We are getting to that point in the season where you’ll want to be thinking of any late season sowing you want to do. There’s a few crops that you can still get a meaningful harvest from and will be hardy enough to take past our first few frosts. If you’ve done some harvesting and have some space in your garden, you might want to think about direct sowing things soon!
For this purpose, we want to focus on two very important traits. First, we want maturity time in the 30-60 day range and also they need to be cold hardy. Since the intention is to harvest around first frost, or even after, we don’t want plants that are at risk at the traditional “end of season.” There’s (usually) still plenty of growing days after first frost, though.
Crops we’d recommend would be radish (regular & daikon), leaf lettuce, bok choy, mizuna/arugula/mustards, green onions and spinach. You might be able to get away with some 60 day crops, depending on how the frosts and first snowfall comes in. These would expand your selection into Napa cabbage, head lettuce, kale, swiss chard and some turnips.
There’s a whole “world” of genetics that push other types of veggies into the 50-60 day range. You can find specific varieties of carrots, beets, peas and several others that are designed to mature in relatively short order. These are also good candidates, if you have them in your seed bank. Remember, it can’t just be any of these varieties since a lot of them take much, much longer to get to maturity.
Unfortunately, here in the far north, we wouldn’t recommend other “fast crops” like bush beans, cucumbers and summer squash since our season abruptly ends and our early frosts will wipe these plants out.
So, if you’ve got some space in your garden, use it to the max and plant those late season crops! We’ve been doing this for quite awhile and it’s a nice treat to have a fresh salad or other meal as those cool, fall days come in!