Fall Planting for a Late Harvest Garden

Last weekend (the weekend before Labor Day), I did my fall planting. My summer garden is fledgling because I put it out late due to my wedding. I just picked my first ripe tomato yesterday! This is my first year using my raised bed garden, since we moved into our home late last summer, so I am treating it as one big experiment. Overall I am pleased with the way my plants have come in and look forward to a better year next summer.

I have refused to let my lack of success in summer gardening deter me from striving for a late harvest garden. In my summer garden, I have tomato and pepper plants, along with one cucumber plant growing out of my garden into my neighbor’s yard. My garden looks like this:

garden 1

The beautifully landscaped raised bed was built with significant help from my father. Shoutout to him for picking up, transporting via truck, then carrying all these rocks up a hill . . . two days before my wedding.

Here is a diagram I drew in MS Publisher to illustrate where everything is planted:

summer garden

For the late fall/winter garden, I planted peas, carrots, cauliflower, spinach, and pumpkins. The Farmer’s Almanac predicts my first frost will be October 15 here in Southeast Michigan, so I am really getting it out pretty late. But, it has been such a hot summer I was hesitant to put it out too early. It finally felt like fall this past week, but next week it is supposed to be in the 90s again, so I am worried about my cold-weather loving plants.

According to my online research, peas can survive a temperatures as low as 28 degrees F, so I should (hopefully) be okay until at least November. I read conflicting reports here and here about the cauliflower, carrots, and pumpkins, but thought the best way to know for sure was to give it a try. The spinach I am less worried about because it can be harvested in as little as 45 days, so it should be okay. I will continue to plant the spinach every other week to have  an ongoing crop and to see how it tolerates the cooler temperatures. All of these crops thrive in lower soil temps (around 70 degrees F), so this should be the perfect time of the year to get them in the ground. Hopefully I can have a mild fall/early winter to give them the best chance of  success.

Given the limited space available in my raised bed, I had to get creative with my planting. This is how my fall plants were integrated:

Fall Garden planting

The peas were placed strategically because they need support. My hope is that I can use my existing tomato stakes to create a pea support once the peas take off. The pumpkins were planted in the corner so that they can hopefully vine out onto my neighbor’s overgrown property. The rest of the plants were just placed wherever there was space.

Here’s hoping for good weather and an excellent late fall/early winter harvest! What did you plant in your fall garden?