Late season harvest planning

Shelba Posts: 13 ✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Seed Saving & Fall Prep

I am a kitchen gardener, so every few weeks it is planting time, again. But the next few weeks I have a few things that really enhance my fresh food for fall and winter months.

The ideal time in my micro climate to set out brassicas is the middle of August. I grow cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli all year, and have had broccoli produce for years(yes, I just prune back the heads and keep eating, the record is 4 years from the same plant) But now is the time for people in cooler climates to set these out. The only trick I have to extend this harvest over a period of time is to plant varieties with various ripening times--when I plant mine in a few weeks I will have cabbages with harvest times, everything from 65 to 110 days.

I plant 2 tomato varieties and see which one has better production each year. They are not great fresh tomato varieties, but they do better than regular tomatoes when you wrap them in paper/put in a box in the basement/unwrap and eat fresh throughout the winter. Winter Keeper and Endless Summer are varieties developed for this purpose. But if you don't want to plant another tomato vine, you can wrap any blemish free tomato in paper(like heavy tissue or newspaper weight) and use this way. Since I don't prune, I harvest outdoor tomatoes, protected from cold, until a really hard frost, usually in December. We eat these on salads into late March from our basement.

What things do you do to extend your fresh food season?


  • Paradox
    Paradox Posts: 187 ✭✭✭

    we're in the cold north (SE Wisconsin, USA), so we don't have some options, like overwintering most plants. But we are planning for some fall crops this year--something we haven't really done in the past. Planting successions of lettuce and radishes. Planting kale, spinach, collards & swiss chard for cut & come again greens. Broccoli & cauliflower for the freezer or freeze dryer. Beets, kohlrabi and cabbage for storage. Carrots to harvest as needed.

  • Bigfamilyboss
    Bigfamilyboss Posts: 23 ✭✭✭

    I've just moved to Wisconsin and am planning to do raised beds and grow outside as much as possible and grow in the basement through the winter. I had a farm in Missouri so I don't have to worry about space so all of this is new.

  • Nancy A.Maurelli
    Nancy A.Maurelli Posts: 44 ✭✭✭

    We completed an unheated hoop house in October 2019, and I seeded a crop of oats in there which wintered over and gave me plenty of material to dry for oatstraw infusions as well as biomass and seed to plant the next crop. We had a mild winter, but due to our valley location, the temps often got below freezing in the hoop house at night. Still, the kale, collards, lettuce, chervil, parsley, and Austrian winter peas did great. I plan to trial sweet potato vines in there for the rest of the summer, which will mean LOTS of good eating this winter!

  • John
    John Posts: 163 ✭✭✭

    Thanks for sharing I got a lot of new ideas for the movable rises planters I bought a couple weeks ago. Thank you. :)

  • Thank you for all of this info. We are not doing well with our garden this year and being discouraged. You have motivated me to not give up.

  • Shelba
    Shelba Posts: 13 ✭✭✭

    Do not be discouraged! It is time to start planting again! Yesterday I planted the next round of broccoli, cabbage, kale, onions, and storage tomatoes in the house. I put out some interplantings of carrots, beets, radishes. So, just because your first planting did not do well, you have another chance. Look at varieties with shorter "harvest" times. I have corn that is 70, 80, and 90 days to maturity that I planted 2 weeks ago, for example.

  • Cornelius
    Cornelius Posts: 872 ✭✭✭✭

    Due to the pandemic I started my garden late so I planted radishes, kale, and Japanese giant mustard since they should all shoot up really fast. The radishes and kale will produce over winter for me. I also planted black popcorn, but I am not sure if I will get a crop out of it. Also check out this video for some crops that grow really fast if you are running behind or want to add something to the garden:

  • MikeF
    MikeF Posts: 35 ✭✭✭

    We do some of our seasonal Veg in containers. I reserve more of the in ground space for permanent permaculture plantings.

    So, in the fall, I move the best producing tomato and pepper plants into the greenhouse. This gives us about 2 extra months on the production season. I do the same in Feb or March to get my earlies started sooner.

    For completely off season, I have a small hydroponics setup indoors. This allows me to grow lettuce and greens in the heat of summer, and tomatoes and peppers mid winter. :)