By the time fall rolls around, your tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, green beans and other summer annual vegetables might be looking a little worse for wear. In many climate zones, a fall crop of cabbage family plants, lettuce, snow peas, Swiss chard and some root crops like green onions will do fine and can provide fresh veggies for your Thanksgiving dinner. Cool-season vegetables planted in September will extend your summer growing season until really cold weather arrives, and in temperate climates will continue producing until spring, when you can start up more tomatoes and zucchini.
Pull out summer annual vegetables that have stopped producing or that have begun to fade. Clean up the area where they grew by raking it to reduce the possibility of fungal diseases that might exist in your old summer plants.
Dig one part compost into your planting area for every four parts of soil. You can also add other organic ingredients such as fallen leaves, grass clippings, wood chips or sawdust. The richer the soil, the better for your fall vegetables.
Plant bedding plants of lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and other vegetables that are available at your nursery in September. Dig small holes for bedding plants and then fill them in firmly after you set your plant into the ground. Water the area with a sprinkler for 20 minutes.
Plant seeds of snow peas, Swiss chard, onions, carrots, turnips and other root crops. Make rows for seeds by digging a narrow trench with your hoe and then scatter seeds as instructed on their package. Cover with additional soil/compost and then water the area with a sprinkler for 20 minutes.
Mulch plants and seeded areas with a 2- to 3-inch layer of compost or wood chips to help keep the soil warmer and to provide continuous nutrients during the fall growing season.
Feed your plants a balanced fertilizer four weeks after you plant them. A fertilizer having an N-P-K ratio of 10-10-10 is appropriate. Follow label instructions for mixing and applying fertilizer.