Plant cool crops for an ex­tra in­ning of healthy har­vest

Cecil Whig - - & & -

— The grow­ing sea­son isn’t over with the ar­rival of cool weather. Un­til the first hard frost hits, you have time to plant, pick and plate de­li­cious home­grown cool­weather crops — and save your­self some money in the pro­duce aisle.

Fa­vor­able fall con­di­tions mean grow­ing cool weather crops is com­par­a­tively easy, with less care needed for a suc­cess­ful gar­den. Cool crops will start out strong, grow­ing quickly and then slow their growth as days be­come shorter and cooler. You’ll also need to work less to pro­tect your gar­den from de­struc­tive pests, as both in­sect and an­i­mal pop­u­la­tions will ta­per off in fall. And since weeds will ger­mi­nate less fre­quently, grow­ing slower, weed­ing won’t be a time­con­sum­ing task. Fi­nally, more rain and less sun and heat re­duce the risk of crops fall­ing vic­tim to drought or too much heat.

Per­haps the great­est ad­van­tage of fall gar­den­ing is that you’ll have fresh, healthy pro­duce on hand well into the cooler sea­son. Many au­tumn veg­eta­bles can en­dure


the first few frosts if you pro­vide them with proper pro­tec­tion, like row cov­ers, cold frames or cloche. Some va­ri­eties — like spinach, col­lards and kale — ac­tu­ally taste bet­ter when nipped by frost. Fall grow­ing tips The first step to suc­cess is to know your grow­ing sea­son. In warm cli­mates, fall crops can ac­tu­ally thrive through­out win­ter. In colder ar­eas, the grow­ing sea­son will be shorter. Not sure when frost will ar­rive in your area? Check out the USDA frost map on the Bon­nie Plants web­site.

Next, you need to en­sure your grow­ing spot is in tip-top shape. Re­gard­less of where you choose to plant your gar­den — in the sun­ni­est spot in the yard or in con­tain­ers — it’s im­por­tant to get the soil in shape; test the soil and add amend­ments if needed. Clear the ground and con­tain­ers of any left­over gar­den de­bris, then add a 2-inch layer of mulch or com­post, plus a bal­anced, nat­u­ral fer­til­izer like Bon­nie Plant Food, for a strong, healthy start.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.