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Planting a fall garden in zone 4

 
pollinator
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Location: Minnesota
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I'm a long-time gardener for spring and summer gardening and have quite a few perennial crops on our property, but I'd really like to plant a fall garden this year, especially as I missed out on some spring crops because we were sick this year.  We're in zone 4 Minnesota and I know to look for really short season stuff at this point and for things that can take some frost.  

Anybody experienced with planting fall gardens in similar climates who has favorite crops to plant?  TIA!
 
pioneer
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Location: Douglas County, WI zone 4a 105 acres
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Me too - just pulled out"bolting/flea beetle-destroyed" ... what's next? Have already planted 2nd crop beans. Zone 4 looks like 50% chance of freeze is Oct 21.
Hugs all and TYVM!
 
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I'm in zone 3 and will be resowing lettuce and spinach in a couple weeks.
 
master pollinator
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I lived in MN between Brainerd and Walker for 4 years. If I had to do it again, I would have a high tunnel.  
 
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I think you can still get broccoli going now for a fall harvest.  Maybe peas, beets and certainly greens and radishes.  I think our average frost date is more like late September.  I'm zone 4a...
 
gardener
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Location: Ontario - Gardening in zone 3b, 4b, or 6b, depending on the day
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Also in zone 4 with a mid-late Sept last frost date.

My plan is to plant next week carrots (will be small but tasty), beets, and daikon radishes, maybe lettuce as it didn't germinate in the spring. I might plant peas now that i've thought of it, but if I do, I will presoak them overnight so that they have a chance of sprouting and need less watering. I'm also considering either a second sowing of raab brocolli, or turnips.

Curious to hear what others are planning too!
 
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We started fall kale and napa in plug trays on July 15th and this morning direct seeded winter radish and turnips. We do lettuce on August 15, September 1st and 15th with the later plantings in window boxes that are brought indoors for harvest until the Solstice. Parsnips for spring germination go in the ground as late as possible before the ground freezes, end of October to November 1st. Garlic gets planted by mid October. This schedule has worked for decades for us in SE Minnesota. Friends in this area do spinach in early August for fall eating and early September for over-wintering. Peas are frost tolerant but their blossoms aren't. It's the kind of crop that may occasionally work in the fall but most years doesn't yield. We've never planted carrots later than July 1st. In looking at days to maturity of a variety you need to take into account that the days are getting shorter and eventually cooler, so it will take longer to mature a fall planted crop than the same variety in the spring. As for broccoli, the sprouting types like Piracicaba and Purple Peacock will produce some shoots all season until frost from an early spring planting. Yes they go to seed (which you can harvest) but the plants keep going until they freeze.
 
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Thank you for asking this- I’m interested to see what others have to say. I live on the WI/MN border and a fall garden seems really tricky here- there isn’t much time between the oppressive heat/humidity and the first frost date. We don’t eat much of the shorter growing veggies either.

My plan for next year to continue the harvest later is to plant long growers more successively: perhaps in two or more plantings spaced 2-3 weeks apart. Taking advantage of some of my microclimates will help too. For example this year I was late getting my broccoli & cauliflower out (May 20th I think). Those in all day sun went to seed without crowning, but those with only morning or afternoon sun are doing well. I think the varieties I have can last through summer here if they get shade in the hottest part of the afternoon. Because they can tolerate frost, I’m thinking I could plant them as late as the end of July to harvest the end of October. If they never form heads, the leaves are still delicious. I’ve had no luck with Brussels sprouts yet, but I think I could do the same with them. Peas will also work well.

I guess I wouldn’t try with things like tomatoes or pumpkins that give you nothing If they don’t make it to maturity before frost- although I have had luck ripening green tomatoes on the stems if brought in before frost. I think a traditional fall garden would be difficult. In WA state I had from September-December for such a garden. Not so out here.  
 
