Welcome! It is that time of year again where the leaves start to fall and the growing season ends? Or does it? Some people stop growing in Fall or Autumn (depending on where you’re from), but a few people know that this isn’t so! We are going to discuss which vegetables are best suited for the cold climate, when and where to plant these vegetables as well as taking the precautions to protect them.
I hope you are looking forward to your harvest! Let’s brighten up your day for the coming season!
In this section I want to offer more than a list of vegetables that can be planted in Fall. I had a look at all these plants and I’ve compiled a list of characteristics to look for when considering your harvest. Compare the species you want to plant against this list, and you’ll see which morphological characteristics to look for that will ensure they’ll survive the colder season.
Dark Leaves – This is to ensure that your plant captures as much sunlight as possible. The darker the leave the more chlorophyll it has to generate energy (sugars) for growth. An example of this is Kale.
Broad Leaves – The more broad the leaves, the more surface area is available to produce energy for growth. Smaller, more intricate leaves, have the potential to die during extreme cold and frost.
Bunched or Compact Growth – When the plant grows in a compact spot, its leaves will cover the most vulnerable areas during the cold season. If it was spread, more surface area is exposed to the cold and more harm will come during extreme weather conditions. A thick undergrowth offers the same protection, meaning the closer you plant your vegetables to each other, the more they will be protected. An example of this is lettuce.
Thick Green Stems – By having a thick stem, more of the important areas (insides) of the plant will be protected. If the stem is green, it will also contain chlorophyll to help with photosynthesis.
Root & Tuber Crops – The soil offers great protection against the cold which means vegetables that are produced underground are ideal for cold weather sowing. Examples of this include onion, carrots and potatoes.
Now that you know which characteristics to look for we can continue on to the vegetables that will survive the cold weather. Have a look at the list below; they are all non-GMO seeds. For a greater variety visit Amazon!
Top Soil Species
Tuber & Root species
There are several factors you need to take into consideration when picking the time to sow. As every environment has a different climate, trust in your instinct and experience over the years of living in that region to help you. If you are new, consult your local nursery on the times when frosty weather will arrive.
You may start sowing any time from 12 weeks foregoing signs of frost. The intermediate period would be any time between 10 weeks and 4 weeks. It is also dependent on the time it takes for your crop to be harvested. You do not want to plant cabbage 4 weeks before frosty weather arrives in your region. The faster your crop grows, the closer to the frost period you can sow it. I would stop sowing 4 weeks prior to frost.
To make sure you have a consistent harvest, sow a new batch of seeds regularly (i.e. a week). If you are interested in ensuring faster crop growth read my article on raised garden beds.
I have touched on this topic in several of my articles. I discuss ways to improve your gardening methods. If you are interested in reading it have a look at my list of articles here:
Apart from regularly managing your garden, you can take extra care for your crop by modifying your garden against the cold weather.
Top Soil Protection
You can protect your soil by adding mulch to it. Snow also acts as an insulator but to avoid damage, remove excess snow from your plants. To avoid tender plants from being damaged, consider using mesh to cover them. When your crop has grown considerably you can stack mulch against it, almost like an anthill, which should offer more insulation.
By keeping your soil moist, it will retain more heat than its surroundings and thus adding more protection to your crop.
Location is key
Remember this; warm air rises, cold air descends. By planting your crop in a lower area in your yard, it will have a higher potential of frost than higher areas.
Wind is a big factor when frost hits. It carries the cold weather; by breaking the wind with nets or mesh you buffer the wind and break its speed and thus its potential cold touch to your crop.
Do not Prune
Summer and Spring is ideal for pruning leaves. But when fall arrives, growing speed for plants decrease. Even when the leaves are damaged, leave them be!
Protect the Crowns
Having a damaged crown will leave your crop stunted and it needs time to recover and recover its growing stem. To avoid this, you can wrap a mesh around the crown during blitz cold fronts.
That’s it people! I hope you enjoyed this article. If you did, leave me a comment! What else would you like me to discuss before winter arrives? I am looking forward to hear from you!