Fall Planting

Better Late than Never...Fall Planting in Zone 5

In case you’ve been super busy this summer and haven’t had the chance to get your garden going, there is still time.  In this part of the Midwest, Northeast Ohio, our hardiness zones range from 5b to 6a.  This means our first frost date is around October 15th.  Find your USDA Zone

Consequently by August 1 you still have approximately 75 days to get a crop before it is killed by frost.  You may be thinking, wow!, still time to get tomatoes in, but there are other factors to consider.  By the summer Solstice (roughly June 20th each year) daylength decreases.  That means there is less light for photosynthesis and growth of your vegetable-dense crops.  So you have to compromise with what has the greatest chance of being successful with less light and colder temperatures.  This condenses your growing list to leafy greens, roots, and plants in their baby stage, you know-the cute vegetables.

Here is a list of crops that can be planted in our zone before the end of August.

Mature Crops

Pac choi






Baby Crops


Swiss Chard






Overwinter Crops (under cover)


Cover Crop

Frost-tolerant greens

Note that not all crops are created equal, there are several varieties for each crop that have adaptations for specific purposes, such as cold hardy and quick growing (the key words for fall variety selection).

For example cabbage:  Storage No. 4 cabbage is cold tolerant, but needs 95 days to mature (DTM).  However, Murdoc mini cabbage is less cold tolerant, but only 45 DTM.  If planting in August, Murdoc would be your best option. Fedco Seeds 

Additionally Arugula:  Wild or Sylvetta arugula is much more cold tolerant than Astro arugula, but they have about the same DTM, leaving your best option for this time of year to be Sylvetta.  Read your seed packets or call the company if you have any questions. High Mowing Organic Seeds

Start by taking a look at your seed packets, check the DTM and the characteristics of the variety to ensure you’ll have planting success this time of year.  

Also keep in mind that these plants will likely be smaller in size, so you can plant them closer together, and get them started in an organic potting mix Sprout. – Tilth Soil now and plant them out in 2 weeks so they have a great jump-start.  

Lastly, keep an eye on the weather.  If frost is likely to occur add a row cover for protection or even build a low tunnel or caterpillar tunnel. Tunnel Vision Hoops LLC This will extend your harvest season well into the fall for fresh baby salad greens in November or even December.

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