If you enjoy growing vegetables but have never delved into fall gardening, it’s time to add a new adventure to your list of accomplishments.
Fortunately, I think that you’ll discover that planting a fall garden is just as rewarding and even easier than gardening during the spring and summer seasons.
The Joy of Fall Vegetable Gardening
It’s the middle of October here in South Central Pennsylvania, prime gardening season. That’s right, fall gardening really does have some advantages for the determined vegetable gardener. There’s no sweating through hot and humid weather, swatting at hordes of knats or mosquitoes, and no need to lug around the hose or watering can.
All of the pictures in this post were taken during the latter stages of October here in my Zone 6 region. Regardless of your growing region, it’s a cinch to extend your vegetable gardening far beyond the normal season. My fall gardens continue to be productive well into the month of December.
Great Vegetables for Fall Garden Production
The key to successful fall gardening hinges on planting the right types of fall vegetable varieties at the proper time for your region. Many vegetables prefer the cool growing conditions of autumn, and will even withstand and benefit from exposure to the cold and frosts. My favorite winter vegetables include: leafy kale, collards, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, rutabagas, beets, carrots, Swiss chard, leeks, oriental greens, endive, and lettuce.
I begin planting fall garden crops in mid to late summer, giving the plants plenty of time to mature before winter sets in. Keep in mind that your plants will grow slower as the weather cools and the days become shorter. It may take a little experimenting and tracking of your results to determine the ideal planting times for fall vegetables in your growing region.
Extra Protection for Fall Vegetable Plants
Fall gardening can also help you get a jump on spring by planting crops that will germinate in the fall, survive the winter under a light mulch of straw or shredded leaves, and then resume growth at the first sign of spring arriving. Vegetables that will thrive under this treatment include: garlic, shallots, kale, collards, spinach, mache, and certain varieties of lettuce.
In some areas, growing cold hardy vegetables will enable you to harvest fresh food from the garden year round. Even in a far northern climate, a little protection in the form of a cold frame will provide you with fresh greens when the garden is completely covered by snow. You may be surprised by just how productive and enjoyable your fall gardening escapade becomes.
For more details on fall vegetable gardening check out my new backyard gardening ebook: “Amazing Secrets to Growing Luscious Fruits and Vegetables at Home” which includes an entire chapter devoted to fall gardening techniques.
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