At the height of the summer season, it’s easy to think that your window of opportunity for planting has passed. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth! For trees and shrubs, late-season planting is preferable for a couple of reasons. Spring can sometimes be very wet, like it was this year, which will prevent the newly planted roots from receiving the oxygen necessary to establish themselves. Planting in the early summer can also be troublesome when intense sun and dry conditions put the plant into survival mode before it has a chance to get fully settled.
In late season, the potential of cooler weather at night removes the threat to leaf integrity and instead the plant can focus on root growth. A hearty root structure that is intact going into the fall and winter will result in vigorous above-ground growth come spring. This strategy is not universal though, as some trees and shrubs need an extended period to establish roots.
Now when it comes to late-season veggies, after harvesting early-maturing vegetables such as salad greens, radishes, peas and spinach, gardeners can plant other crops in midsummer for fall harvest. Some root crops, greens, and other vegetables can even be successfully grown from Late July and August plantings. It’s important to know the average first frost date in your area in order to calculate when to plant these late vegetables so they’ll mature before being killed by cold weather.
Some vegetables will tolerate a fair amount of frost and keep growing even when temperatures are in the low forties. Kale, for example, continues to grow when temperatures are cool and can survive cold. Many of the cold-tolerant vegetables are actually of better quality when grown in cooler weather; it’s said that the frost ‘sweetens’ them. Before sowing these second crops, turn over the soil and mix in some balanced fertilizer to replace what earlier plants have used up. Leftover debris like stems or roots should be removed or allowed to break down. If you are unsure about the optimal time to plant, it is best to consult a professional. Call us to discuss all of the possibilities at 215-794-8599.