Colder weather has finally arrived but in some areas of the country there is still time to plant a vegetable garden. You heard me correctly, a vegetable garden! While warm weather crops like tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini get all the glory there are plenty of vegetables that you can plant right now and enjoy fresh vegetables into the New Year!
There are many good reasons to consider growing a vegetable garden in the fall. Soil temperatures remain warm, rainfall is more predictable and the cool nights help limit evaporation from the soil. This creates an environment that is ideal for germinating seeds of cool weather crops. Additionally, there are fewer weeds to contend with as most weeds are warmer weather plants and many of the insect pests that you have to contend with during the summer months are not as much of an issue in the cooler days of fall.
One of the characteristics that you may notice about these vegetables is that many of them grow very low to the ground. This is important as this keeps the plants close to the warmth and moisture in the soil. Additionally, these plants are also much less sensitive to frost and many of them, given just a little bit of extra protection such as a layer of mulch can do quite well into late fall even in garden zones 5 and 6.
The list of vegetables that you can grow in a fall garden is quite lengthy. Some of the better known ones are spinach, leaf lettuce and radishes but broccoli, kale and swiss chard are also quite popular. So, how do you know when it is time to plant these vegetables? The first piece of information that you want to obtain is when the first frost date in your area occurs. This can be easily found on the Internet. The next step is to review the seed package for the vegetable you are looking to plant where you will find information on the number of days it takes for the plant to reach its maturity date. You then simply take your first frost date and subtract the number of days to maturity from it and this tells you when to plant your seed.
You can find seed packages for these fall vegetables as well as plants if you prefer them here at Blooming Secrets. So, if you’ve never tried growing cool weather vegetables before why not give them a try this year?