Fall plants zone 5

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There are plenty of gardening books and resources that speak to the merits of cold frames. At least in principle, cold frames can extend your growing season, provide produce in the winter, and give you an early start in the spring. With all that said, based on my experience, in terms of them being a means to increase your overall yields over the course of the year, I’m not sure if they are the best bang for your buck in zone 5, or colder zones, and in this episode I will discuss my reasoning for this argument.

What Is A Cold Frame?

A cold frame is any sort of garden bed that has been framed in and has some sort of transparent material on all the areas that are exposed to the sun. The more insulative the design, and the more able it is to capture light, the better it will perform in the colder months.

Pros

  • Extended growing season
  • Produce in the winter
  • Early germination in the spring

Cons

  • They don’t water themselves – they are more labour intensive because the rain will not reach them
  • The plants really don’t grow in the winter – they just ‘hang on’ – so if you were harvesting produce from one cold frame for meals, all the plants would be used up in a week or so.
  • The materials can be costly, depending on how elaborate of a design you choose.

Alternatives

Thinking back to the days of the self-sufficient pioneers who depended heavily on their gardens for survival over the winter months, these were people who had a vested interest in getting the most out of the land that they had prepared for agriculture. Thinking from this point of view, I don’t think it makes much sense to go to the time and expense of preparing a cold frame to secure a few extra meals of greens, when far more calories can be harvested from root crops, legumes, winter squashes, or grains. Now I’m not saying that you should start growing your own wheat, but I guarantee that a 4×10 bed full of potatoes/carrots/parsnips/squashes will secure far more calories for the winter months than a cold frame planted with greens. All of these plants store very well if you have a cold room, or even a cool garage, and they will be there waiting for you when the snow comes down and your garden starts its long winter sleep.

Final thoughts

One of my takeaways from this growing season is that while cold frames are possibly not worth the time and effort that it takes to make them, they do have some value in the garden as a nursery/greenhouse, but only with a modular design that can be disassembled in July when it is absolutely warm enough outside for heat-loving plants. My thinking is that they are an ideal greenhouse for starting transplants, and can be very handy for starting heat loving vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplants and peppers – but the design needs to be such that you can remove the roof once it gets warm, so that the rain can get in, a mulch can be applied, and thus, the principles of permaculture can begin to go to work. I did a small experiment with such a design this year in my garden, and it has had very promising results, so I plan to do something more elaborate next season.

In conclusion, let me reiterate my main point here: I’m not saying that cold frames are a waste of time across the board; I’m only speaking to the value of cold frames as a means to maximize the caloric output of your garden space. From my experience, you will get a much better return on your investment of time and money by planting vegetables that can be easily stored, and that will keep well into the winter months.

Special thanks to The University of Missouri (http://extension.missouri.edu) which is where we found the sketch of the cold frame.

5 tips to successful cold frame gardening

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Cold frame gardening is an easy way to extend the homegrown harvest into late fall and winter. A cold frame is just a box with a clear top. It’s unheated, but captures solar energy and shelters crops from the elements – cold temperatures, wind, ice, and snow. You don’t need a large garden to accommodate a cold frame. Even a small, urban garden will benefit from this simple structure. In my book, The Year Round Vegetable Gardener, I offer a lot of tips and ideas for gardening with cold frames. Here are a few of my favourites…

5 tips to successful cold frame gardening:

1 – Pick the right site – To get the most out of your cold frame, you’ll need to pick the right spot. Look for a site that offers full sunshine and shelter from prevailing winds, and face the frame towards the south. You can place it against a house, deck, shed, garage, greenhouse, or allow it to stand free in the garden. My frames are free-standing structures but I do pile straw bales or bags of leaves on the north side for added winter insulation.

Related post: Mustard greens for winter harvesting

2 – Choose your materials wisely – The box of a cold frame can be made from many materials; wood, polycarbonate, straw bales, bricks, and so on. I’ve found that material selection can play a large role in successful cold frame gardening. For example, many gardener centres sell frames made with polycarbonate sides and tops. These are great in spring and fall, but in my region, they aren’t insulating enough to shelter salad greens throughout winter. Instead, I’ve gotten great results from cold frames built with wood and topped with polycarbonate.

Straw bales are an easy way to create an instant cold frame. Use them to surround your tall leeks, kale, herbs, or greens and top with an old window or piece of polycarbonate.

