they can easily absorb sunlight in the day. Make sure they’re also near tender plants that need more warmth at night

Idea 3: Use cinder blocks or earthenware ceramic pots to further absorb solar heat. They can be used to support planters on table-tops and benches, and they can release their heat around the plants (this is also a good idea to keep your chicken flock’s water from freezing over the winter).

Note: Painting these materials dark (i.e. black) helps absorb more thermal mass and one additional tip on how to keep a greenhouse warm in winter.

square foot gardening plant spacing

Build an Indoor Compost Pile

This is a genius idea that’s also one of the most sustainable techniques to keep your greenhouse warm this winter.  (Psst…it’s also cost-effective since you can build it nearly for free AND you won’t have to use power or fuel to heat your greenhouse. This is what we call Win-Win-Win.)

As the material in your pile composts, bacteria that break down organic material generate a considerable amount of heat to the environment. We cover compost piles in depth in Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Farming. Save 10% with coupon code GREENHOUSE right here.)

Insulate!

Insulation is another option to keep a greenhouse warm in the winter.  So what do I mean by insulate?

Well, you can insulate the entire greenhouse using plastic sheeting, OR you can add row covers (yes, row covers over crops inside your greenhouse) for added protection.

Plastic helps absorb more heat without keeping the sunlight away from your crops. Combined with the other ideas in this article, you have quite a few ways to keep a greenhouse warm in winter.

There are many other natural techniques for keeping your greenhouse thermally controlled throughout the year. In the most challenging seasons, let these suggestions guide you on how to heat a greenhouse in winter for free. You don’t have to do everything. You just need to find the right combination that will work best for your set-up.

square foot gardening plant spacing
3 Square Foot Gardening Plant Spacing Ideas

3 Square Foot Gardening Plant Spacing Ideas

Square foot gardening plant spacing seems like it should be simple, but if you don’t take companion planting into consideration, then you run the risk of your garden turning into a total flop.

 

NOTHING is worse than doing everything right, only to have a garden that doesn’t yield anything.

 

square foot gardening plant spacing

 

Ask me how I know – somehow, our sweet potato harvest this year didn’t go as planned. And it was disappointing to pull up the plants I’d waited 5 months to harvest only to find they never actually grew anything.

 

(Tomatoes on the other hand….we harvested nearly 100 pounds. You win some, you lose some, right?) Here’s my tips on growing tomatoes. This tomato gardening tip helped with our harvest, too!

 

Square foot gardening plant spacing consists of a few things:

  1. Figure out what you want to grow (and when to start the seeds indoors)
  2. Research how many plants can grow in each square foot garden space
  3. Consult a companion planting guide so you can be sure your vegetables will grow well next to each other.

Want an easy square foot gardening for beginners resource and square foot gardening plant spacing ideas? These are 3 genius ideas for square foot gardening plans and square foot gardening layout ideas!

What is square foot gardening & why does spacing matter?

Now, if you don’t know what square foot gardening is, it’s simply a garden segmented into 1 foot by 1 foot squares (I mean this method isn’t called square foot gardening for nothing, right?) and in each square, vegetables, herbs, or fruit are grown.

 

(If you want to read more about this, you can grab my book Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening. Use coupon code SQUAREFOOT to save 10%!)

 

The amount of plants grown in one square foot depends on the type of plant – some squares will have more and some will have less.

 

Get it wrong, and your garden might not perform the way you expect because all the nutrients will either go to one plant, squeezing the others out.

 

Or the nutrients will be distributed among each plant, but it won’t be enough for each to flourish, and they’ll all be stunted or grow poorly.

 

Now, I’ve tried a lot of gardening methods. I mean a LOT. And as far as simplicity goes, square foot gardening is the bee’s knees, particularly because it makes plant spacing easy.

 

Square Foot Gardening lets you maximize your space so you get high yields from a small area. But just because it’s simple doesn’t mean you can ignore the needs of your vegetable plants.

 

If your square foot gardening plant spacing is off, then your ship is pretty much sunk before it even starts.

 

If your garden happens limited in size, then planning your square foot gardening plant spacing before digging into the dirt will let you make the best use of your gardening space that way.

 

If you only have a few feet, then growing onions, which need quite a bit of space, are heavy feeders, and need a long growing season probably isn’t your best choice.

 

Growing lettuce, tomatoes, and herbs will give you a greater yield in your tiny space and let you have a more satisfactory harvest and overall experience.


Want to know more about growing herbs? Click here to learn more about my book, Herbs In Your Backyard.

 


square foot gardening plant spacing

How to plan your square foot gardening plant spacing to be correct

 

Each January, before I begin even thinking of seed starting, I list all the herbs and vegetables I plan to grow as well as their individual needs. (I don’t personally grow fruit in my garden – they live elsewhere on the farm).

 

I also consult a table that tells me how many plants of each species should go in each square and double check my companion planting guide (you can download it here) so I know which veggies play nice and which don’t.

