If your vegetable garden is anything like mine, some veggies are still healthy and bearing well like peppers and tomatoes, while others are listless and straggly, practically begging to be pulled up and out of their misery. I am constantly replanting lettuces and chards as I harvest but it’s time to be thinking about how to keep our gardens going through the fall and winter. Depending on where you live, certain summer vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, beans and squash will continue to grow until it gets too cold, certainly not surviving past the first freeze. There are many plants like greens, root crops like beets and carrots, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower and bulbs like onions can handle cooler temperatures and some can even survive in the round all winter. So don’t give up on your garden now! I just planted cauliflower and broccoli alongside my peppers and will continue to replant through September. I’m eagerly anticipating a bountiful winter harvest (doesn’t always happen as I tend to be a fair weather gardener) and planning delicious new recipes.
Or if you’re done gardening for the year, consider planting a cover crop like field peas or clover. Cover crops help suppress weeds, rebuild the soil by adding nutrients back in and control pests and diseases. Last year I planted a cover crop for the first time of fava beans, which were gorgeous and looked like a bush full of butterflies. I made the mistake of letting them set fruit which undermines the purpose of planting a cover crop as the nutrients the plants just put into the soil are taken back out to go into the fava beans. On the positive side, at least I got a nice crop of fava beans! If you are planting a cover crop to enhance your soil for next spring’s growing season, the plants should be cut or mowed while flowering for optimal benefit. In other words, you don’t get to harvest the fruit. For more information on cover crops check out this article by Organic Gardening. Happy planting!
Fall Vegetables Photo Credit: http://www.growbetterveggies.com