3 – Ventilate – I can’t stress the importance of proper ventilation in a cold frame, especially in autumn or spring when the daytime temperature can fluctuate dramatically – even in cloudy weather! For me, I prop my cold frames open when I know the daytime temperature is going to reach 4 C (40 F). If you’d rather be more ‘hands off’, you can purchase an inexpensive automatic vent opener to open top of your frame when the temperature reaches a certain point.

Not ventilating your frames can result in several issues. The biggest one, of course, is frying your plants! But, inadequate ventilation can also lead to your fall and winter crops growing in conditions that are consistently too warm. This encourages soft growth which is easily damaged in cold weather. Crops that are given a bit of ‘tough love’ and grown with proper ventilation under cooler conditions will be better prepared to deal with the frigid temperatures of late fall and winter, and be less prone to cold damage.

Curious gardeners may find it fun to use a digital thermometer to monitor the minimum and maximum temperatures in their cold frame. It’s amazing how much the inside of a frame can warm up – even in January!

Related post: Cold frames for spring gardening

Ventilating is one of the most important tasks for a cold frame gardener. (Photo: The Year Round Vegetable Gardener, by Joseph De Sciose)

4 – Keep tops clear – My garden is surrounded by tall, deciduous trees and when the leaves begin to fall in mid-autumn, the tops of my frames are quickly covered. They’re easy to clear away, but if they were left on top of the cold frame sashes for too long, the crops may suffer for lack of light. Come winter, the same rule applies. Brush off or remove snow from frames regularly to prevent ice build up. I use a a sturdy push broom for this quick task.

5 – Foil Mother Nature – There are many easy ways to boost light and heat retention in cold frames. To reflect more light onto the plants, you can paint the inside walls of the structure white or line them with aluminum foil. To capture more heat, leave room for a few black painted one gallon water jugs. Once filled with water, they will absorb heat during the day and release it slowly during the night, raising the temperature inside the cold frame.

For more on cold frame gardening, check out this brief video tutorial:

Do you have any tips on cold frame gardening to share?

Garden With Cold Frames to Grow More Food

After seeds have begun to grow inside the frames, the plants are surprisingly cold tolerant. I have watched lettuce seedlings sail through 10-degree nights when the frame was covered with a thick polyester-filled blanket, and framed-up spinach never sulks no matter how cold it gets. Yet these and other winter-sown vegetables will complain if a frame is allowed to overheat, so it’s crucial that frames be opened to vent out excess heat. When in doubt, it is always better to vent than to risk frying your plants. If you can’t be around to open and close your frame and a warm sunny day is in the forecast, covering the top of a closed frame with a light-blocking blanket for a few days is your safest strategy. If blustery winds threaten to sabotage your venting plan, place a board over the box, between the frame and the top, to keep it from slamming shut. Or use hooks and eyes to fasten the open top to posts sunk into the ground alongside the frame.

Climate-Controlled Frames

Any cold frame will harness solar energy for your plants’ benefit, and there are several low-tech ways to help your frames retain solar warmth. Black antifreeze containers, milk or kitty litter jugs painted flat black can be filled with water and tucked into the corners. Or you can cover the spaces between plants with flat stones painted black or “solar pillows” — used freezer bags painted black and filled with water. If you want to get more sophisticated, check into the Solar Pods and Solar Cones developed by New Hampshire gardeners Leandre and Gretchen Poisson. Described in detail in their book, Solar Gardening, and in MOTHER’s online Archive, the Poissons’ devices are probably the best you can build, if you can afford the materials. The superior performance of these garden appliances comes from the use of Sun-Lite flexible fiberglass, which costs about $80 for a 4-by-8-foot piece.

Historically, gardeners have used the warmth generated by rotting manure to turn cold frames into hot beds. To make a hot bed, dig a hole inside your frame at least 12 inches deep and fill it with fresh horse manure mixed with straw, and topped with 6 inches of soil. As the manure decomposes, it releases heat into the frame.

But you don’t have to have fresh manure to build a hot bed — or at least a warm one. For example, let’s say you want to winter-sow broccoli, spinach or another crop that needs abundant nutrients. If you dig out a bed and refill it halfway with compost mixed with the cheapest dry dog food you can find (a sure-fire compost activator), and then top it with 6 inches of soil, the compost will generate enough heat to keep the little plants from freezing and thawing quickly — if they freeze at all. In spring, when the plants’ roots find the buried treasure deepin the bed, you may be looking at the biggest, best plants you have ever grown.

