renee's articles

          Gardening for a Second Season        

Mid to late summer is an ideal time to plant seeds for a second gardening season that can be as productive as your major early spring plantings.

For a delicious and very nutritious cornucopia of fall meals, late summer is the time to plant juicy lettuces,  the cool -season aromatic herbs - dill, garlic chives, chervil, cilantro, arugula, and parsley; hearty greens like chard or kale; baby pak choi, and other Oriental greens; carrots, beets, leeks, peas, green onion, spinach, radishes, fennel and all the brassica family members.

Late planted crops have less competition from weeds and pests and grow beautifully with less garden work. In mild-winter areas of the country, you'll have great harvests in time for Thanksgiving and many crops will hold perfectly through the low light winter months without bolting to seed or becoming bitter tasting as they would in the heat of early summer.

It may seem odd to be starting new seeds when a lot of your summer produce like squash and tomatoes are still cranking, but it's well worth the effort. For reliable harvests in cooler weather, seedlings must have good initial growth and well-established root systems. The goal is to have fully grown, ready to pick plants that basically store themselves in the garden throughout the fall, so you can pick them as you need them over a long sustained harvest season.

Start seeds in containers or in a garden area with dappled sun or light shade -- wherever seeds can germinate comfortably out of the hot sun but still get plenty of light after seedlings are well-established. Plant in well-prepared moist soil and in the evening so they will have the advantage of cooler night temperatures to settle in and minimize shock. If daytime temperatures are still in the high 80's, shelter your newly transplanted seedlings with row covers or a shade cloths for a few days so they can adjust heat and sun.


To purchase Renee's Garden Seeds click here

Try these great recipes from
 Renee's cookbooks:

Carrot and Potato Soup with Lemon Thyme
California Stuffed Swiss Chard
Green Tomato Apple Pie

Once the seedlings have acclimated, don't forget to supply adequate moisture to these young crops and fertilize them regularly in the early growing stages. In USDA zones 8, 9, and 10, some fall -planted crops may overwinter as small plants and wait for spring temperatures to rise and daytime hours to get longer before heading or leafing up.

  Second Season Planting:
In cold winter areas: plant mid-summer.
In mild winter areas: plant mid-summer/early fall.


Vegetables Flowers


Beets Agrostemma


Broccoli Alyssum


Broccoli Raab Bishop's Lace


Carrots Calendula


Chard Cerinthe

Garlic Chives

Fennel, Bulbing Clarkia


Kale Cornflowers


Leeks Forget-Me-Nots
  Lettuce Foxglove
  Mache Larkspur
  Mustards Nigella


Pak Choi Pansies


Peas Poppies


Radishes Snapdragons


Salad Greens Stock


Scallions Sweet Peas




Stir Fry Greens