Cool Season Veggies for Your Fall Garden

It's almost that time again - time to kiss our tomatoes and cucumbers goodbye for the season and prep the garden with vegetables that can survive in the cooler months. While many gardeners may not be looking forward to the temperature dropping, look on the bright side - along with the chill comes fewer insects, more moisture in the air and less of those pesky weeds.

Here are some gardening tips and ideas to get you started on your fall garden:

Any kind of leafy green tends to do well in the cooler months. In fact, the cool temperatures are ideal for greens, as it helps them grow rapidly and in large quantities. Lettuce, spinach and arugula are just a few ideas of fall garden plants to grow in your garden for the upcoming seasons. These greens can be bought as a plant, but are just as easy to grow from a seed.

Broccoli is perfect for cool-season gardening. While the veggie can grow in temperatures as low as 40 degrees, it still needs full sun exposure and moist soil to harvest. Plant the seeds about 1/2" deep and 12" to 24" apart in moist, fertile soil. Broccoli may take longer to harvest than some leafy greens or peas, but the end result is well worth the wait.

The radish, which grows well in a pot or a raised bed, grows fast and easily in the fall and winter months. Radishes can harvest several crops each season, due to their rapid development rate. Radish seeds should be planted 1/2" to 1" deep and be spaced 1" apart. Expose radishes to plenty of sun because if they are too shaded, the plant will grow larger leaves rather than the actual bulb. Sow seeds every couple of weeks while the weather is still cool, for a constant harvest to enjoy all season long.

If you love to stir-fry veggies or enjoy a crunchy, healthy snack, snow peas are a cool-weather garden must. Plant seeds 1" deep, but if soil seems dry, plant deeper and about 2" apart. Keep the watering light until the first sight of a sprout, but make sure they get plenty of moisture from sprout to harvest. Snow peas can survive in temperatures as low as 19 degrees, but if it gets much colder, put a plastic sheet over them to keep the soil warm. Be sure to enjoy your peas soon after harvest, as they only stay fresh for about five days.

There are so many vegetables that survive, and in some cases thrive, in cool temperatures. There's nothing quite like harvesting your own vegetables to throw together a colorful salad or a hearty stew throughout the season. By following these fall garden tips, along with some TLC and a bit of patience, you can keep a beautiful garden of vegetables throughout the cooler months.


The Dirt from Troy-Bilt

September/October 2014