Another option is to use the warmth generated by rotting hay to heat your cold frame from the sides. If you have plenty of space available and you plan to mulch with hay or straw this season anyway, go ahead and get four bales and arrange them in a semicircle on ready-to-plant ground, with the open side facing south. Plant the middle, and then top the bales with a wide sheet of plastic stapled to two 2-by-4s; one board will lie atop the back bales, and the other will anchor the plastic to the ground in front. You can make a bigger hay bale haven by arranging seven or eight bales in a square, and topping the enclosure with an old window, glass door or piece of sheet vinyl or corrugated fiberglass. Or, make your bales go twice as far by breaking them in half and encircling your planting with half bales, set side by side with their cut sides out. Allow the broken bales to get nice and damp before you plant, and then cover the bed and bales with a large piece of plastic sheeting. As the wet hay decomposes, much of the heat it releases will stay inside the bed.

To prepare a hot bed, warm bed or solar-charged cold frame when the soil is frozen, simply place a closed frame over the spot for several days. Daytime heating will thaw the soil inside, an inch or two at a time.

Various types of cold frames are multiplying like rabbits in my garden. With the help of the frames, spring now comes to my garden at least six weeks ahead of schedule.

Top 12 Winter Cold Frame Crops

These 12 vegetables are easy to grow when sown in cold frames in late winter. (For tips and tricks to growing these vegetables, click on the name to access the growing guide.)

• Arugula
• Broccoli
• Beets
• Cabbage
• Chard
• Chinese cabbage
• Green onion
• Kale
• Lettuce
• Mustard
• Radish
• Spinach

Mini Cold Frames: Milk Jug Seed Starters

This simple technique was developed for seeds that need to spend a winter outside before they will germinate, but it’s also a great method to start garden seeds in late winter if you don’t have indoor lights or a cold frame.

• Cut a gallon milk jug (or other large plastic container) in half horizontally, leaving one edge intact to use as a hinge. Discard the cap.

• Punch several drainage holes in the bottom.

• Fill the bottom with 3 inches of potting soil, moisten well and plant your seeds.

• Fold down the top cover, and secure the cut seam with duct tape. Enclose the planted jug in a large clear or opaque plastic bag (such as a produce bag), held together at the top with a twist tie.

• Place in a sunny, protected spot outdoors.

• One week before transplanting, harden off seedlings by removing the bag and tape, and propping the jug open with clothespins.

Anatomy of a Cold Frame

Site Surface: Frames work best if the top is angled slightly toward the winter sun. You can either cut slanted sides (see illustration, Image Gallery) or, as an alternative, mound soil as needed to make the back edge of the frame sit slightly higher than the front.

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Frame: Scrap wood or untreated 2-by-4 or 2-by-6 pine boards are fine, or you can upgrade to rot-resistant cedar, redwood or locust or composite plastic lumber. Other options include logs, baled hay or straw, bricks or concrete blocks.

Corners: If you only have a hand saw, a hammer and a screwdriver, you can build a sturdy box from 2-by-4s, a few screws and four steel corner brackets. Brackets come in different forms — some for inside the box and some for outside. The simplest (and cheapest) ones screw into the top of a frame that’s already been banged together with 3-inch box nails.

Covers: The best materials for topping cold frames are tempered glass patio doors or shower doors, which often are discarded when homes and apartments are remodeled. Heavy enough to resist strong winds, shatter-resistant tempered glass doors are better scavenger hunt treasures than standard storm windows or paned windows, which can be a safety hazard. Look in thrift stores (Habitat for Humanity often sells donated doors), or call people in home remodeling or salvage businesses. Look for doors that still have plenty of hardware attached, and leave the hardware intact as you scrub down your prize. Later, after you’ve built a frame, the existing hardware may prove handy as part of a nifty hinge or a ready-made handle. Tempered glass doors come in all sorts of weird sizes, so it’s best to secure a top first, and then tailor the frame to match its dimensions.

Use thick blankets, quilts or bedspreads to bring winter-sown frames through winter storms, or to block sun when you can’t be around to vent the frames. Snow makes a good insulating cover, too.

Fall Planting In Zone 5: Learn About Zone 5 Fall Garden Planting

In autumn in northern climates, we create our checklist of all the lawn and garden chores we have to complete before winter sets in. This list usually involves cutting back certain shrubs and perennials, dividing some perennials, covering tender plants, applying fall fertilizer to the lawn, raking leaves and cleaning garden debris. No doubt there is plenty to do in the garden in autumn, but you should add one more chore to the list: fall planting. Continue reading to learn more about fall planting in zone 5.

