What Can I Plant In September?

What Can I Plant In September?

Although the gardening season is winding down, you might be wondering “what can I plant in September?”

 

As long as you have a south-facing cold frame set up (or a hot bed would be better), you have options for crops you can grow through the winter.

 

(For directions to build a cold frame and a hot bed, check out my bestselling book, Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening)

 

Without a cold frame, unless you live in a warm area (zones 8-11), you’ll not have much success. Even in our area, we can over winter spinach without a cold frame, but not much else.

 

In this article, I’m going to show you 11 crops you can still grow in September, even though the days are getting shorter and cooler!

 

Lettuce

Direct sow your lettuce when temperatures inside your cold frame are between 45 F and 65 F. You can sow either individual seeds in rows or broadcast. After sowing, cover the seeds lightly with ¼ inch of soil.

 

When seedlings are 4” tall, thin to 4 – 16 inches apart depending on the lettuce you’re planting. It’s best to avoid firm headed lettuces and shoot for leaf types.

 

Radishes

We love growing radishes because they’re as close as you can get to instant gratification in a garden. They’re ready to harvest in about 30 days.

 

Direct sow radishes by planting seeds ½ inch deep and 1 inch apart. Rows should be 12 inches apart and in full sun.

 

A week after seedlings emerge, thin radishes to about an inch apart. When crowded, radishes will sprawl and not form round roots. They will be woody and bitter.

 

Plant consecutively every two weeks for a continuous harvest of radishes.

 

Beets

Beets are perfect to grow in a cold frame because they can survive frost and temperatures down to 32 degrees (although soil temp needs to be at least 50 degrees for the seeds to germinate).

 

Before planting, select a sunny site, and incorporate compost into the soil. Test the soil because a pH higher than 6 and lower than 5 makes it difficult for the seeds to sprout.

 

Soak the seeds for 24 hours before direct sowing them to speed up germination.

 

Plant seeds ½ inch deep and thin to 2 inches apart when the seedlings are 4 inches tall. Snip the seedlings you’re removing (instead of pulling them out of the soil) so you don’t disturb the soil.

 

Cabbages

Cabbage prefers to only grow in cold temperatures, and as soon as heat hits our farm, cabbage season is as good as over.

 

Kale

Kale is an incredibly resilient plant and thrives in colder temperatures, and the funny thing about kale, is it tastes better if it’s been through a frost!  

 

We broadcast kale seeds because they’re so tiny, and the plants thrive well in close quarters as long as you fertilize and water regularly. Cover lightly with dirt and mist regularly. In 3-4 weeks, you should see seedlings.

 

Be sure to harvest the outer leaves of kale before they get too big to ensure they’re still tender and not bitter.

 

Leeks

These green treats resemble giant scallions, and are excellent for sub-freezing temperatures – they have proven to be cold-hardy down to approximately 5° Fahrenheit!

 

Spinach

Spinach needs 6 weeks of cool weather to grow to harvest size properly, so as soon as the soil is workable, sow spinach in a cold frame. Soil temperature should not exceed 70 degrees to ensure your spinach germinates.

 

Sow spinach ½ inch deep. We broadcast our spinach seeds since they’re so small. To ensure a consistent harvest, plant spinach successively every 2-3 weeks.

 

Onions

This robust crop can easily withstand freezes and frosts, making them perfect for a cold frame. You can grow onions from seeds or sets; starting with sets is a bit easier.

 

When planting onions, it’s important to remember that they need full sun in order to grow healthy, so make sure your cold frame is in a sunny location.  

 

Plant in rows 12 inches apart, and about 1 inch deep for sets

 

Swiss Chard

This crop is quite cold-hardy. Plant seeds ½ inch deep. It’s simplest to broadcast the seeds, then cover lightly with dirt. Succession plant seeds every 2 weeks for a continued harvest.

 

Cover crops

Cover crops such as clover. This time of year is a good time to think about direct sowing cover crops – they’ll prevent your topsoil from getting blown away and lower the amount of weeds come spring. They’ll also fix nitrogen so your spring crops will get a kickstart thanks to all the nutrients in the soil.

