You might think that harvest season means the end of planning, but there are several fall vegetables that will grow quickly and well in the cooler time before winter begins. Here’s what you need to know about growing fall vegetables.
Just like with spring planting, you have to time things right if you want your plants to grow well. You still need to avoid frost, but you need to think backward from what you normally would.
The easiest way to plan the timing is to figure out the first fall frost date your area has. From there, figure out how long the vegetables you’re planning need to grow. Use that number to count back from the frost date, and then add an extra couple of weeks to allow for slower fall growth and security against the frost.
Clearly, not all vegetables are good choices for fall planting. You’ll want to plant crops that grow quickly and will survive a frost. You might also want a few that will survive the winter and grow next spring.
Some of the best options for fast growth include arugula, spinach, turnips, and radishes. Spinach can even survive snow and produce the next spring. Options like carrots, brussels sprouts, collards, swiss chard, green onions, broccoli, cabbage, and beets can handle frost well.
Regardless of what option you choose, pick early maturing seeds. If you are planting things to stay in the ground all winter, research how to take care of those plants during that time. When you’re shopping, look for seeds that are discounted to save some money on your garden expenses.
One of the most important things you can do is make sure the garden is ready to support growth, especially if you’ve used it all summer.
First, weed the garden and remove any plants that are no longer going to produce. Then add some compost into the garden to bring back nutrients that may have depleted earlier in the year.
During the time you grow fall vegetables, keep a close eye on your garden. Water the garden regularly, especially when it is still warm outside. Most fall vegetables need about an inch of water a week, and most will do best with watering all at once instead of several light waterings during the week.
You’ll also want to protect your garden from frost. Covering the garden with a row cover, tarp, or even an old sheet can help protect delicate plants.
If you take care of your garden during that final growing season, you’ll be able to have delicious fall vegetables to enjoy.