Fall Planting in Zone 5

It is early November in Wisconsin, where I live on the verge of zone 4b and 5a, and I am all set today to plant my spring bulbs. Having just moved into this home, I can’t imagine spring without my beloved daffodils, tulips, hyacinthsand crocus. I look forward to them all winter and those first crocus flowers popping out of the snow in March cure the depression that can come from a long, cold, Wisconsin winter. Planting in November may seem crazy to some, but I have planted spring bulbs in December with great success, though I usually do it in late October-early November.

Fall is an excellent time for planting trees, shrubs and perennials in zone 5. It is also a good time to plant fruit producing plants, like fruit trees, raspberries, blueberriesand grapes. Most trees, shrubs and perennials can establish their roots in soil temperatures down to 45 degrees F. (7 C.), although 55-65 degrees F. (12-18 C.) is ideal.

Many times plants establish better in fall because they do not have to deal with sweltering heat shortly after being planted. The exception to this rule, though, is evergreens, which establish best in soil temperatures no less than 65 degrees F. Evergreens should not be planted any later than October 1 in northern climates. Not only do their roots stop growing in cool soil temperatures, but they need to store up plenty of water in autumn to prevent winter burn.

Another benefit to fall planting in zone 5 is that most garden centers run sales to get rid of old inventory and make room for new shipments of plants in spring. Usually, in autumn, you can get a great deal on that perfect shade tree you’ve had your eye on.

Zone 5 Fall Garden Planting

Zone 5 fall gardening can also be a great time to plant cool season crops for one last harvest before winter, or to prepare garden beds for next spring. Zone 5 usually has a first frost date of mid-October. In late August-early September, you can plant a garden of cool season plants to harvest just before winter rears its ugly head. These may include:

  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Cress
  • Radishes
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Turnip
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Kohlrabi
  • Beets

You can also extend this fall planting season with the use of cold frames. After the first hard frost, don’t forget to also harvest any rose hips that have formed on your rose bushes. Rose hips are high in vitamin C and can be made into a helpful tea for winter colds.

Fall is also a good time to start planning out next spring’s garden. Years ago, I read a great garden tip for making a small new garden bed in snow prone climates. Before snow falls, layout a vinyl tablecloth where you want a new garden bed, weigh it down with bricks or pin it with landscape staples.

The vinyl and cloth combined with heavy snow, lack of sunlight, and lack of water and oxygen cause the grass beneath the tablecloth to die. Remove the tablecloth in early to mid-May, when all danger of frost has passed, and simply till the area as needed. It will till much easier then it would as a mass of living turf grasses.

Of course, you can also do this on a larger scale with black plastic sheeting. You can have some fun creating round, oval, square or rectangle garden or flower beds with vinyl tablecloths, and most of us have extra tablecloths after Halloween and Thanksgiving.

By Sally Roth

Mark Turner/Turner Photographics

Sea holly and sedum are two perennials you can plant in fall.

Why should spring get all the glory? While you might not think of fall as a time to get outside and plant new perennials, it actually presents a golden opportunity to do just that. Not only is it bargain time for many perennials at the garden store, the growing conditions are perfect for establishing roots.

Start Planning
In autumn the garden’s peak is fresh in your mind, so it’s easy to remember where you need to add some pizzazz. Remember that dead spot you noticed in midsummer? How about the garden bed that needs a splash of yellow or blue? Now is the time to address those areas.

Time It Right
In Zones 6 and 7, the cool-down period starts around the end of September, about six weeks before the first fall frost. This is the ideal time to start your fall plants. In Zones 3 to 5, you’ll want to plant earlier if you can. And of course, Zones 8 to 11 can pretty much plant year-round without a problem. (Lucky!) Still, you want to get an early start to give roots time to get established.

Gardening Basics to Picking Up a Bargain
At the end of the season, you can find big discounts on plants that have passed their peak. Most sellers knock down prices fast when their perennials go out of bloom, and lower them even more when the plants start looking down and out. Expect to find perennials at 50 percent or even 75 percent off. Keep in mind that the longer you wait for deals, the smaller the selection and the less time you have to get plants established.

Save It from Death Row
You know that section in the bargain area that’s super cheap, and it’s not hard to tell why? I call it death row, and it’s actually where I head first in hopes of finding a steal. The plants often look pitiful or even near death, but some are still worth a shot. If it’s wilted, generally sad looking or has yellowing or dying foliage, but the right price, grab it—as long as there’s still some green and it’s not diseased.

