Q. Could you help me get a fall garden going? Please send me a list of crops that grow in Las Vegas. I live in the northwest area off of Ann Road and Jones in Las Vegas
A. I posted a calendar for planting in the fall on my blog. Download a copy there but I will give you a rundown of the crops which are normally started this time of year in the eastern Mojave Desert.
First, some background. There are two planting times each year. Plant cool season vegetables and herbs that withstand frost and cold during the late summer, fall, winter and spring months. Plant the warm season, winter-tender vegetables and herbs when danger of frost has passed and into the mid-summer months. Warm season crops die or perform poorly during cold or freezing weather.
Even though it’s still hot now, this is the time of year to plant several fall and winter crops. Notice that I said many, not all. Exact planting dates vary with soil and air temperatures, the time plants require before they are ready to harvest as well as the quality of the end product.
Cool season crops that require 60 or more days before harvesting will be just fine if planted now. It is too early to plant crops like radishes which are ready to harvest in 30 days.
Exact planting dates vary with your garden microclimate. Gardens located in warm microclimates have different planting dates from those gardens in cooler microclimates. If you are lucky enough to have a landscape with more than one microclimate, you can stagger your planting dates so that the same crops mature a few days or even a week or two apart.
Plant gardens that face West or South later in the fall but earlier in the spring. Gardens facing east or north are planted in the reverse order.
The following vegetables can be planted during September from seed or seed pieces for fall, winter and spring harvest: beets, broccoli, carrots, collards, endive, Irish potatoes, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, peas, rutabagas, spinach and Swiss chard.
The following could be planted as small transplants: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, celery and Chinese cabbage. If temperatures are unusually hot, delay putting in transplants until weather cools off a bit.
Mulch the soil to keep the seeds and roots of transplants moist and cool.