Now is the time to plan for a productive fall garden. Here’s everything you need to know to enjoy fresh, nutritious cool-weather crops this autumn.
Greens and lettuces are ideal candidates for cool-weather gardening in nearly every part of the country.
Tuck pinches of arugula into rows of shallots and onions; they’ll grow quickly and smother any weeds that might overtake your slower growers. Suggested varieties: Astro, Sputnik
To keep soil from forming a crust that will inhibit beet seedlings from emerging, cover newly planted rows of beets with boards or cloth, and remove it as soon as the little seedlings peek through. Suggested varieties: Chioggia Guardmark, Red Ace, Shiraz, Touchstone Gold
Opt for broccoli varieties that produce plenty of side shoots, rather than a single large head. Suggested varieties: Diplomat, Marathon, Packman
Consider storage ability when choosing carrots for your fall garden. Suggested varieties: Bolero
Large and architecturally interesting, consider planting collards as edible landscaping in areas of your yard that you want to make more attractive. Suggested varieties: Champion, Flash
All varieties of kale have superior flavor when temperatures drop into the 20s or below. Suggested varieties: Black Tuscan, Winterbor, Red Russian, White Russian
Several lettuce varieties will hang on into December and, with the protection of heavy mulch or a cold frame, will often return with renewed vigor in early spring. Suggested varieties: Rouge d’Hiver, Marvel of Four Seasons, Winter Density
Mâche, or corn salad, continues to grow when lettuces go dormant in winter. Suggested varieties: Golden Corn Salad
Grown in cool weather, versatile radicchios have a mild, spicy flavor. If some outer leaves are damaged by the cold, simply strip them off. Suggested varieties: Variegata di Luisa Tardiva, Variegata di Castlefranco, Rossa di Verona, Grumolo Rossa di Verona
For a continued harvest of spinach, snip off individual leaves as you need them, keeping the central rosette intact. Suggested varieties: Olympia, Space, Tarpy
Green varieties of Swiss chard tend to be most cold hardy, followed by gold, then pink, magenta and red varieties. Suggested varieties: Fordhook Giant