West Central Illinois fall planting question...

MelissaHess(5)August 21, 2012

I've always just planted my garden in the late Spring, let it go wild all summer and have had lots of luck. I've never tried to plant a fall garden. I feel like fall is short lived here in west central Illinois. But if I were to try...say lettuce...do I just plant seeds in the ground like I do in the spring time? What else takes a short time to grow in cool temps? Thanks!

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Spinach is an excellent fall crop . Most Asian greens like tatsoi, bok choy, and all the relatives are good too.

I plant fall seeds slightly deeper than in the spring, because those seeds usually don't like germinating in hot soil and the surface of the soil can still be very hot at this time of year. If you can provide shade during germination and keep the soil moist and cool, that's half the battle won already.

Another difference between fall and spring is that fall seedlings are immediately attacked by insects (for example leaf miners or cabbage worms as the case may be). So lay down insect barrier row cover after you seed spinach, and be ready to use Bt for the caterpillars on brassicas.

The third difference is that there isn't a clear time when the crop is finished (unlike spring when they bolt and that's it). They will just gradually decline and go dormant as the weather cools.

Lettuce will be the first to kick the bucket as it is the least cold hardy of fall crops.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 6:53PM
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I am also in west central Il. I already have planted green beans, peas turnips cabbage, brocilla , califlour, carrots, romaine lettuce, tomatoes in tunnel will plant spinach, radishes as the weather turns a little cooler. john

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 10:29PM
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September 1st is a target date for Spinach. It will grow some this fall, and be ready in March and April. The winter doesn't phase it. Also plant spring type radishes Sept 1st. Plant your lettuce now like in the spring. Garlic and shallots 3rd week October. Cut the tops off of mature Spanish white onions and bury them like bulbs ( for big spring green onions). They will grow all winter anytime the snow melts. Plant multiplying onions now and bunching onion seed. Also Mustard and Turnips for greens. Be sure to water everyday and keep the soil a little moist, don't let the seeds dry out when they are germinating.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 3:55AM
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