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In most of the United States, mid-summer is the time to schedule fall crops, including those you will harvest this fall and winter and those you will plant in fall for early spring harvest.
The best crops for fall are those that are not only cold-tolerant, but also taste better when they mature in cooler weather. Those include: beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery/celeriac, collards, chicories, fennel, greens, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, onions, parsnips, peas, radish, rutabaga, spinach, Swiss chard, and turnips.
Johnny's Fall Planting Calculator gives you a quick way to determine when to plant. Download the calculator, and change the fall frost date at the top of the second column to your own fall frost date. The calculator instantly shows when you should plant each crop outside. (Note that some varieties should be direct sown on that date, while others should be transplanted outside on that date, which requires you to start them 2-3 weeks earlier inside.)
The Fall Planting Calculator assumes that you are going to be planting outside with no frost protection, so most of the planting dates are going to be in mid-summer. However, if you plan to use frost protection such as row cover over your crops in the field, you can push back the planting date a week or two. If you will be planting in a hoophouse or low tunnel, you can plant 4-5 weeks after the recommended date. For the longest possible harvest, plant some fall crops outside and some in protected structures including hoophouses and low tunnels.
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Reprinted from JSS Advantage July 2011