For me, seasons pass too quickly. In mid-December, it always feels like the growing season is a long time off and the short days and long nights seem endless. Once winter breaks, the action picks up fast and there are no dull moments. Suddenly, here we are at the first of July. Spring planting is done and, while anticipating the summer harvest, it’s already time to plan for fall harvest.
Where I live in hardiness zone 5, we have about 75 days until the first frost. Fall crops to sow NOW are Brussels Sprouts, Peas, Cauliflower, Cilantro, Green Onions, Cabbage and Broccoli. Based on my experience over many, many trials (and years) my current recommendations are…
Brussels Sprouts: If sown now, the best choice is Catskill Green. This heirloom type is full of traditional Brussels flavor and forms abundant heads in time for the late fall market.
Peas: Snap peas are by far the most popular type of pea showing up in the fall markets. Shoppers like them because they are string less and both the pod and the pea are sweet, crisp and edible. Sugar Sprint with its diminished string and sweet crisp flavor is our number one Fall harvest variety.
Cauliflower: I prefer Snow Crown because this hybrid forms a good size crown that holds is color, shape and flavor and can remain in the field and follow an extended fall with ever increasing head size.
Cilantro: The trick to market fresh Cilantro is to harvest often and seed often. Your last crop of the season can be sown now and you will have fresh bunches for the fall market. The winner is Tasty Ole.
Green Onions: Like cilantro, the trick to green onions is to always have tender young coming on so harvest often and seed often. I prefer the variety White Bunching which is a real work horse and by far the most widely grown commercial variety.
Cabbage: This is a wide category and our farm market growers have success with growing all four of the major types for fall. Green, Red, Oriental, Savoy.
- Green: If you have grown FM Tasty Early Green Cabbage you know that the color, texture and flavor are what make it popular in the fresh market. Growers repeat the success with a fall crop sown directly in the field in early July.
- Red: For a red cabbage for fall produce grow Red Express, great, eyecatching color and long post-harvest shelf life.
- Savoy: Along with great color, here is one that you should offer as a premium novelty, Purple Savoy.
Broccoli: I’m going to suggest this novelty selection because “foodies” are all a buzz about it, it is best when harvested fresh and your average fall fresh market does not have it on board. The variety is called Artwork. It is a stem type with an abundance of tender small flower heads that form after the harvest of the terminal crown. Harvest and keep them on ice in the market and they command a premium price.
Basil: There is plenty of time to sow basil seeds. I suggest at least 3 sowing from now through August 21, each will yield fresh, no flower crops, perfect for the local market. I recommend two outstanding new cultivars. One: Dolce Fresca, traditional spicy flavor, broad deep green foliage and compact nodes, great for fresh bunching or in blister packs. Two: Sweet Dani Lemon, as the name suggests it has a lemon scented bouquet. The harvest is plentiful. Offer both types as micro greens or fresh bunching.
The following is a chart that I offer because it is requested so often.The type category is not intended to be botanically correct, instead it refers more to how I feel the consumer looks at the way that the product is packaged and sold.
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