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Looking at the calendar, you may realize there's not much time left until your first frost. But if you act fast, you can still get a good harvest of field crops in the next 30-60 days. You will need to pay extra attention to seeds and seedlings to prevent them from perishing in the heat, but once you get them established, they will thrive as the weather cools off.
Basil: For authentic basil flavor in a more compact plant, try Genovese. Fine leaf or Greek basil takes just 30 days to reach maturity.
Beets: All varieties are good for fall planting, maturing in 45-55 days (longer in fall because of decreasing day length). Beet greens are delicious, though somewhat acidic, additions to a salad, so save the thinnings and use the tops after harvest.
Broccoli Raab: It's ready in just 35 days.
Broccoli: Arcadia and Marathon have good cold resistance and will sweeten up after a frost.
Cabbage: There are delicious, early cabbage maturing in 62-65 days. For mini cabbage, space the plants 8-12" in row, 12-18" between rows. Alcosa Savoy is cold-tolerant and matures in 72 days, making it a good choice for hoophouses.
Endive, Escarole, and Radicchio: All can be grown for fall crops.
Kale and Collards: All are cold-tolerant and will survive light frosts.
Lettuce: For baby lettuce and salad mix, most any variety will produce in fall.
Onions: Grow the bunching/scallion types.
Radishes: Grow a variety of colors and shapes, and succession plant every week until 45 days before hard frost.
Swiss Chard: Quick to grow for baby bunches and salad mix; be ready to protect from frost for full-size bunches.
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Reprinted from JSS Advantage August 2011