 

Garlic

Don’t forget to plant your garlic bulbs! You’ll want to plant them now for a summer harvest next June. Start before it gets too cold, and be sure to cover with straw if frost threatens.

 

20 Vegetables That Grow in Shade

20 Vegetables That Grow in Shade

Wondering what vegetables grow in the shade? No matter where you might live, it can be tough to find the optimal conditions for growing vegetables.

 

From shade produced by nearby buildings to hefty tree limbs that block out the afternoon sun, finding a garden plot with the perfect amount of sunlight your plants need can be a challenge. However, you don’t need to move mountains in order to grow a productive garden. 

 

Instead, you just need to consider these vegetables that grow in shade. 

 

What is Considered “Shade”?

There are essentially three different sunlight settings that can describe how much light your plants will get during the growing season. 

 

Full sun refers to areas that receive direct sunlight for a  minimum of six hours each day. Usually, this will be sometime between the hours of 10 am and 6pm. 

 

Partial shade, on the other hand, refers to areas that receive three to six hours of sun each day. This can include areas of filtered or dappled sunlight, even if it’s just during a short window each day. 

 

Full shade areas receive no direct sun or even any reflected light during the day. It can be pretty tricky to grow any kind of vegetable in full shade (after all, every plant needs light to grow)- as a result, most of the plants we will recommend in this article should be considered for partial shade instead. 

 

Top 20 Vegetables That Grow in Shade

When you’re looking for the best vegetables to grow in the shade, you will want to consider plants like leafy greens (which are sensitive to the sun) and root vegetables, that can tolerate some partial shade as well. 

 

Here are some of the top vegetables that grow in shade. 

 

Beans

Beans require very little work to grow, which is probably why they are found in just about every gardener’s plot. In addition, they grow well with moderate amounts of daily shade. With so many different types of beans to choose from, they’re a smart choice for your shade garden for sure. 

 

Arugula

One of the fastest-growing leafy greens, arugula is a great option for your backyard shade garden. Although not everyone will be fond of arugula’s musky, peppery taste, it can’t be argued that it performs exceptionally well when grown in partial shade.

 

Broccoli

Broccoli loves being grown in lots of shade. A member of the cabbage family, it really only requires a few hours of sunlight each day along with plenty of water. In some places, you might be able to sneak in multiple crops throughout the growing season, too – just make sure you trim back the flowers so the plant doesn’t bolt on you.

 

Beets 

Beets are one of the best cold-hardy crops you can grow, but they are also one of the best vegetables that grow in shade for you to consider, too. Although too much shade can cause your beetroots to become a bit tiny, the greens will still produce remarkably well. Plant beets in succession for a continual harvest and make sure you keep them well-watered!

 

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts – you either love them or you hate them. These plants are fun to watch as they mature and they will do so quite well even in the shade. Brussels sprouts grow well into the cold season and actually prefer being grown in cooler weather. 

 

Spinach

Spinach can be grown with just a few hours of sunlight each day. Because it is a cold-loving plant, it even grows well in the waning daylight hours of fall and spring. NOt only is spinach an excellent salad green, but it can be used in a variety of cooked recipes, too. If you start planting early, you can plant in succession for a crop all season long.

 

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard is a colorful beauty for you to consider in your backyard shade garden. Preferring partial shade, this plant is biennial – you can overwinter it to grow it a second year. Chard is easy to grow and requires minimal maintenance, making it perfect for the inexperienced gardener. 

 

Kale

Kale is another superb candidate for your shade garden. Closely related to cabbage, this plant can also be grown in a container and likes cool soil temperatures and lots of shade. It can even handle a light frost!

 

Collard Greens

Yet another cabbage relative on this list is collard greens. This plant tastes delicious sauteed as well as in a salad. Collard greens require at least four hour of sun each day, so if you have a shadier garden that receives a bit of dappled sunlight every now and then, you’re in luck. This plant also performs well in cold climates.