Don’t Fret about Frost
Frost might seem like your biggest fall planting challenge, but it’s actually not a huge problem. Yes, frost will kill the tops of your new plants, but it won’t affect the root growth. The roots will grow until the soil freezes solid, which is often weeks or even months after the first frost hits. In temperate regions—everywhere but the far North and the high mountains—soil usually doesn’t freeze until after Thanksgiving.

Grow the Roots
In spring the soil is cold, so the roots of newly planted perennials grow slowly. In fall the soil is warm, so roots grow faster. Since the plants don’t produce flowers, they have more energy for sending vigorous roots into the soil of their new home. Do your part by planting new perennials in good soil and watering thoroughly. By the time the growing season rolls around again, they’ll be happily settled.

Give ’Em a Fighting Chance
Once you get your bargain plants home, the first order of business is to give them a thorough drink. Set them in a tray or saucer to catch the water that pours through the potting mix, and let them take their time soaking it up. Then proceed as if they were the healthiest plants in the world. Lower temperatures and shorter days mean plants need less water, but if rain is scarce, water them weekly until the soil freezes. Remember that, under the ground, those roots are still growing.

Put Them to Bed
Wait until the soil freezes hard, then spread a few inches of mulch around your perennials—not to prevent soil from freezing, but to keep it from thawing. Roots that aren’t solidly anchored can “frost heave” out of the soil when the ground freezes and thaws, putting the plant in danger of getting killed by cold. Once mulch is on, you’re all set. Even if a few of your new perennials don’t make it, you’re probably still coming out ahead. Fall planting gives you a big jump on spring gardening, so you have more time in the busy season.

PERENNIALS TO PLANT IN FALL

Aster
Astilbe
Balloonflower
Bearded iris
Bee balm
Bergenia
Bleeding heart
Brunnera
Campanula
Catmint
Columbine
Daylilies
Dianthus
Echinacea
Ferns
Goldenrod
Hardy geraniums
Hosta
Lady’s mantle
Lamb’s ear
Lilies
Monkshood
Native asters
Oriental poppies
Penstemon
Peonies
Perennial
sunflowers
Phlox
Sea holly
Sedums
Siberian iris

Photo: Terry Wild/Wild Stock

The list of crops you can plant in August for fall and winter harvest is actually quite long.

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Let me start out by giving you a quick link. This post is meant for those of you living mainly in Garden Zones 4 to 7.

According to some authors, there are over 30 different crops you can plant in August for harvest in the fall and winter. In this post, I am going to focus on the 9 crops you can plant in August that I consider the base fall and winter crops. But I have included a list of the others you can plant at the bottom of this post.

The instructions in the post are meant mostly for those of you living in zones 4 to 7. If you live in the warmer zones then this post will still help you but your planting dates will be much later.

For those of us in zone 4 to 7 August is our most important month for fall and winter planting.

First off, Here’s a fresh video I filmed for 2019 on this topic. Check it out and be sure to subscribe to my channel while you watch it!

Your exact planting dates are based on your expected first frost date. Planting for a good fall and winter harvest starts 6 to 8 weeks before your first anticipated frost date. So for most of us that planting date will fall somewhere in the month of August.

Let’s use my garden as a quick example. I live in a zone 6a, almost zone 5. My first frost usually comes right around October 1st. So counting back 6 to 8 weeks gives me a 2-week planting range of August 1st to August 15th. As long as I get things planted during that time frame I can expect a good harvest that will start in the fall and continue through the winter.

Now let’s talk about the 9 crops you can plant in August that I consider the base crops for planting a fall and winter garden.

Brassica or Cole Crops

The first of the crops you can plant in August is actually a whole family! Plants in the Cole or brassica family are perfect crops you can plant in August. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, and Brussels sprouts all do very well in the fall. One very important thing to keep in mind is that you plant all of these plants from seedlings NOT SEED’s.

If you plant by seed there will not be enough time for your plants to develop before the cold weather sets in. So you either need to buy seedlings from your local nursery or start your own seedlings indoors in June. You should be planting those seedlings out into the garden around 6 weeks before the first frost and you should plan on protecting them late in the season with fabric row cover or a hoop house!

All types of Kale actually belong to the brassica family as well, but it is a very different beast and deserves its own spot on this list. Kale is one of the hardiest plants you can grow in the fall and winter. In fact, if you live in a zone 5b or above you can get kale to overwinter in your garden with just the protection of a piece of heavy row cover. The other great thing about kale planted in the fall is frost and freezing temperatures sweeten the kale, changing the flavor considerably. I’m not a big fan of kale most of the time. But grow it in the cold and I will clean my plate every time.

