Many vegetables are well adapted to planting in the summer for fall harvest, which will extend the gardening season so you can continue to harvest fresh produce after earlier crops have finished producing. The fall harvest can be extended even further if you protect the plants from early frosts or plant them in cold frames or hotbeds.
Many cool-season vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, produce their best flavor and quality when they mature during cool weather. In Alabama, the spring temperatures often heat up quickly making vegetables such as lettuce and spinach bolt or develop a bitter flavor when they mature during hot summer weather.
Growing a productive fall vegetable garden requires thoughtful planning and good cultural practices. In Alabama, August and September are the main planting times for a fall garden. Depending on your specific location, you may need to adjust the planting dates. For a more accurate planting schedule, determine the average date of the first killing frost in the fall, and then count backward from the frost date, using the number of days to maturity to determine the best time to plant in your area.
For detailed information on planning your fall garden, check out "Basics of Fall Vegetable Gardening"
Extension Vegetable Specialist/Professor, Auburn University
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