Cold frames can extend the productivity of your fall garden. With this protection, loosehead lettuce such as Green Ice can provide crisp salad greens well into freezing weather.
Important to the fall vegetable garden is a constant and uniform supply of water. The weather is oftenhot and dry. If you allow your garden soil to dry out, the vegetables will stop growing and many will have off flavors.
Give your summer-planted crops the same good attention and cultural conditions as spring-grown ones. Prepare the soil well and work in a balanced garden fertilizer, such as 5-10-5, according to package directions. Sow seeds and later thin or transplant seedlings as instructed on seed packets. Cultivate occasionally to prevent a weed problem. Better yet, use a mulch of straw or something similar. It not only smothers weeds but also promotes better growth and holds moisture in the soil.
Many people like a combination of turnip greens, mustard greens and kale. A mixture gives a good flavor to the greens by playing down the bitterness of mustard while enhancing the flavor of the turnips and kale. Sow seed of kale about Aug. 10, mustard about Aug. 20 and turnips about Sept. 1.
Winter bloomdale spinach is so hardy it will live over the winter (from a late August sowing) and be ready to supply fresh, tasty greens next spring. This variety usually survives, even in severly cold areas, without any protection.
Kale and collards grown during the summer tend to be tougher and not as sweet as those grown during the cooler seasons.
Beet greens are eaten by many gardeners. It is possible to use both tops and roots but the tops of large beets usually are tough and often damaged by leaf-spotting diseases and are seldom good for greens.
Beets must grow rapidly and continuously to develop the highest quality. Therefore, there should be adequate nitorgen, phosphorus and potash in the soil.
Winter radishes can be sown about the middle of August and should last until the end of November.
Peas fresh from the garden are always a mouth-watering treat in the spring. They can be sown in late July or early August for a fall crop. The plants can stand a light frost but not a heavy freeze.
For something a little unusual and extra delicious, try Chinese cabbage, Burpee Hyrid is one of the best. It grows fast and needs cold weather to head well.
Some of our most important vegetables can be started now and harvested right up to the early winter months. The cool autumn weather actually improves the flavor of some of them.
While not all late summer or early fall planted vegetables will fully mature, most are absolutely delicious when young. To increase the chance of their reaching maturity, select those having the shortest number of days to maturity. That information will be on the seed packet.