As summer wanes and the days begin to shorten, it’s time to consider something gardeners often overlook: crops that withstand chilly temperatures and even sweeten in flavor during light frosts. Greens, carrots, kale, beets, beans and onions could be star ingredients in a hearty winter stew, one you can prepare from your own garden by following these tips.
Decide when to plant and which fall and winter vegetables to grow by considering the average frost date for your geographic region. A map of growing zones usually includes this information, or you can call your local U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Office to ask. Check the “days to maturity” printed on plant labels or seed packets and count back from the frost date to determine when you would need to sow seeds or transplant seedlings to allow them plenty of time to grow.
To get a jump start on broccoli, cabbage, Swiss chard, and Brussels sprouts consider using transplant seedlings, from the garden center. Beans and root vegetables, such as carrots, radishes, and beets are best when started from seed.
Other menu options:
Carrots: Try short or round varieties with rocky or heavy soil. Look for yellow, white, and purple selections for variety.
Beets: Known for their intense coloration, entire beet plants- roots and leaves- are edible. Try growing a sampling of striped, golden, and red beets. Beets can be roasted, pickled or sautéed.
Kale: Edible varieties of kale are just as hardy as their ornamental counterparts, which are widely used in pansy beds during winter. Try pretty “Red Russian” or tasty “Lacinato” for a calcium-packed treat.
Onions: An everyday kitchen ingredient, pungent onions are a garden staple. Whether growing white, yellow, or red, harvest early for immediate use or wait for bulbs to mature and dry them for storage.
For more fall planting ideas visit your local Lowe’s or www.lowescreativeideas.com.