Fast growing fall plants for experimenting

Asked September 27, 2018, 9:22 AM EDT

Hi, I have some raised beds at my school that I wanted to use as experimental gardens for my middle school science class. We are learning how to design experiments and my students will be experimenting growing plants with different treatments ranging from various fertilizers, soil amendments, compost and spacing all with the goal of increasing plant growth. Given the time of year we are in, would you recommend any plants to use for this purpose? I am considering direct sowing spinach seeds and then using pvc hoop houses to protect against frost. Not sure if I've missed the window however for planting. I would like to put seeds in the ground by Oct. 4. Alternatively, I was considering planting garlic but I'm not sure they will sprout enough for us to take measurement before overwintering. Any advice would be appreciated, thanks. Carlos

New Castle County Delaware

1 Response

Hi Carlos, sounds like fun!

It's not too late to plant garlic, however, it's hard to say whether or not you'll get any growth this fall, or have to wait until spring.

It's not too late (although you can seed much earlier) to seed fall crops like arugula, turnip, radish, lettuce, spinach, kale, swiss chard, and others. Germination can be spotty, you might not get as much growth as you'd like, and your students will have to keep an eye on moisture and temps. Once the temps do dip then cover can definitely help. In fact, some crops like spinach and kale, with fall/winter cover, will keep growing!

Happy to discuss further if you want to drop me an email or give me a call 302-831-2506.

Good luck!