August 21, 2016
Planting Cool Season Crops — The Heroes We Need
Fall and winter seem to have doom in tow; they bring a brisk air capable of harming flowers, veggies, and trees with a frosty breath.
For the experienced planter, that is not always the case. Better yet, for those who like to continue planting veggies, you’ll be pleased to know that your hero is a cool season crop.
But, what is a cool season crop?
Cool season crops are vegetables that thrive in cold or cool weather. They can be planted before the threat of frost has passed in the spring and fall, whereas your warm-season crops, such as tomatoes, peppers, or zucchini, are usually killed by frost. If you missed out on planting your early spring vegetables like lettuce, spinach, or broccoli, do not fret! There is another chance to grow those leafy greens. Fall gardening is easier, too, since there are few pests and less chance of burning in the cooler weather—which is my kind of gardening!
The best part? Now is the time to plant most garden greens and plenty of hardy root veggies that thrive in the cold weather. As a rule of thumb, it’s usually best to plant no later than the second week of September. At Bucks Country Gardens, starter plants are available as well as a selection of seeds on display now (courtesy of Botanical Interests). Take advantage of already prepped garden beds from the summer and plant these cool season crops to extend your harvest well into the fall:
• Lettuce Mixes – a favorite is Mesclun, often associated with farmer’s markets, restaurants, and other outdoor stands. Sow this blend in the fall for a winter harvest.
• Spinach – Bloomsdale spinach is known for its history as being dependable and very nutritious. Spinach is perfect for this time of year as it can even overwinter in sub-zero temperatures and it can have an early harvest if planted timely.
• Broccoli – Broccoli can be sown for a winter or early spring harvest—but only if it is a mild winter, which can be difficult here. They are, however, always a good choice if you need freezer-ready vegetables.
• Cauliflower – Depending on the blend of Cauliflower, you will want to sow early in the fall if you want a winter harvest. Otherwise, these long-harvest veggies are widely adaptable, capable of spring planting for fall harvests.
• Cabbage – Cabbage is great because not only does it store well, but if planted in early fall or summer, it is capable of a fall or winter harvest. It’s very adaptable to multiple climates, too.
• Beets – Beets can be sown through fall or winter, and are high vitamin veggies that handle mild climates like professionals.
• Swiss Chard – Swiss chard can handle heat and tolerate light frost. Enjoy it in salads or cooked dishes for a vitamin and mineral rich option. It is recommended that soil temperature is at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but it can be sown as late as two months before first fall frost.
• Kale – Some would argue that Kale tastes even better accompanied by a tender kiss from fall frost. It’s adaptable, able to be sown for a spring, summer, or fall harvest.
Find your cool season crop heroes today at the Garden Center and we’ll be sure to give our recommendations to keep you planting through the fall.
Becky Jones | Green Goods Manager
Kyle Vargo | Digital Marketing Assistant