Do you know this bare patch of soil forming in your garden right about this time of the season? The one which, most likely, held onions, garlic or zucchini? The one you were hovering over, thinking, what can I plant here in the middle of the Summer…..
Today I wanted to share with you seven crops you can plant in the middle of the season.
Before I run down my list, let me share with you how I built it. Since each one of us is gardening in a different zone (I am in 7b), and our weather is different, you might need to change things around a bit.
First, calculate approximately how many days you have until the end of the season. There are 31 days in August and 30 days in September, for a total of 61 days. I will add 15 more days since usually it is still warm here at the beginning of October. So I still have a total of approximately 76 hot/warm days until Fall arrives, which means that I am looking for crops which can germinate in warm soil, can tolerate heat, and reach maturity in less than 76 days.
7 Crops You Can Plant in The Middle of the Season
(Note that many of those crops mature in less than 76 days, so even if you live in colder areas, read on. Also, I will link to the verities I am using from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, but I am sure you can find those in other places)
Bush or Pole Beans – Those beans can germinate in cool soil but germinate better if the soil temperature is between 70 to 90F. You can keep planting those beans until mid-Summer. Bush beans reach maturity around 50 days while pole beans reach maturity around 60 days.
Green Onions – Those onions can be sown in July and August for Fall, Winter, and Spring (next year) use. They are not picky about soil temperature and will stay in great condition through the Winter if you cover them before the first frost come. They mature in approximately 60 days.
Carrots – Some verities of carrots can be sown all through the Summer (make sure to choose the right verity). The carrots will mature in about 65 days. You can pick them then or leave them in the soil for Fall and even Winter picking. Mulch the soil around them, and you don’t even have to cover them (this is true for the South, not sure about up North).
Beets – You can keep planting beets until eight weeks before expected Fall frost. Those are smaller beets which will mature in about 50 days. You can wait for the root to form or use the young leaves for salad.
Kale/Collards – Those hardy leaves will mature within 55 days. You can wait that long or pick young leaves for your salad or to make chips. If you like Kale, by all means, plant as much of it as you can. It is not only very healthy but also very hardy. The kale or collards you plant now will last you all Winter long without a cover (you might need to cover if you have severe Winters), or any other special treatment.
Cucumbers – It only takes 60 days for cucumbers to reach maturity. If your Summer is long, you can plant cucumbers now. They are very sensitive to cold temperatures so make sure to be ready to cover them if need be.
And last but not least… Buckwheat – This is a type of Summer cover crop. You can go few different directions here; you might use buckwheat to enrich your soil (green manure), in this case you can till the buckwheat under a week after it started flowering, around 40 days. You can let it go to seed (around 70 days), harvest the grain and make your own buckwheat flour, or simply grow it for the bees, who love the flowers, and let it reseed itself. It will then die in Winter.
So if you thought you could get away from garden work since it is too hot outside, think again. There is still much to plant and lots of garden work ahead of us! I am curious to learn what do you do with mid-season empty garden patches… Any particular favorite you sow in the middle of Summer?
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