 

Cauliflower

A very close relative to broccoli, cauliflower also grows well in the shade. It can tolerate a ton of cold and shade. Delicious cooked and fresh, cauliflower should be blanched if you want it to have a sweeter taste.

 

Cress

Also known as garden cress, cress is a rare vegetable that many gardeners overlook when they are considering the major vegetables that grow in shade. However, this is a great option for you to consider if you want another leafy green to dd to the dinner table. Not only does it mature with lightning speeds, but it can also be grown in moist soil and is known for its peppery flavor. 

 

Mustard Greens

Move over, spinach and kale. Here’s a new leafy green to consider growing in the shade. Mustard greens can be grown either in full sun or in partial shade, but since they prefer cooler temperatures, you might want to grow them in the shade. 

 

Peas

Peas do quite well in a partially shady location, primarily because they like being cool. However your timing will be important – you need to make sure you sow your seeds and can get a harvest before it gets too hot. 

 

Endive

Endives perform remarkably well with only a few hours of sunlight each day. This is specifically true if you are growing the plant during the hottest days of the summer – offering shade will prevent the plant from bolting too soon. It can also be grown in a pot!

 

Lettuce

Lettuce is truly a gardener’s staple and is a cool-season green that grows well in partial shade. You can grow it in almost complete shade, too – some gardeners even use shade cloth to prevent it from becoming signed in the summer sun. 

 

Radishes

The humble radish is one of the best vegetables to grow in the shade. Not only does it take up very little space, but it doesn’t like a lot of sun or heat – in fact, it will taste woody if you give it too much sun. 

 

Not only do radishes taste great on their own (and there are so many varieties!) the tops can be eaten, too. Radishes can be grown in the fall and the spring and there are plenty of possibilities and varieties for you to grow. 

 

Bok Choy

Also known as Chinese cabbage, bok choy is perfect in soups and salads. It can be grown easily in dappled sunlight or even more serious shade. It requires just two hours of sunlight each day to maintain its deep green leaves. 

 

Green Onions

You might also hear green onions referred to as scallions. These plants grow quickly and are hardy to most conditions. They can be sprouted by soaking the roots in a container of water before transplanting them to partial shade. Delicious in a salad or cooked dish, green onions can sometimes be grown as perennial shade crops, too.

 

Carrots 

Another root vegetable that grows well in the shade is the mighty carrot. Carrots can handle partial shade with grace – if you can provide your carrots with six or more hours of sunlight, they will grow more rapidly, but you can also grow them in the shade. You just might have to wait a bit longer! 

 

Potatoes

Potatoes need at least five hours of sunlight if you want large tubers. However, if you have a shadier spot, feel free to give them a try – you might end up with great boiling potato at the very least! They don’t, however, n eed super hot weather to grow – potatoes prefer soil temperatures in the 40s and 50s. 

 

Tips for Growing Vegetables in the Shade

Invest in Your Soil

The key to growing healthy vegetables, but particularly vegetables that grow in shade, is making sure you have good soil that can actually support plant life. If you are already going to be challenging your crop to grow with minimal sun, it’s super important that your plants have fertile soil that is well-draining and not compacted. Add some compost to help improve your structure and soil fertility.

 

Moderate Moisture

Don’t water your shade garden like you would water a garden in full sun! Moisture won’t evaporate as quickly, so you won’t need to water your garden quite as frequently. If it’s near trees, however, you will need to water a bit more since your vegetables will be competing with the trees for water. 

 

Keep an Eye Out For Pests 

Certain pests are opportunistic little buggers and will seize any opportunity they can get to attack your plants. Shady areas also tend to be a bit cooler and isolated, making them the perfect habitat for shade-loving (but crop-destroying) creatures like snails and slugs. 

 

Prevent Diseases

Just as you will need to monitor the moisture levels in your vegetable garden in the shade, you will also need to be mindful of moisture. You are more likely to suffer from various fungal diseases like powdery mildew, when you are gardening in the shade because your plants won’t have as much opportunity to rid themselves of excess moisture. 

