Summer Ends, Fall Begins
Written by Dan Fujiwara
I'm an angry gardener because the summer is coming to a close and I am not done enjoying the fruits of my labor. All these wonderful summer vegetables are more or less peaking in the garden. The tomatoes are still producing but the vines are starting to get scraggy looking, the squash are still producing, but not as many and the cucumbers are fewer in numbers.
Now is the time to think about the Cool or Fall Season crops. These are all those nutritious green leafy and succulent vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Swiss chard, collards, mustards and lettuces. Fall crops like the cool nights and mild days with temperatures between 55-65 at night and 70-85 during the day. Many of these crops can tolerate warmer days and cooler nights. You should refer to your seed packets or reference guide for specific crops.
Much of September and October has had temperatures well out of the acceptable ranges. You just really do not know what LA weather will throw at us during these months. The best solution is to start planting seeds in pots. Choose either six packs(those rectangular plastic six sectioned pots) or 4 to 6 inch pots. I like to use both sizes, depending on how I feel that day, either one or similar sizes will do just fine. Seed starts give you the ability to start seeds inside, in a cold frames, or in a hot or green house. Starting now also gives you a jump on the season. You will have one to two month old starter plants to transplant into the garden when the temperatures cool down.
My other suggestion to starter plants, is to succession plant. Make multiple plantings of your favorite crops every two to three weeks. This will give you an extended harvest and will also ensure a harvest if the weather destroys one of the plantings.