 

While this advice seems ultra simple and obvious, once you actually begin plotting your garden with square foot gardening plant spacing, you’ll notice that you might need to think a bit before deciding on a final plan.

 

If you get stuck, one easy fail-safe is that most plants do well being planted next to herbs (that being said, there are some plants that need lots of space, like onions, so it’s really best to use a companion planting guide.)

 

So, square foot gardening plant spacing is important, as is making sure your companion planting is on point.

 

Note: If you grab my bestseller Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening, you’ll find several templates to help you plan your garden. Get it here & use coupon code SQUAREFOOT to save 10%

There’s also my favorite templates for a Salsa Garden, and All Tomato Garden, and more.

 

Here’s a brief list of popular vegetables and how far apart they should be and how many seeds to plant in each square:

 

Greens: 6 inches from each other, 4 plants

Carrots: 3 inches, 16 plants

Broccoli: 18 inches, 1 plant

Eggplant: 24 inches, 1 plant

 

After figuring out what you plan to grow, then draw out a grid the size of your garden (to scale) and segment your “garden” into 1 x 1 foot squares (again, to scale).

 

Start filling in the boxes with what you plan to grow – use your list, the square foot gardening template or list above, plus the companion planting guide to decide on a final arrangement.

 

If you  get stuck, or want to grow several plants that won’t grow well together, then prioritize. Is growing onions really necessary, or will you or your family prefer more tomatoes for pizza or herbs for homegrown herbal tea (try growing some of these perennial herbs!)?

 

Using this guide, you should be well on your way to planning your square foot gardening plant spacing for a healthy, full harvest this summer!

 

square foot gardening plant spacing

More Tips for Square Foot Gardening:

 

Save Seeds From Tomatoes, Beans, & Peas For A Self-Sufficient Garden!

Save Seeds From Tomatoes, Beans, & Peas For A Self-Sufficient Garden!

If you’re a new gardener, chances are you’re wondering how to save seeds.

 

Maybe you want a self-sufficient backyard farm, or loved the taste of this year’s tomatoes and want to try to grow them again next year.

 

On our farm, we try to save seeds so we can have a consistent harvest year to year – I like predictable plants, and over time, we’ve been able to develop varieties that are well-suited to our particular micro environment.

 

In this article, I’m going to show you how to save seeds so you can have the same!

 

What Seeds Should You Save?

Although you can save seeds from any vegetable you want, you’ll have a more consistent crop if you save seeds from self-pollinating vegetables. If vegetables have cross pollinated (so the seeds would be hybrids), they might not carry the same genetic traits as their parents.

 

Self-pollinating vegetables include:

 

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Beans
  • Peas

 

However, if you do end up saving seeds that are potential hybrids, all isn’t lost – you might enjoy the next year’s vegetables even more.

 

Only save seeds from fully ripe vegetables. Choose the best, healthiest vegetables to harvest from.

Beans, Peas, & Greens (Lettuce, Mustard, etc)

You have a couple choices. You can harvest the pods when they’re mature and slightly dry, and allow to fully dry indoors for 4 or so weeks.

 

A second option I’ve seen farmers use successfully is to allow the pods to completely dry on plant.

 

The downside to this is there’s a chance of mold if it gets rainy or animals can scavenge them before you can harvest them. They could also pop open, spilling seeds on the ground or allowing them to mold.

 

Whichever method you use, be sure to choose healthy, unbroken pods to harvest.

 

Once completely dry, gently rub pods between your hands to reveal the dry beans or peas. Separate the seeds from the chaff and allow to continue to fry for another 2 weeks.

 

Store in an airtight, rodent-safe container.

 

Peppers

Cut open a fully-ripe pepper (if it changes color, wait until after the it’s finished) and remove the seeds.

 

Place on a paper towel and allow to dry for 2 weeks. Store in an airtight container in a cool area, out of direct light.

.

Tomatoes

Tomato seeds need to be treated differently than the other seeds in this article (this process can also be used for cucumber, squash, and melon seeds).

 

They’re covered with a natural germination inhibitor (the “gel” around a tomato seed) and need to go through a fermenting process to remove it once you harvest the fruit.

 

In nature, the fruit rots and falls to the ground, and the rotting process removes the gel surrounding the seed.

 

Since none of us want rotting fruit hanging around in our house attracting fruit flies, we need to ferment the seeds in a shorter timespan, about 5 – 7 days.

 

After choosing the tomato you want to save seeds from, slice it open and scoop the seeds and pulp into a mason jar. Fill with water and let sit for about a week.

 

It will probably smell, and might give an off-smell. That’s ok (you can loosely cover the jar to keep pests away). As you’re waiting for the fermenting process to complete, check to see if any of the seeds have started to float.

 

If so, remove them and toss. They won’t produce strong seedlings, if they sprout at all.

 

Once fermented, strain out the viable seeds and clean them thoroughly with fresh water. Lay them on a paper towel to dry for a few days. Store in an airtight container in a cool area out of the sun.