Fall Seed Sowing

Hello fellow gardeners!  It's harvest time here in New England and while I do have to begin thinking about canning and drying the produce bounty, right now I'm focusing on sowing seeds for Fall harvesting.

I'm very fortunate in that Jere and Emilee Gettle of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds recently bought Comstock.Ferre & Co, which, coincidentally,  is where the idea for Ladybug Landscaping was born! Jerre and Emilee have reopened the doors of Comstock, Ferre,which is the oldest continuously running seed company in the country, and stocked it up with the wonderful seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds.  I cannot tell you how lovely it is to have a local source for these amazing seeds. Seriously - if you don't receive their catalog already...sign upTheir seeds are truly heirloom, non-GMO and the variety is awesome. Not to mention that they are some of the best quality seeds I have ever used.  Check out their garden forum - idigmygarden - it's a great resource. Oh, and they also publish a magazine - The Heirloom Gardener - that is a real treat to read.

The Ladybug's have been having a blast reconnecting with Comstock, Ferre and its lovely staff,  Linda and Sue.  We designed and installed a vegetable and flower garden that is really beginning to produce....lots of tomato flowers..but no actual fruit yet!!

Has this happened to any of you this year?  It is usually a sign of over fertilizing with nitrogen, and sadly I have to admit to this being my fault.  I used composted manure to revive some pretty horrible garden soil and then planted the tomatoes in there before the compost really had a chance to break down. We were pressed for time to get the garden going, and the heat was already pretty unbearable (possibly another contributing factor), so there wasn't too much choice. I'm going to prune the tomatoes pretty hard and add some potassium and phosphorous to encourage fruit to set. I have my fingers crossed that it will help!

Fall seed sowing is primarily about direct seeding quick producing seeds into the ground or containers. I'm a lover of radishes and big leafy greens and am excited to welcome the cooler weather that these vegetables just love.

These are the bookends of the garden - vegetables that do well in the coolness of New England's  Spring and Fall.

  • Cauliflower – direct seed throughout August
  • Swiss Chard – direct seed throughout August and September
  • Collards – direct seed throughout August
  • Herbs – most perennial herbs can be seeded throughout August
  • Kale – direct seed throughout August
  • Leaf Lettuce – direct seed in the fourth week of August for a fall harvest
  • Mizuna – direct seed throughout August and September
  • Mustard – direct seed from the fourth week of August throughout September
  • Winter Radish – direct seed in the fourth week of August
  • Rutabaga – direct seed from the third week of August throughout September
  • Sorrel – direct seed for harvest next spring
  • Turnip – direct seed in the first or second week of August through to September
  • Swiss Chard – direct seed throughout September
  • Dill – direct seed in the first week for a fall harvest
  • Mizuna – direct seed throughout September
  • Mustard – direct seed throughout September
  • Summer Radish – direct seed weekly until early October
  • Rutabaga – direct seed up until the second week of September
  • Spinach – direct seed late in the month of September to overwinter
  • Turnip – direct seed up until the third week of September

For those of you who do not live in New England visit The Weekend Gardener GrowGuide and input your information to find seeds you can sow for Fall harvesting. . You will need to know your last frost date - which can be looked up through Dave's Garden.

This weekend I plan to sow lots of containers of Fall veggies - what are your weekend gardening plans? Caroline

Caroline Finnegan owns Ladybug Landscaping, a full service organic landscaping company. based in CT. She is a NOFA accredited landcare professional and when not designing gardens can be found rearranging her furniture or out at a flea market finding new goodies. She almost always has dirt under her nails.

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  • I love the seed packets alone – how gorgeous! Will have to check up if they’ll ship to Canada… fingers crossed? We’ve had 1 (count it, 1!) tomato all year…. off 6 plants. A very sad summer. Still, today’s post has inspired me to don the wellies & head outside – get my seed on!

  • Thanks for a great article Caroline! We’ve been sharing your wonderful advice for what seeds can be planted now, and in September. Folks are always surprised they can still plant seeds and have a fall harvest! And update…there are tomatoes in your garden finally! Sue

  • Hi Lauren – I think Backer Creek does ship to Canada….I hope you were able to get your seed on!!! I feel your tomato pain…mine are not producing as much as I would have liked either.

    Thank you Sandy – I hope your seed sowing goes well!

    Sue – Those tomatoes are so out of control…I can’t wait to harvest them though!!!

  • Hi Caroline,
    What a sweet blog! Thanks so much for your post! Great to see pictures of the garden again. Hope the rest of your summer is very pleasant and looking forward to possibly seeing you in September!

  • Hi Emilee,

    I’m so glad you saw the post – the garden sure has filled in since you and Jere were here! I would love if you showed the pictures to Melinda – her sons were so helpful in getting this bed ready!

    I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer as well – lots of bounty coming in from your veggie garden, I’m sure!!

  • Thanks for the list of fall plantings. I just picked up a packet of kale seeds while at Comstock, Ferre and Co. last week while there to drop off a set of my photocards! ;-)