Tips for Cool Season Vegetable Gardening

Our mild Southern California winters mean that my late-season herb planting isn't going to be a waste. But what about other parts of the country that have to contend with freezing temperatures? Here are some tips on making the most of cool season vegetable gardening.

TIPS FOR COOL SEASON VEGETABLE GARDENING

1 Where to grow - Choose the warmest location that will receive the most light. This is likely the south side of your home or garage. The added benefit is that your vegetables will receive protection by being planted next to a building.

2 Timing is everything - It's important to know the first average frost date for your area. You will want your plants to mature before this first hard frost date. So, if your carrots take 90 days to mature, you will count back 90 days from the anticipated first frost date and plant your vegetables then.

3 What should you plant? - Amber posted on Monday about 5 foods to plant for fall, but there are lots more to consider. Many cruciferous vegetables, including cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, collard greens, turnip and kohlrabi, as well as carrots, beets, leeks and radishes.

4 A little extra protection - A cloche is like a little tent for your plants that will protect from rain, wind and frost, as well as trap the heat from the sun and keep your veggies snug in their own mini greenhouse. They're easy to build yourself out of a little PVD and plastic sheeting.

5 Consider raised beds - The soil in a raised bed is warmer than ground soil. Though, you'll probably want to get a head start by building them while it's still warm enough out.

(Image: Flickr Member nerdcoregirl licensed for use under Creative Commons)