Vegetables: Summer Planted; Fall Harvested

Fresh vegetables don’t have to end as the days grow shorter – fall is a great time to harvest crops planted in mid to late-summer and picked right up to, and even beyond, the first frost, giving many areas of the country as much as eight months of home-grown veggies.


First, you’ll want to prepare the planting beds. Immediately pull out all early-season plants that have finished producing. Spade or till the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches, adding a generous amount of Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Soil Builder [Eastern & Midwestern Regions Western Region]. Apply the recommended amount of Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Tomato and Vegetable Food to the area and rake the fertilizer lightly into the amended soil. The addition of these two exceptional organic products will provide adequate nutrition necessary to support rapid-growing fall veggies.


When selecting which fall vegetables to plant, and when to plant them, you must first know your USDA Hardiness Zone and the suggested first frost date for your area. Knowing these details will help determine your planting deadlines so that tender crops have time to mature before the first frost hits. Seed packets are an invaluable resource providing not only the vegetable’s days to maturity, but also its hardiness, as some will tolerate cold better than others. Read seed packets before purchasing them to determine what will do best in your area, but don’t be put off by long lead times listed for greens. Most greens are tasty when they’re younger, too.

Specific varieties of the same vegetable may have distinctly different maturity windows. Look for varieties with the shortest days to maturity, listed on the seed packet. Here are some of the most popular fall veggies:

  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Bush Beans
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Chard
  • Collards
  • Green Onion
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce Greens
  • Mustard
  • Parsnips
  • Peas
  • Radicchio
  • Radishes
  • Rape
  • Spinach
  • Turnips
  • Winter Squash


Each vegetable is unique and, again, this is where seed packets are important as they will provide you with the specifics on how deep to sow individual vegetable varieties and whether the plants should be direct sown or started indoors, require light or darkness to germinate, and so on.

Since fall gardens are summer-sown, it’s important to keep the soil moist and shaded until the sun is less intense and the temperatures are cooler. This will help prevent tender seedlings from becoming scorched. Planting densely, mulching the soil, and keeping the soil evenly moist will all contribute to the garden’s success.

When sowing fall greens, you may broadcast a mixture of seeds like mustard, kale, and rapeseed, or combine seeds of several types of lettuce like a curly leaf, red leaf, and oak leaf to allow you to harvest your salad already mixed. It works best to plant greens in blocks or wide rows, making them easier to harvest and allowing for fewer weeds. If you plant blocks each time a new space opens up, you’ll have staggered plantings that can produce over a long time.


Water after direct sowing seeds or transplanting seedlings into the garden bed and continue to keep the ground evenly moist. Seedlings may also need temporary shading from the strong mid-day sun. Until they are established, protect seedlings by shading them with a beach umbrella, pop-up canopy, or shade cloth draped over garden hoops.

Although insects tend to be less bothersome in late fall, it is still a good idea to scout for pests weekly and attend to them before they get out of control.

Harvest your fall vegetables as soon as the plants reach an edible size. Even after the first frost, you’ll be able to keep harvesting to enjoy the yield of your extended-season garden as most root crops taste even sweeter after being frost kissed.

Need more gardening inspiration? Click here.

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Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Tomato and Vegetable Food
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Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Organic Soil Builder
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Raising Root Crops

Root crops are among the easiest vegetables to grow, and often the first and last vegetables in the garden to mature. Your garden may produce enough vegetables to take you through the entire year and, if kept correctly, root crops will last a long time in storage. These vegetables are great to grow, even in a small space. Most root crops are frost tolerant, and with many, the tops, or greens, are also edible.

What Root Crops Need

To get the best harvest of root crops, no matter which types you opt to add to your garden, you need to meet their cultural requirements.

  • Soil
    Root crops grow best in deep, loose, rock-free soil that will allow the roots to form and grow easily. To nourish the plants, supplement the soil with plenty of organic matter. We recommend: Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Organic Soil Builder (Eastern & Midwestern Regions). This nutritious soil amender has long been recognized as the best and most biologically diverse, OMRI-listed soil builder. Now with reduced peat moss, Bumper Crop® is even more sustainable! The new recipe is a balanced blend of aged wood fiber, cured compost, aged bark, lobster meal, worm castings, kelp, and dehydrated poultry manure. It is inoculated with endo- and ectomycorrhizal fungi to improve root function. Perfect, not only for root crops but all homegrown veggies.    -Or-    Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Natural & Organic Soil Builder (Western Region) is a premium soil amendment. It contains only the finest natural and organic ingredients including aged fir bark, composted chicken manure, earthworm castings, bat guano, and kelp meal. Perfect, not only for root crops but all homegrown veggies.
  • Fertilization
    Root crops require a high phosphorus fertilizer for optimum growth. Phosphorus is the center number listed on the fertilizer bag. Always apply fertilizer according to the directions provided on the product packaging, but because it is organic and therefore slow-release, Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Tomato and Vegetable Food will eliminate the worry of burning your plants.
  • Temperature
    Most root crops are considered cool-season vegetables and are planted both early and late in the growing season. Warm days and cool nights are most beneficial for root expansion.
  • Light
    Full sun is best.
  • Planting
    Seeds should be sown in the spring, 2 to 3 weeks before the last expected frost date. Subsequent plantings may be made every three weeks thereafter as weather permits (some exceptions apply) until the last planting in late summer for fall harvest. Planting depth varies depending on the type of plant; follow the directions on the seed packet. After seedlings emerge, thin to desired spacing as determined by the diameter of the root at harvest time. Beet and turnip tops that are thinned are edible raw as salad greens or they may be cooked. Root crops are generally not transplantable because they have a tap root.
  • Mulch
    Mulch plants, after thinning, with salt marsh hay to retain soil moisture and minimize weed growth.
  • Pest Control
    Maintaining appropriate cultural requirements will reduce or eliminate the need for pest control. As with all vegetables, it is important to rotate crops each year. Rotating root crops will discourage root weevils.
  • Basic Storage
    All root crops may be stored for a time before being eaten. In general, store at 32 degrees Fahrenheit and 95 percent humidity. Leave the crops in the garden as long as weather permits, then dig. Store the harvest in a root cellar or refrigerator.