 

Think About Maturation Times 

There are plenty of vegetables that grow in the shade, but it’s important to remember that they won’t grow exactly like their sun-loving counterparts. You may find that your plants take a bit longer to mature than what you see noted on the seed packet.

 

Start Your Seedlings Indoors

Starting seeds ahead of time indoors is a great way to give them a jump start before they need to be in the shade. You can start your own transplants and plant them whenever the ground has warmed.

 

Plant in Succession 

Not sure how well your shade garden is going to perform, or concerned that your plants will take longer to mature? Don’t worry. All you need to do is plant succession. This will allow you to reap multiple harvests of the same crop despite the delays related to the shade. 

 

Grow the Right Plants 

Don’t try to grow plants that are adapted to full sun conditions when you only have partial sun available where you’re trying to garden. Crops that demand lots of light, such as blossoming plants like tomatoes and peppers, will not do well in a shady environment no matter how much you build up your soil ahead of time. 

 

Modify Your Environment 

Consider pruning low tree branches or thinning out tall limbs to let more sunlight pour into your garden. You can also paint nearby surfaces white to reflect more light back onto your garden. You can also use a reflective mulch to serve this purpose. 

 

Grow in Containers 

Growing in containers is a great way to accommodate for an overly shady garden. Not only will you be able to move your plants as the seasons change, but you can bring them inside once the weather cools, too.

 

Why You Should Consider These Vegetables That Grow in Shade

If you have a shady garden and think you can’t successfully grow vegetables, think again. A partially shaded garden not only allows for a longer growing season for cool-season crops (like broccoli) but the shade can also protect your plants from the hot rays of the summer sun. 

 

Shade-grown vegetables also taste better. They tend to be more succulent and less bitter, since they haven’t had to spend all of their energy staying cool. 

 

Consider these tips and order your seeds . There are plenty of vegetables that grow in the shade – and now that you’re no longer in the dark, you should start planting as soon as possible.

What To Do In Your Garden In April [Planting Guide]

What To Do In Your Garden In April [Planting Guide]

It’s April, and that means in most USDA gardening zones, there’s lots of work to be done!

 

Want the exact organic, non-GMO heirloom seeds we use on our homestead? We love Seeds Now!

 

We’re in Zone 7, so we’ve already set out our cool weather crops, and by the first week of April, we’ll be ready to start harvesting our first veggies of the season!

 

This article is broken down by zones to make it easier for you to know exactly what you should be doing in April in your garden.

 

If you’re not sure what zone you live in, you can check that here.

 

Here’s what you can do in your garden right now!

 

Zone 3

 

Zone 4

 

Zone 5

  • When the weather is mild and soil warm enough, transplant early tomatoes outdoors, inside hoop houses
  • Sow a second planting of lettuce, radishes, and spinach outdoors.
  • Continue to grow squash, melons, tomatoes, peppers cucumbers, and corn indoors and under lights.
  • Plant fruit trees.
  • Start herbs such as basil, thyme, and mint

 

Zone 6

 

Zone 7

  • Thin greens and radishes as needed.
  • Plant fruit trees.
  • If purchasing transplants, choose compact plants that have not begun to flower.
  • Remove row covers from peas as long as the weather is mild.
  • Transplant broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower
  • Mulch around cool-season crops to retain moisture and keep roots cool as weather warms.
  • Start cucumber, cantaloupe, summer squash, and watermelon indoors and under lights.
  • Now is the time to start luffa.
  • Set out transplants of tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and sweet potatoes.
  • Set out culinary herbs
  • Prune peach trees.

 

Zone 8

 

Zone 9

  • Plant heat-loving pumpkins, squash, melons, peppers, sweet potatoes, and eggplants
  • Every 2 weeks, succession plant bush beans and corn.
  • Continue to plant cool weather crops until the end of the month
  • Transplant tomatoes and peppers.
  • Continue to plant culinary herbs

 

Zone 10

  • Harvest spinach, lettuce, and broccoli.
  • Plant heat-loving pumpkins, squash, melons, peppers, sweet potatoes, and eggplants
  • Be sure to add lots of compost to your soil if it’s sandy and lacking nutrients

 

I’d like to hear from you!

