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Planning a Fall Harvest

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Thermal Blanket Frost CoverWhen planning a fall harvest the first thing to consider is when the first frost will arrive in your area so you can figure out the best time to plant your fall crops. Calculate back from your average first fall frost date to determine when to plant fall crops. Add 14 days to the listed days to maturity to account for the fall effect of shortening days and cooler temperatures. For plants with a long harvest period like broccoli, add additional days to account for transplant shock and setback.

Storage varieties that can be grown in fall and harvested for winter storage are ideal for fall harvest. Storage tomatoes can be harvested green to ripen slowly and storage beets and radishes grow very large and keep well in the ground or root cellar. Crops such as cabbage, carrots and beets also have good frost tolerance and will hold well in the field in cool fall weather. Cabbage has a long growing season and can be planted 12-14 weeks before the first frost. Carrots and beets can be planted six to eight weeks before the first frost.

In many regions of the Northeast it may be too late to plant long-season crops like dry beans and winter squash but check your frost dates and do the math, you may still have time. Broccoli is intolerant of hard frost but has a much shorter growing season that performs best in warm days and cool nights of late summer. It should be planted eight to 10 weeks before the first frost.

You will also want to prepare the ground for fall crops by generously adding compost before planting. This will keep plants growing fast and reduce the risk of disease.

Frostproof Growers Supply provides a wide range of frost covers to protect your crops. Available in a variety of sizes, our collection of frost covers features UV-treated polypropylene fabric that raises temperatures from six to eight degrees while allowing air, light and moisture to pass through so your plants and flowers are protected from frost but can still get the elements needed to grow.

Frost covers are an elemental fall harvest tool available from Frostproof Growers Supply, a national leader in garden and growing supplies that has been serving home and commercial growers since 1985.

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