October 28, 2012 – 1:34 am
Most people think of fall as the time for harvest and stockpiling food for the winter, but there are plenty cold-weather veggies that you can plant in the fall.
By: Rainier Fuclan
Most people think of fall as the time for harvest and stockpiling food for the winter, but there are actually plenty of cool- and cold-weather veggies that you can plant in the fall and grow throughout the cold months. Summer is obviously a difficult time to plant anything, but early autumn is a great time to take advantage of the lingering heat and fill your garden space with hardy greens and frost tolerant veggies. Make the most out of your fall gardening and wallet with these plants and crops.
Saving Money Tips
Fall gardening is a great time to garden for your household. The cool weather and end of the year deals are widely available at most garden nurseries. This is the best time to stock-up on most of your gardening supplies for the whole year. Take advantage of the deals on seeds or container-grown plants since nurseries are anxious to unload their stock before winter comes. Finally, since the weather is cooler this time of the year, you won’t have to water your plants as often as you would in the summer or spring, as watering is the biggest part of the gardening budget. Let’s take a look at specific plants and crops that will be perfect for your fall garden.
Different kinds of lettuce and kale are great for fall planting and can survive during some winters. Lettuces require more mild seasons, but kale is a very nutritious green that can survive even cold winters. Cold weather will actually sweeten the taste of lettuce, so don’t be afraid to let it grow. Just make sure to cover plants appropriately throughout the season.
Spinach can be grown throughout the winter, even in the coldest areas. While spinach won’t need much help during the cool months, make sure it has a light cover and your plants have enough space to grow. As you harvest throughout the winter, make sure to only take a few leaves from each plant at a time so it can produce throughout the season. You can minimize your watering needs by adding a soil conditioner like Soil2O to help your garden retain water beneath the light cover.
Transplant Flowering Vegetables
Broccoli and cauliflower can be a great addition to your fall garden, but you’ll have to time your planting carefully. Brassicas plants (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and more) require time during warm weather to grow to full size before late freezes, so it’s best to transplant them if you missed planting seeds in late summer. Transplants are easy to grow if you have the proper soil – slightly acidic – and just require you to do a little math as you plant. Add 10 days to the transplant’s maturity date and count backwards before your first expected frost, as you’ll want to harvest before the cold.
Garlic and Shallots
Though many people will wait until spring to plant these, autumn is a terrific time to plant garlic and shallots, and you’ll have plenty of them come summer time. Fall-planted garlic will give you much larger, full-size bulbs with terrific flavor. You’ll want to give your plants at least a month to get established before the ground freezes, causing the crop to go dormant. Don’t worry about this! As soon as the spring thaw comes around, you’ll see a lot of growth with a much bigger crop in the summer.
If you want to prepare crops for your spring harvest, the fall is a great time to plant late maturing rootcrops like carrots, beets or rutabaga. If you want to stock up on some quick growing plants, you’ll need about 30 days before the frost for chives, bunching green onions or radishes, but they make great additions to hearty home cooked meals, so you still have time to get these in the ground.
If you want fresh herbs throughout the cooler months, just dig up your herbs and grow them inside the house. Basil, rosemary, oregano, parsley, chives and more are great for indoor growing. Just make sure they have a sunny spot and try not to overwater them.
About the Author:
Rainier Fuclan is a freelance writer for mortgage banker New American Funding, offering a number of home financing options in 21 states throughout the country.