As autumn quickly approaches and garden vegetables begin to wither, don’t put away your garden tools and watering can quite yet. There are garden vegetables that thrive in the cool temperatures of fall, and you still have a chance to harvest bumper crops of corn, lettuce, spinach, and other tasty vegetables.
If you’re not ready to put away your garden gloves consider planting the following fall vegetables. Leaf lettuce prone to bitterness in the hot months of summer will be crisp, mild, and definitely tasty. Fall corn is sweeter than the sweetest sweet corn of summer because the sugar becomes concentrated on warm autumn days and cool autumn nights.
Plant these fall crops before it’s too late. While everyone else is cleaning out their garden, you’ll still be harvesting delicious vegetables that thrive in the fall.
Calculating Days to Maturity for a Fall Crop
The first thing to consider when planning an autumn vegetable garden is the average days to maturity for specific vegetables. During warm summer months, the metabolic process of growth is much faster than it is during the cool months of fall, but don’t let this deter you from planting a fall vegetable garden.
To calculate if certain cool weather crops are feasible for your hardiness zone, consider the average number of days until maturity, and add a couple of weeks to the projected date. If the expected date of the first frost in your area falls before the probable date of maturity, consider growing that crop in your fall vegetable garden. If the date is close, consider using cold frames or row covers in an effort to extend the growing season beyond the first hard frost of autumn.
Vegetables to Consider
Spinach is an excellent choice for a fall vegetable garden. The average date of maturity for spinach is between fifty and sixty days. Select the earliest varieties for best results, and if you properly cover your spinach before the first hard frost and keep it protected over winter, your spinach will probably be alive and well come spring.
Radishes take only twenty five to thirty days before they reach maturity; so if your area has a shorter growing season, consider planting fall radishes. If properly covered and cared for during bouts of frost, chances are you’ll be enjoying fresh radishes with your Thanksgiving dinner.
Lettuce is also an excellent choice for fall vegetable gardens. Leaf lettuce takes between forty to fifty days to maturity, and in the fall, leaf lettuce is less likely to bolt and become bitter than summer lettuce crops.
These are just a few of the vegetables to consider for an autumn vegetable garden. Visit your local garden center and consult the growing instructions on the backs of seed packets. Use the method of calculation previously mentioned, and plant the most viable crops for your location. Chances are the seeds will be priced for clearance, and your fall vegetable garden will be a bargain in more ways than one.