Fall Planting Tips

If you only plant vegetables in the spring, you're missing out on an opportunity for another harvest. Fall is a good time for planting an autumn or winter garden. Many vegetables continue to grow during fall's cooler temperatures, especially in warm Southern climates. Although vegetables will continue to grow and produce crops during fall and winter, they will do so much more slowly due to the shorter days and lower sun angle.

First Fall Frost

Check with the National Climatic Data Center at ncdc.noaa.gov to determine the average date of your first hard freeze of fall. This is effectively the end of the growing season and will dictate when you plant.

Length of Time to Maturity

Check with your local garden supply center to determine the length of time your fall-planted vegetables need to reach maturity. Count backwards from the average date of your first killing fall frost so you can plant the vegetables early enough to allow them to mature before the first fall frost.

Frost-Tolerant Vegetables

Plant frost-tolerant vegetables so that they begin to mature shortly before the first fall frost. They will continue to produce through a few light frosts but will eventually succumb to a killing frost in the low 20s. Some frost tolerant vegetables are beets, lettuce, radishes, spinach, carrots and other root vegetables, cabbage, green onions and most culinary herbs.

Frost-Sensitive Vegetables

Frost-sensitive vegetables cannot withstand any freezing temperatures and will be killed or injured at or even slightly above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Plant frost-sensitive vegetables so that they have ample time to mature before they are killed by frost. Some frost susceptible vegetables include beans, summer squash, cucumbers, corn, peppers, tomatoes and melons.

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