Tips for Favorite Root Vegetables

  • Carrots– Plant in sandy soil if you want the classic, long, narrow type.
  • Beets– You may harvest one-third of the tops without affecting the root.
  • Garlic– Best planted in the fall.
  • Horseradish– Use caution when planting this aggressive perennial.
  • Kohlrabi – Has a mild, sweet cabbage flavor.
  • Leeks– Flavor is best if harvested after a light frost.
  • Onions & Shallots– Plant from seed or sets.
  • Potatoes– Best planted from ‘seed potatoes’ to match variety.
  • Radishes– Mature in as little as three weeks.
  • Sweet Potatoes– Warm weather root crop, will not withstand a frost.
  • Turnips– For a fall crop, sow seeds in midsummer.

Try planting root crops this year with Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® products, and you’ll be enjoying your stored harvest year-round.

Need more gardening inspiration? Click here.

Related Products

Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Tomato and Vegetable Food
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Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Soil Builder
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Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Organic Soil Builder
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The Pumpkin Patch

When sweater weather arrives, our first inclination is to run for the nearest pumpkin spice latte. We adorn our autumnal doorways, walkways, porches, and mantles with colorful pumpkins. It’s tradition to carve jack-o-lanterns at Halloween and serve pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. Fall is synonymous with pumpkins!

These days, the selection of pumpkins to commemorate the fall season is unlimited. More than just the standard-issue orange, pumpkins are now available in unlimited sizes, shapes, colors, and textures. If you would like to try growing your own pumpkin décor and fodder this fall, the time to begin is now.


There are a couple of details that you will have to address before you begin growing pumpkins.

  • Peruse your local Master Nursery® Garden Center’s seed aisle to select the size, shape, and color of the pumpkins that you wish to grow.
  • Be certain to read the seed packet thoroughly, especially taking note of the “days to maturity.” You will want your pumpkins to ripen before Halloween and therefore must count the number of days to maturity backward from this holiday to give your pumpkins time to fully mature. Be sure to add a week or two to your calculation just to be safe. Most small pumpkins take about 100 days to mature and therefore would be best planted sometime in July.
  • Pumpkin vines grow very long. Be sure that you have enough room to accommodate this plant. If you are short on space, seek out compact “bush” varieties or grow miniature and small pumpkins that are easily supported with trellising.


  • Choose a sunny location and create a soil mound using Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Soil Builder [Eastern & Midwestern Regions Western Region]. Planting your seeds into a small hill is similar to planting in a raised bed. The soil will warm quicker, drain better, and provide more room for long vines as they cascade down the mound. Forming your planting hill with Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Soil Builder [Eastern & Midwestern Regions Western Region] will guarantee that your pumpkins are getting the healthiest start possible.
  • Sow pumpkin seeds one inch deep, five seeds to each mound.
  • Water the mounds after planting and give each one a deep soaking once a week as the plants mature. Most edibles require an inch of water each week. If Mother Nature provides an inch of moisture, you may adjust your watering schedule accordingly.
  • Pumpkins are heavy feeders! Feed pumpkin vines monthly using a high-quality, organic fertilizer like Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® All Purpose Food. Broadcast the granular fertilizer in a two-foot circle around and including the mound. Gently work the fertilizer into the soil. Using organic products, especially when growing edibles, will bring you peace of mind knowing that your growing practices are the safest possible for your family and the environment.


  • You will know when your pumpkins are ready to harvest as the rinds will become firm and the color will be the correct shade selected.
  • Cut mature pumpkins from the vine using sharp, clean pruning shears. Be sure to leave a bit of the stem attached for decorative purposes.


How do you plan to use your pumpkins? Here are a few suggestions of our favorites for carving, consuming, and decorating. Do a little research on your own and find a pumpkin that falls into more than one category, and it will serve double duty this fall.


Carving pumpkins have a skin that is thinner than other pumpkins making carving less strenuous.

  • Connecticut Field – Large
  • Jack O Lantern – Medium
  • Captain Jack – Tall
  • Tom Fox – Long Handle


Eating pumpkins have a sweet-tasting flesh, perfect for pies, soups, and roasting.

  • Cinderella
  • Long Island Cheese
  • New England Pie or Sugar
  • Peanut
  • Winter Luxury


Pumpkins used in fall décor come in unusual colors and shapes and may even have a textured rind.

  • Blaze – Flattened-round, orange striped
  • Grizzly Bear – Medium, round, tan-skinned with warts
  • Flat Stacker – Flat top, white
  • Jarrahdale – Medium to large, slate-gray rind
  • Spark – Small tabletop pumpkin, yellow-orange rind

Be sure to visit your local Master Nursery® Garden Center for your seeds and Bumper Crop® products.

Need more gardening inspiration? Click here.

Related Products

Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® All Purpose Food
Western Region
Eastern & Midwestern Regions
Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Organic Soil Builder
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Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Soil Builder
Western Region