What Kids Can Grow in a Fall Garden

by Kimberley McGee
gardening in the desert
Summer is waning, although it may not feel like it, and fall is on the way. In the garden, that means it’s prep time. The growing season in Las Vegas is shorter than spring, but it is long enough to get some good veggie crops in. Some seeds should be started now to be transplanted to the outdoor garden bed or a good container on the porch or patio.

Gardening and Homeschooling

We put gardening in our homeschool schedule around the end of August. It gets us outside and active and is a signal that the homeschool year has started. We have some units on the cycle of seeds and weather to pair with our homeschool gardening. A good way to know what to plant when is to look at the number of days the veggies you plan to harvest will need to mature. If you plant in mid-August, you will have roughly 15 weeks left in the growing season. Plan to harvest no later than the last week in November and you should be just fine. I turn to online resources like Garden to figure out what we’ll be planting and when. Kids can learn a lot from a fall garden and have crops ready for holiday meals.

Crops for Little Learners

Beans can be sown directly into the garden Aug. 14-Sept. 13. They pop up fairly quickly and put on a good show. Grow one seed per small pot indoors. Place one pot in a room with indirect light and another on a sunny windowsill. Take notes on the growth rate, water given per plant and eventual pods for an easy gardening unit. Beet seeds can go into the outdoor garden around Sept. 13-Oct. 28 This ian easy crop for kids to grow and can be put in a pot indoors or on a patio. Broccoli seeds can be started now indoors and transplanted into an outdoor garden Aug. 14-Sept. 28. You can also throw in a small, wide pot and grown as micronutrients. Carrots can be put straight in the garden Aug. 29 through Oct. 28. These are another easy crop for kids to grow in pots on a porch or patio. Chard is ready to grow in the outdoor garden Aug. 14 through Oct. 28. This is a colorful and healthy crop that kids can see quick results from within a week of pushing into a pot or outdoor garden bed. Collards can be sown indoors through Sept. 13 and transplanted to the garden Aug. 29 through Oct. 13. Cucumbers can be sown directly in the ground Aug. 14-29.

Big Crops for Outdoor Beds

Brussel Sprouts and cabbage can be sown indoors now through next week and transplanted planted in the garden Aug. 14-Sept. 28. Cantaloupe can be sown directly into the garden right now, but get a move on so those big, juicy fruits can have enough time to ripen! Cauliflower needs to be in pots under a grow light indoors now and then transplanted in the garden Aug. 14 through Sept. 29. Once the seedlings are strong and have a few sets of leaves, place them outdoors for a few hours in the morning to get used to the wind and outdoor environment. Plant them in the outdoor garden with enough space to grow. They get big!

Lettuce and Leafy Green Crops

Kale and Kohlrabi can be started indoors this week and transplanted outdoors through Sept. 28. Lettuce can be grown all year in a pot in a sunny windowsill. Seedlings can be transplanted to the outdoor garden Sept. 28- Oct. 28. Parsley will grow outdoors August 29 through October 13 if you started it inside. I grow it year round in pots in the kitchen. Keep it sunny and don’t overwater. Spinach can be started indoors now through Sept. 28 and transplanted in the garden or sown in the garden directly Sept. 13- Oct. 28.

Salsa Garden for Fun

Garlic can go directly into the outdoor garden Sept. 13 through Oct. 28. These are fun to grow in pots on a windowsill all year. Peppers can be transplanted to the garden through next week. Give them a bit of cover if you can. They also grow well in deep pots. Tomatoes need to be out in the sun this next week to have enough time to get good crops in. Pair them with peppers and give them some cover through August if you can.

Holiday Garden Crops

Corn is a great fall crop! A few stalks give the garden a fall vibe and can produce a few ears for fun. The seeds can be planted directly into the outdoor garden Aug. 14 through Aug. 29. Early corn varieties have a harvest time of around 63 days. Gourds, squash and pumpkins in the ground this week. If you’ve grown them indoors, harden the seedlings by leaving them outside a few hours a day before planting. Peas can be put in the garden through Sept. 28, although Southern peas need to be sown in the outdoor garden this week. Turnips can go directly in the ground Oct. 13 through Nov. 12 for a delicious holiday side dish.

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