Growing a variety of cool season vegeatbles is the easiest way to have fresh food in your own backyard from fall through spring.
Today I want to talk to you about the types of vegetables that do good in the fall garden.
Almost any vegetable that you plant in early spring, such as lettuce or peas will work for the fall garden.
In fact, many of these vegetables will overwinter in the garden under cover!
Cool Season Vegetables
Cauliflower broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, mustard, turnips, winter squash, and sometimes pumpkin, if planted late enough in the year, will come up in the spring instead of starting to sprout and grow in the fall.
In fact, when you harvest your pumpkins for Halloween, there’s no reason to pull those vines up or even remove the pumpkins that you don’t intend to use.
Simply let them compost in place but be aware that the seeds inside the pumpkins will germinate the following spring – and if you till your garden it will spread those seeds to other areas where they could still germinate.
It is a well known fact that pumpkin and squash seed that has been put into a compost bin can germinate if the compost pile did not get hot enough to kill off the seeds.
Don’t Remove Cool Season Vegetables Too Soon In The Fall
People sometimes get in a hurry to clean up their garden at the end of the season.
While I understand wanting things to look nice or even preparing it for the following spring, you potentially are losing weeks worth of extended harvest by doing this.
Think about the cool season vegetables you are growing and if possible, leave those alone.
Try to wait until the frost and cold weather kills them back before removing them from your garden.
Some crops like kale, Swiss chard, Sunchokes and Brussels sprouts actually taste sweeter once frost has hit them.
Here in Indiana, USDA Hardiness Zone 5/6, I have had kale, Swiss chard and Brussels sprouts survive in the open garden into December and been able to harvest fresh vegetables for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Make Sure The Cool Season Vegetables Are Mature Before Frost
If you intend to cover your cool season vegeatbles with a cold frame or high tunnel to extend the harvest even further into winter, make sure the plants are mature size before the first frost in your area.
You can also use an unheated greenhouse in place of a high tunnel.
Unless the plants are ones that can survive a frost, cover the plants with a layer of row cover and then put a cold frame or high tunnel over them.
Doing this will protect many of these cool season vegetables throughout the winter, allowing you to harvest them exactly when you want them.