Another nice thing about kale is it can be planted either by seed or seedling. Because you use the leaves there is less time needed to get an eatable crop. Just get some seeds in the ground 8 weeks before the frost comes and you will have sweet tasty leaves all winter long.

Lettuce will be one of your most abundant crops in the fall and early winter. In fact, I love growing lettuce better in the fall than the spring. Lettuce is fairly hardy, so moderate frost and cold night time temps are really not a big deal. And the biggest difference with fall lettuce is you are not fighting the impending heat of summer which causes tip burn and bitterness.

You can start planting fall lettuce 8 weeks from your first frost. Continue planting until as close as two weeks. These later plantings can be used as baby greens or could be overwintered in a cold frame for extra-early spring harvests. (Learn more about growing fall and winter lettuce here)

One of our favorite lettuces to grow for winter harvest is Winter Density. It is a very hardy variety that does very well in the cold winter months.

Chinese greens

Chinese greens are next on the list of crops you can plant in August. These are also technically part of the brassica family. But again they deserve there own spot on the list.

Chinese greens like, pac choy and tatsoi are very hardy and grow super well in the fall. The cool fall temperatures give these greens a nice flavor.

Chinese greens can be planted by seed if you like 8 weeks before your first frost. For an extra early crop, you can start them indoors first and tuck them into your garden as spots start to clear out later in the fall.

Carrots

Carrots are one of our favorite late fall and winter treats. As the temperatures start to get cold an amazing change takes place inside your carrots. The starches in the plants turn to sugars, making winter harvested carrots sweet and delicious. These are seriously some of the best veggies you will ever eat!

August is usually a pretty hot time for most of us, that means you have to give your carrots extra attention to get them germinated and off to a good start. Plan on watering the seedbed lightly once or twice per day. Or you could try covering the bed with damp burlap like my friend Jess.

We like to cover our carrot bed with a hoop house or a cold frame, but in a pinch when the weather really starts getting cold in December just cover the bed with straw. (Learn more about growing winter carrots here)

Our favorite carrot to grow in the fall is Little Finger, they are smaller but have a short maturity date which helps them size up in time for winter!

Spinach planted in the fall is an amazing plant. A little protection with a hoop house or cold frame will give you 6-8 months of harvest. An August planting of spinach will give you a harvest starting in mid-October. If you cover the bed with a hoop house or cold frame you can continue to harvest small amounts all winter. Then when the spring arrives the plants will take off again and provide a great harvest until May.

Start planting spinach 8 weeks before your first frost. Just like lettuce you can continue to plant up until 2 weeks before your first frost. The later planting won’t give you a harvest in the fall but they will overwinter for an early spring harvest.

Swiss chard

Swiss chard is another super hardy plant. Treat it the same way you would spinach. Early plantings will give you fall and winter harvests. Later plantings will give you early spring harvest if you protect the plants with a hoop house or cold frame. All of your fall-planted Swiss Chard will overwinter in a cold frame. Expect the fall and winter harvests to consist mainly of small leaves. In the spring you will get a very early harvest of traditional larger Swiss chard plants.

Beets

Early plantings of beets will give you a regular harvest of roots late in the fall. Later plantings of beets will only yield the tops, but still, give you something different to add to your fall salads.

In order to have beetroots to harvest you should start planting at 8 weeks before your first frost. Anything after about 6 weeks before the frost will end up only producing tasty tops.

Once known only as fodder for farm animals, or as peasant food. Plant breeders have really improved the taste and variety of turnips. Look for tasty Oriental varieties and many other smaller rooted turnips.

Just like beets, you will need to get these planted early if you want to harvest roots. 8 weeks before your last frost would be perfect. Later plantings will yield only tops.

Unless you live in a fairly mild winter area, don’t plan on overwintering beets or turnips, they are just not hardy enough to survive the winter.

Other Crops you can plant in August

The 9 crops I listed above are what I consider my “base” crops for my fall and winter garden. There are several other crops that can be planted in August and harvest in the fall and winter. They include the following:

  • Arugula
  • Chicory
  • Sorrel
  • Radish
  • Parsley
  • Endive
  • Dandelion
  • Leeks
  • Mache (don’t plant this one until September)
  • Radicchio
  • Mizuna

Are you interested in learning more about season extension? My 5 hour Year-Round Gardening course is a great way to learn more about this fun aspect of gardening. Follow the link on the photo below to start learning more!!

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