Planting a fall vegetable crop is just the thing to get you in the mood for a big pot of soup, and there's nothing nicer than being able to dash out to the garden to grab some cabbage or spinach to toss in the pot. Without a cold frame or greenhouse, you can grow winter vegetables until the first hard frost, and that's often long enough to bring in a sizeable harvest.
A good strategy is to identify the approximate date when you can expect the first killing frost in your area, and count backward the number of days needed for your vegetables to fully mature. Use that date as your planting date. Most plant seed packets will give dates to maturity that will help you put together a schedule.
The following vegetables make good autumn and winter crops:
- Leaf Lettuce
- Swiss Chard
You'll probably have fewer problems with pests in your fall vegetable patch, and if you have a long fall season, you may be able to plant successive autumn crops. Each winter vegetable is different in shape, size, color and zone to grow. Check your region on the USDA Hardiness Zone map to see if these vegetable will thrive in your backyard.
Tips and Tricks:
Need to buy a little more time to get the best yield from your vegetable patch? Plant near a south-facing wall or other windbreak and take advantage of the protection and higher temperatures to extend the growing season by a couple of weeks.
Lets move on to snowdrops, early bloomers that can ignore freezing temperatures.