THE COOL SEASON VEGETABLE GARDEN
As with most other plants, Fall is an excellent time to plant vegetables! Many vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower are of a higher quality when grown in the Fall, while others, like kale, develop better flavor after a frost. Spinach, chard, kale, collards, mustard, and arugula all grow rapidly and flourish at the end of the season, ideal for autumn gardening! Loose-leaf lettuces also do well. Now is the time to increase the ROI of your vegetable plot and plant cool season vegetables for the autumn table.
PREPARING THE GARDEN
- With both in-ground and raised beds, begin your Fall vegetable garden preparation by pulling out the spent Summer vegetable plants that are no longer producing.
- Remove all weeds and all other debris from the bed as well.
- GARDEN BEDS: Spread and rake out evenly, across the entire garden bed, a 3-inch layer of Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Soil Builder [Eastern & Midwestern Regions | Western Region].
- RAISED BEDS: If you plan to begin a new vegetable garden this Fall, a raised bed is the way to go. If you’re in the Eastern and Midwestern Regions, simply fill the entire bed with Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Soil Builder. If you’re in the Western Region, fill your entire bed with Masters’ Pride Professional Potting Soil.
- Following the directions on the bag, sprinkle Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Tomato and Vegetable Food on the surface of the soil.
- Till or spade the area to completely incorporate both the soil and vegetable food.
- Now you’re ready to plant!
BEST VEGETABLES FOR THE GARDEN
- Brussels Sprouts
- Swiss Chard
- Lettuce, Head
- Lettuce, Leaf
CARING FOR THE GARDEN
It is important to know the average first frost date of your garden location. This will assist you in determining your planting deadlines so that your vegetables are producing and ready to harvest before it gets too cold. Some autumn vegetable varieties will tolerate cold better than others. Read seed packets carefully to determine what vegetables will grow best in your area and to calculate how much time you have to grow a particular one. Note that some vegetables, like greens, may be harvested when they are young and even more tender and nutritious. This will reduce the quoted days of maturity. If you happen to be short on time, purchasing small Fall vegetable plants from your local Master Nursery® Garden Center will reduce your growing time even further.
Whether starting seeds inside, direct seeding, or planting vegetable starts, always water your garden well and keep it moist, not wet, to help your plants to thrive. Mulch your bed with straw or salt hay to help moderate soil temperature and retain soil moisture.
Later in the season, some Fall crops may benefit from a little extra protection from the elements. A cold frame constructed or placed over the vegetable garden, or hoops with frost fabric on them, will help protect your vegetable garden from cold weather and frost, extending your season further.
Harvest your Fall vegetables as soon as the plants reach edible size. Even after the first frost, you’ll be able to continue harvesting many Fall vegetables to use and enjoy in your favorite autumn dishes.