Second Summer Gardening

When we talk about “second summer”, we are referring to the time in late summer when temperatures start to cool and the days are noticeably shorter, signaling the approach of autumn, but there are still a few more weeks, even months, when you can enjoy your garden. The air is cooler, which is easier on the plants –and gardeners! – and the soil is still warm, allowing roots to grow quickly. Pests and diseases slow down and there are fewer weeds to cope with. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your second summer.

  • Start planting as soon as the weather regularly stays below 85 degrees, and stop planting 6 weeks before the first hard frost. You should be able to add an extra two months of harvest to your garden!   
    *Bonus* Extend you season even further by adding a floating row cover or cold frame!

    Many of the vegetables you grew last spring may also grow in the fall. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale should be started inside in late summer and planted in the fall. 
  • September is the best time to plant tulip, daffodil, hyacinth and crocus bulbs. These hardy bulbs need a cold period in order to set their flowers for next spring.
  • Do you think fall gardening is all about veggies? Think again! Pansies and violas love the cool weather and will bloom all fall if you deadhead them. Leave them over the winter and they’ll bloom all spring until summer!

©2023 W.Atlee Burpee & Co