Planning your Winter Vegetable Garden
Whether we want to admit it or not, autumn is coming. Right now we are in the hot days of Summer, and we are continuing to collect our bounty from the summer garden of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and more. Before we accept that home grown veggies are done for the year, let’s start game planning what we want out of our winter gardens.
What Should We Plant? The hot summer days are prime for lots of our summer favorites, but many of our cool season vegetables will either bolt because of the heat, or will end up not tasting right. The autumn weather tends to be cooler and more damp which is friendly to these plants and allows them to have a nicer taste and a better texture. Below is a good list of vegetables to sow for the fall season:
Begin the Preparation
Once your summer veggies are done for the season we should begin removing those plants to make room for our next round. Once that is complete we need to prepare the soil. Lots of these vegetable plants have taken a lot of nutrients from the soil, and our new crop of plants will be taking in quite a bit of nutrients, as well. We should begin by adding some fertilizer, compost or some nice organic matter into the soil. We would recommend adding a liberal amount of organic fertilizer along with adding a mix of nice compost and turning that into your beds or containers.
Choosing Your Plants
When planning what you're going to grow it is crucial to keep in mind the amount of days it will take to harvest. We are up against the clock with an average first freeze date of early November in this area. If you plan on starting these from seed, then let's begin them early with the plan of transplanting the seedlings into the garden or larger container when they are ready. An example of these would be brassica plants, kale and carrots. Once you get those started, you can turn your attention to veggies that need less time from planting to harvest.
Be Patient and Reap your Fall Harvest
A fall harvest is nice and easy as the days are cooler and we tend to have some more rain then in the middle of the summer. This means that Mother Nature is doing a lot of the work for us. Instead of dragging the hose out and properly watering like we have been doing for a couple months, now we can watch our harvest grow and just observe to see if there are any pests disturbing our plants. Look out for cabbage loopers, cutworms, aphids and stink bugs to name a few.
Who says that your garden has to end when you pick your last cucumber or ear of corn? A nice fall crop is easy, rewarding and can add to a nice fall tradition. Who knows - maybe harvesting your own broccoli can be up there with college football and apple picking in the new fall traditions! What are some of your favorite vegetables to harvest in the fall? And do you have any nice recipes for your crop?