By -Georgia Lund-
Is It Too Late to Plant Now for a Fall Vegetable Garden?
Fall vegetable gardening differs from summertime gardening and in some ways is more rewarding too. As the weather cools down in fall, working in the garden is more enjoyable than it is during the heat of summer. Certain vegetables that refuse to grow in the heat of summer can now be planted and harvested in the cooler temperatures.
Deciding if it is too late to plant a fall vegetable garden in your region is easy to determine, and so are the plant choices, with these tips.
Find out the first frost date predicted for your region, then count the days between now and that date. That will determine how many days you have to plant, grow and harvest fall vegetables.
If for example, the first frost date predicted for your region is November first and it is now the last week in August, you will have approximately 65-70 days in which to grow and harvest cool season vegetables. The earlier predicted frost date, the shorter amount of growing time you will have.
Fall Vegetable Choices
Some vegetables can tolerate light frost and still be edible. Brussels sprouts and collard greens develop a sweeter and milder flavor if a light frost falls on them in early autumn. However, it is best to select vegetables to grow that will reach maturity before the first frost.
Choose cool season vegetables, like broccoli, cabbage, carrots, chard, kale, lettuce, mustard, onions, and radishes to grow in a fall garden. If the first frost comes earlier than predicted, this vegetable will survive, maybe with the outer leaves slightly frost-burnt, but edible.
The toughest cool season vegetables to plant are beets, brussels sprouts, carrots, collards, parsley, and spinach. These plants can survive below freezing temperatures and frost.
After deciding which vegetables to grow, select seed varieties that reach maturity quickly. Each seed packet will list how many days it will take from the time the seed is planted until a time the produce is ready to harvest. This will let you know if there is enough time left in the season to grow that variety of vegetable.
Never Too Late
Unless the ground is frozen solid, it is never too late to plant a fall vegetable garden. Something can almost always be grown and harvested, if it has some protection from the elements. Radishes, baby carrots, green onions, lettuce and kohlrabi only need 30 days to reach harvest and can easily be grown in containers placed on an outdoor deck that provides them protection from cold nighttime temperatures and chilly winds.
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