Here in Texas, we enjoy a much longer growing season than many other places. Normally you would plant your fall gardens 10-12 weeks before the first killing frost.Warmer parts of the country support many of the same veggies you might plant in a spring garden. Vegetables like kale, broccoli, kale, collards, spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard, and a number of wonderful herbs (like rosemary and cilantro) grow just as well in fall as they do in spring. Gardening in the fall requires less watering, less weeding, less dealing with insects and a lot less sweat on the part of the gardener. Burpee has provided a map with the zones indicated. Here in Texas we are blessed (or cursed) to be in three different zones. These fall garden tips are primarily geared toward zones 8 and 9.
Not all vegetables need the warmth of summer to thrive. Cool weather vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, and lettuce, prefer the lower temperatures found in spring and fall. These vegetables are divided into two groups: “hardy” and “semi-hardy.”
Did you know that there are vegetables you can plant now that will only become sweeter and more delicious if they go through a frost?
- When a frost comes into contact with a lot of these cool season vegetables, they naturally react to the cold and produce extra sugars which can make some of the more bitter tasting vegetables taste rather sweet. Hardy vegetables tolerate hard frosts (usually 25 to 28 degrees F). They taste best in cool weather, making them perfect for fall harvests and growing through the winter in many warmer regions. See the USDA Freeze Map for the approximate date of the first freeze in your area. This will give you an idea of how long your harvest season will last, because many of these hardy vegetables will continue growing and producing in the garden for weeks after the first hard frost.
Hardy Garden Plants tolerate hard frosts
(usually 25 – 28 degrees F)
- Brussels Sprouts
- Green Onions
- Leafy Lettuce
- Swiss Chard
Semi-hardy vegetables tolerate light frosts
(usually 29 to 32 degrees F)
late into fall and through winter in mild climates.
Give them a try this fall!
- English peas
- Mustard greens
- Swiss chard
The end result is so much more than a plate of food, however that is really a nice benefit; the real benefit is the feeling of looking at the amazing accomplishment you were the procuring cause in, the gorgeous display of nature reproduced, and the realization that a little hard work really pays off.