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  Make the Most of the Fall Season
with Cool Weather Vegetables

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While the winding down of summer always brings me an excuse to make lots of fried green tomatoes, it’s also a chance to get a few last crops in before the fall frost that comes inevitable around the middle to end of October.

All of those plants we enjoy each spring when we can’t wait to dig around in the dirt after months of snow and curling up with gardening catalogs for inspiration – are often perfect for a second go around in the fall.

Here are a few vegetables to try this fall:

  • Leafy, green things – try planting a few rows of spinach or leafy lettuce mixes like mesclun.  If you want to keep them growing for a while – try planting in long, plastic window box planters. These can be easily move indoors at night when there is a risk of frost and put back outside the next morning in a sunny, southern facing spot.
     

  • Deep rooted – radishes, beets and carrots are perfect to plant late August to early September for harvest late in the season.  Plus, they are great choices as they can be stored for use throughout the early days of winter.
     

  • A little bit of savory flavor – green onions need cool days and nights to sprout lots of great flavor for your salads and soups.  Plus, leeks are another great choice.
     

  • Cruciferous veggies – just another word for such hearty staples as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale and chard.  The strong flavors of these great vegetables are great for hearty fare of colder days.
     

  • Edible flowers – don’t forget these delicate blossoms for adding flavor and garnish. Pansies and marigolds will grow well this time of year and they'll add some color to your window boxes and pots. If you have lots of zucchini planted, keep harvesting the last of the blossoms for stuffing, pizzas and omelets.

If you’d like to extend your growing season, look for plans online for building cold frames you can put near your home’s foundation.  Not only can you use the cold frame for starting seeds outside earlier each spring, you can dig up and repot several late growing vegetables and keep them in the cold frame.  Cold frames can also be staked used in the garden.

And, don’t forget to mulch, mulch, mulch.  Whether it’s a bed you’re not going to use until next spring, or if you need to protect a fall crop, mulch is essential to protecting nutrients in your soil.

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