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Heather's Helpful Hint

Cool Season Crops
September 16, 2010

If you're ready for another gardening project this year, why not try planting a fall herb and vegetable garden? Fill in those empty spaces left behind after harvesting your summer crops with some delicious and nutritious cool weather crops. If you're lucky, and Mother Nature cooperates, you could be cooking with spices and eating vegetables fresh from the garden along with your Thanksgiving Day turkey. 

In general, vegetables that grow best in cool weather are leafy greens, root crops, and various members of the cabbage family. This includes beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, peas, chard, endive, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, collards, spinach, oriental vegetables like Chinese cabbage and bok choy, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts.

Hardier herbs to plant consist of chives, mints, oregano, parsley, sage, and thyme. Basil, cilantro, dill, and rosemary are tender and can be grown in pots where they may be easily moved if temperatures dip into the 50's.

All the vegetables listed above can easily survive a light frost if provided with some kind of protection, and some can even make it through a hard frost. Established herbs will be fine.

To protect from frost, keep an ear tuned to your local nightly weather forecast starting in early October. When frost is predicted, be ready with some kind of protection. Options range from commercially manufactured row covers, cloches, polyethylene blankets, and corrugated fiberglass covers to simple household items like used gallon milk jugs with their bottoms removed or old towels and bed sheets thrown over plants the evening that frost is forecasted.

While many gardeners shun the frosts of fall, it is good to note that the beautiful Indian summer weather that often follows the first frost or two is some of the best growing weather of the year for cool weather plants. 

Stop by today to pick up your cool season vegetable plants, herbs, and seeds!

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