What do you think you’ll plant in April? Leave a comment below!

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

 

It’s June…Here’s 17 Vegetables You Can Still Plant For a Full Fall Harvest!

It’s June…Here’s 17 Vegetables You Can Still Plant For a Full Fall Harvest!

It maybe June (can you believe we’re halfway through the year?), but there’s still plenty you can plant for a late summer/fall harvest!

 

(This is an excerpt from my #1 Amazon Bestselling book Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening. If you want a great resource to help you grow everything listed below, grab it on Amazon right here!)

 

Believe me when I say that there’s veggies on this list I’ll be planting myself – I just cleaned out the greenhouses, spread rabbit manure to add nutrients to the soil, and I’ll be planting some beans, beets, and greens I hope to overwinter!

 

Even if you haven’t started your garden, don’t despair – there’s still plenty of time!

 

Here’s 17 plants you can still start this month!

 

Beans

Lots of varieties love the warmer weather! You can harvest some varieties in as little as 45 days. In hotter areas, stick with bush varieties to conserve water. Direct sow every two weeks for a continued harvest well into fall. Plant 10-15 plants per person in your family.

 

Beets

You can grow beets for either the roots or the greens. Direct sow in the soil now, and they’ll be ready to harvest in 45-60 days. Pickle them to preserve them!

 

Bok Choy

I love bok choy because it’s mild (aka not bitter), you can harvest it when it’s still young for a super nutritious addition to any sandwich or salad.

 

Broccoli

While you might not connect broccoli with something you should grow in June, especially in climates with a shorter growing season, you can start it now so it’s ready to harvest when the nights start to dip below 50 degrees.

 

Cabbage

If you plant cabbage now, you can harvest well into cooler weather (cabbage loves lower temperatures!) It takes a bit of time to grow big enough for harvest, so make sure it has a dedicated space you won’t need for anything else.

 

Calendula (C. officinalis)

This medicinal herb/flower can be used for so many purposes, from giving chickens golden egg yolks to creating healing salves for your family. Direct sow, and seeds will germinate in about 2 weeks.

 

Carrots

If you start your carrots now, you can still get an early fall crop – and they can hang out in the garden well into late fall.

 

Corn

Corn grows fairly quickly, but it needs full sun and lots of water. You can harvest it in as little as 70 days if you choose a fast-maturing variety. If you want to harvest enough for your whole family, plan on 12 – 15 ears per person.

 

Cucumbers

Consider bush cucumbers to save space and water. You can harvest them when they’re small for sweet pickles.

 

Eggplant

Eggplant loves heat, and you can see purple eggplants starting to form in as little as 60 days. Choose a fast-growing variety. If your family loves eggplant, you should plan on 3 plants per person.

 

Herbs

There’s plenty of herbs you can start right now, including:

 

  • Basil (grow several plants for a winter full of pesto)
  • Oregano (Greek oregano has great, large leaves)
  • Thyme
  • Sage (grow 7-10 plants for smudge sticks)
  • Dill (grow 3-4 plants for leaves, 10 or more for dill seed for pickling)
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Lavender

 

You can plant herbs outside or in pots so you can bring them in at the end of season. Remember you will need time to dry them – so don’t plant too many and get overwhelmed.

 

Melons

Now is a great time to start watermelons and cantaloupe! Plan on 3 – 4 plants per person in your family.

 

Peas

Count on 20 plants per person.

 

Squash

Squash loves heat, and will grow quickly in the higher temperatures. Yellow summer squash is a great variety, as are gourd varieties.

 

Sunflowers

You can let them go to seed for a healthy snack or harvest them for cut flowers.

 

Swiss Chard

Perfect if you have a shady spot in your garden, which will help the leaves from bolting and becoming bitter.

 

Turnips

Plant for greens and/or the roots. You will be able to harvest them long into the fall.

 

I’d like to hear from you!

What are you planting right now? Leave a comment below!