I know you’re reading this title and thinking we’re nuts, but the truth is that in some areas of the country it is still planting season. If you’re fortunate enough to live in garden Zones 8 through 12 you can still be planting vegetables and herbs outdoors. Even if you’re not in one of these zones you might still be able to garden in a cold frame or if your property has microclimate conditions which allow for that extra warmth needed to keep your garden going. So, if you are one of these lucky souls this article is for you!
There are a lot of advantages to be gained by gardening at this time of year. Moisture is generally not a problem so you don’t have the same worries about having to water your garden like you do during other times of the year. Insects are also not as plentiful or active in cooler temperatures, but you still need to watch for damage from slugs and cabbage worms. The major problem that you face is the potential for sudden drops in temperatures, but if you keep materials such as cheesecloth or newspaper handy you can protect your crops from these changes in the weather.
Some of the tips and techniques that you would use at warmer times of the year still apply now. For example, succession planting, which involves planting seed or seedlings every 2 weeks, is a great way to ensure you have a steady supply of vegetables such as lettuce, radishes, beets and spinach. If you live in Zones 10, 11 or 12 you may even be able to plant warm weather crops such as peppers, tomatoes, and beans. Crop rotation is also a practice that you should consider. This involves making sure you don’t plant the same vegetables in the same parts of your garden which can deplete the soil and promote soil-borne diseases.
If you haven’t got a vegetable and herb garden yet…what are you waiting for! This is a great time to start one or to expand your current planting space. Finally, if you don’t have a large yard that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the ability to garden at this time of year. Containers and raised flower beds are also viable ways to grow vegetables and particularly herbs such as chives, oregano, and parsley. Try to keep these containers close to your kitchen door so you don’t forget to harvest what you are growing. After all, they say that the cooler weather makes everything taste a little better!