Mike Haasl
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I think Larisa has some great advice and experience in this department.  S Greyzoll, are you closer to Iowa or Superior along the border?  I think Larisa is a bit closer to Iowa than Superior.  My experienced community gardeners plant fall broccoli out on July 1st in northern WI.  

I've had the same experience as Larisa with fall peas.  They'll grow but it seems like getting a crop is rare.  If you plant them too soon they'll die in the summer heat.  Too late and no crop.  And you can't predict how each summer/fall will go.
 
S Greyzoll
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Mike Haasl wrote:  S Greyzoll, are you closer to Iowa or Superior along the border?  I think Larisa is a bit closer to Iowa than Superior



I’m about smack-dab in between, along the I-94 corridor.
 
Larisa Walk
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S Greyzoll wrote:

Mike Haasl wrote:  S Greyzoll, are you closer to Iowa or Superior along the border?  I think Larisa is a bit closer to Iowa than Superior



I’m about smack-dab in between, along the I-94 corridor.



Are you close to Menomonie? We've got good friends there with tons of experience. I always learn something new when we get together for a visit.
 
S Greyzoll
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Larisa Walk wrote:

S Greyzoll wrote:

Mike Haasl wrote:  S Greyzoll, are you closer to Iowa or Superior along the border?  I think Larisa is a bit closer to Iowa than Superior



I’m about smack-dab in between, along the I-94 corridor.



Are you close to Menomonie? We've got good friends there with tons of experience. I always learn something new when we get together for a visit.



That is our nearest city.
 
Larisa Walk
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Do you know Jim and Jan Erdman? They are a great font of knowledge on gardening and solar/wind systems.
 
S Greyzoll
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Larisa Walk wrote:Do you know Jim and Jan Erdman? They are a great font of knowledge on gardening and solar/wind systems.



Oh, we don’t know anyone at all. We’ve only lived out here since last fall and we don’t get out much.
 
Larisa Walk
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S Greyzoll wrote:

Larisa Walk wrote:Do you know Jim and Jan Erdman? They are a great font of knowledge on gardening and solar/wind systems.



Oh, we don’t know anyone at all. We’ve only lived out here since last fall and we don’t get out much.



Not a good time to try to socialize in a new area. Jan posts her garden tasks and harvests pretty regularly on Facebook. You could try to "meet" her there. Menomonie seems to have an active alternative community and they have a very nice food co-op and a new farmer's market pavillion that we've only seen photos of.
 
S Greyzoll
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Larisa Walk wrote:

S Greyzoll wrote:

Larisa Walk wrote:Do you know Jim and Jan Erdman? They are a great font of knowledge on gardening and solar/wind systems.



Oh, we don’t know anyone at all. We’ve only lived out here since last fall and we don’t get out much.



Not a good time to try to socialize in a new area. Jan posts her garden tasks and harvests pretty regularly on Facebook. You could try to "meet" her there. Menomonie seems to have an active alternative community and they have a very nice food co-op and a new farmer's market pavillion that we've only seen photos of.



Yeah, it’s a terrible time to try and meet people! We do shop at the co-op. It’s spendy but I appreciate the local sourcing I feel like the money is staying local and supporting locals. Like grocery shopping and paying into a community fund. For now we can afford to do so, and so we do. I also told my partner it seems like a great place to meet likeminded people. There is a small but strong alt culture here we will try to break into as we can. We have not been to the farmers market, due to the pandemic. I might try soon now that the state has a mask mandate though.

Off topic, but I’ve not had Facebook or other social media for a few years now. I do miss out on a lot of hobby groups and opportunities to meet folks, but my life has been made much simpler in other ways by the decision. It’s unfortunate that so many small businesses in my neck of the wood use it as their business page/website. I’m hoping that changes one day.

Perhaps once the pandemic is a bit more under control I can private message you for their email or offer mine to them. I would love the opportunity to offer some labor/time in exchange for learning new things if they’d be interested.
 
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