You can extend the growing season with delicious greens and veggies that thrive in cooler weather.

DENVER — As you continue to harvest the bounty of your summer garden (oh those run-away zuchinni!), now is the time to start planning and planting your fall garden.

While it pains me to say “as summer draws to a close,” you can extend the growing season and watch your garden transform into a blanket of delicious greens with lettuce, spinach and kale along with a bright pop of red from beets and radishes. Just like planting in the spring, these will be veggies that thrive in the cooler fall weather.

Garden centers should now have fall vegetable starts in stock as well as their ongoing selection of seeds.

I’m a sucker for a well-weathered whiskey barrel and I plant a variety of vegetables in mine all season long.

It’s easy to start lettuce, kale, spinach, beets, radish and carrots directly from seed. I started my cabbage, broccoli and swiss chard using small vegetable starts.

Here’s a tip that I learned from my dad. Because carrot seeds are so tiny, they sometimes have a hard time germinating and pushing through the dense Colorado soil. Mix in a few radish seeds when you sow your carrots.

Radishes will germinate first, opening the soil and allowing the carrots to push through a little easier. You can thin out the carrots as they mature or grow the crops together. Remember to follow the directions for planting on the seed packet.

Keep the soil moist until your seedlings germinate. Dry soil is murder to slow growing beets and carrots.

Use a good GROW fertilizer (higher in nitrogen) on the established plants and fertilize them once every 10 days. It’s important to get the plants up and growing so they can take in the last of summer heat.

Fall gardening is productive and rewarding. You don’t need a big garden space; you can simply plant up a pot with lettuce seeds…you’ll literally have a salad bowl!

Now that I’ve saved my peach harvest from the greedy squirrels in my garden, I’m going to see if I can schmooze my mom into making one of her famous peach pies! With a little vanilla ice cream we will have the perfect late summer dessert.

More Proctor’s Garden:

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