Fall Vegetable Gardening

Swiss Chard www.FlowerChick.com

Swiss Chard – So Colorful and Tasty!

Fall Vegetable Gardening In Zone 5 & 6 …

In addition to the many flowers we mention on this website to keep your garden lively and colorful late into the season, you can also plant vegetables late in the summer (mid to late August and early September) to enjoy a bountiful harvest during the fall and winter months …

Most people don’t really consider fall vegetable gardening, believing vegetables only thrive in the warm summer months. While it’s true more common vegetables like green peppers and tomatoes are best planted in late spring, there is a surprising array of cool weather choices …

Here are some fall vegetable gardening tips, and a few of our favorite choices for a top-yielding autumn vegetable garden …

When to Plant: In Zone 5 / 6, we’ve found the best time to plant fall vegetables is the last half of August. If you plant too soon, say July, vegetables that thrive on cooler temperatures won’t get them … they’ll get the summer heat of August. Planting the second or third week of August ensures your fall vegetables will experience and enjoy the cooler conditions of September and October …

But don’t fret too much if you miss August and plant in early September. You still should enjoy success, but it’ll take a little more ingenuity and effort to get them off to a good start …

Pick Transplants If Possible: Choosing to grow fall vegetables from seed will require a lot of attention to detail, and quite frankly, some good weather luck from Mother Nature. We always suggest using transplants because they’ve already started their growth process and will give you a shortcut to success …

Choose The Best Location: Fall vegetable plants still need about six hours of sunlight to thrive, as well as water and good organic soil and fertilizer. The best location is southern or western facing plots to take advantage of the warmest sun. Planting at the top of a slope is also a good idea, and an acceptable substitute if you don’t have a garden plot facing south or west …

Another good idea for Zone 5 & 6 gardens is to plant your fall vegetables in raised beds. This makes it easier to cover them if an early blast of frost visits your garden …

Purple Kale - Beautiful & Delicious!

Purple Kale – Beautiful & Delicious!

What Fall Vegetables To Grow: There are actually a variety of choices, so the first thing you want to check is how long your vegetable plants take until maturity. Just check the tags on the plants to be sure, and compare it to historical data when the first frosts usually arrive in your area.

Our personal recommendations: Your best bets are leafy green vegetables that thrive in cooler weather, like broccoli, Swiss chard (pictured at top of post above – I love the vibrant colors!), spinach, arugula, and kale (which is very popular now and works well in many recipes!). Kohlrabi is underrated and survives a light frost. Garlic planted in the fall overwinters in the ground and will be ready the following summer. In fact, most of these crops won’t do well in the summer heat, because they begin to sprout flowers and seeds, a process known as “bolting”. When this happens, the vegetables become bitter to the taste.

If we had to pick one favorite, it’d be spinach. It grows fast and even though it loves full sun, it will also do well in partial shade, a common factor in Zone 5/6 gardening (definitely in our yard!)

So cool season veggies including kale and others in the cabbage family may be the best choice for mid-summer sowing, because an earlier-than-expected frost won’t kill them before they’re ready to eat. Many of the cold-tolerant vegetables actually have better quality when grown in cool weather…it’s said that the frost “sweetens” them.

Another important tip is to mix in some good organic fertilizer when you plant your fall vegetables. Choosing a fertilizer specifically made for herbs and vegetables is recommended for the best results …

Best of luck with your fall vegetable gardening! Have fun and experiment.

Pin It
Category: Vegetable Gardening

Summerstone Nursery