WHEN, in the heat of July, your lettuce bolts, your peas plateau, and your broccoli bites the dust, you can usually replant the beds with heat-loving (or at least heat-tolerant) crops. Here are the vegetables I typically plant in July for an abundant late-summer or early-autumn harvest:
Cucumbers. Most varieties go from seed to harvest in just 52 days. (Pictured above, and currently climbing the bamboo trellis that my peas previously occupied, is the open-pollinated ‘National Pickling’ cucumber. At harvest time, I’ll turn the cucumbers into these Super-Easy Refrigerator Pickles.)
Green Beans. I’ve replaced my recently-bolted romaine with lavender-flowered ‘Triumphe De Farcy’ green beans. Seed to harvest for these is just 48 days. As a result, I’ll have plenty of beans to freeze for winter use.
Beets. These are fast-growing, too. The edible greens can be snipped for salads in just 25-30 days, while the roots below mature in 59 days. (Above, my now-finished frisee has been replaced with ‘Detroit Supreme’ beet, a variety that grows especially well in my zone 5-b climate.) How I Freeze Beets.
Carrots. Plant these in mid-July for late-September harvest (75 days). Carrots are unique in that they will continue to grow until the ground freezes. This year, I planted ‘Garden King Hybrid’ carrots (above) after my oak-leaf lettuce received new quarters in the compost bin.
Swiss Chard. What a great replacement-crop; only 60 days to delicious, antioxidant-rich greens. And it doesn’t faint in the summer heat. Check out my recipe for Make-Ahead Swiss Chard and Sausage Strata.
Broccoli. If your spring-planted broccoli was a disaster (all leaves, no heads), you can certainly start a fall crop in mid- or even late-July. Don’t plant in the same location as your old crop, or you might invite pest problems. Plan 55 days from seedling to harvest.
Radish. All types, including round ‘Cherry Belle’ and ‘French Breakfast’ are lightning fast — just 22-28 days from seed to harvest. Plant them now, and you will soon have the main ingredient for this fabulous French sandwich.
And have you considered the unsold pepper, squash, and tomato plants that garden centers practically give away in July? All these are worth planting now, too, especially if the plants are already in bloom. I recently purchased, from my local farm store, 6 ‘Ace’ bell pepper plants for one dollar each. The store was glad to recoup some of its investment, the plants were grateful to be rescued from their retail prison, and I’m happy to have the surplus fruit for making and freezing Piperade.
If you rely on your summer veggie garden to get you through the winter months — and I certainly do — be sure to replace your finished crops with fresh ones. After all, food-growing real estate is precious for most of us. Why let even one square foot go to waste?
Have you already pulled the plug on your spring crops? Tell me what veggies you’ll plant now for an autumn harvest!
This post was updated on July 5, 2019
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