Grow vegetables all season long with a cool and warm-season vegetable gardens. Cool greens like lettuce ensure that you have a plethora of crunchy salads during the cooler months. Warm-season vegetables like tomatoes can be canned as sauces and kept for winter meals. Pick the fresh produce as soon as it sprouts for the best taste, and to promote new growth. There are a variety of vegetable garden projects that can keep you busy throughout the year.
Create healthy meals and delicious salads with a cool-season vegetable garden. Cool gardens grow well in cool temperatures and can even endure slight frost. To create a cool-season vegetable garden, plant cool-season crops in late summer to early fall to harvest the edibles in late fall, winter and early spring. Categorize your garden according to the types of vegetables. For instance, many cool-season crops have edible leaves and roots, so plant these on one side of the vegetable garden. These crops include all lettuces like Bibb and arugula and greens like collards, chard, kale, mustard greens and spinach. Allow at least 5 inches between each vegetable to ensure the greens have enough room to spread their leaves. Alongside the leafy greens, plant cool-season root vegetables like beets, carrots and radishes. These cool soil dwellers will flourish quickly within the soil. On the other side of the garden, plant the cool-season vegetables that are grown for their immature flowers. These are typically larger vegetables that take up more space within the garden and include broccoli, cauliflower and artichokes. Add a beanpole somewhere along the garden to plant your edible sweet peas and other favorite cool-season beans.
Vegetable Garden Path
Create a meandering path through the vegetable garden to easily access your beds and collect the harvest each season. A central pathway is ideal for accessing all plants within the garden and to monitor weeds as they sprout up. A mulch path makes a simple, multi-purpose garden path. Mulch is used to suppress weeds as well as help plants retain moisture. When used as a path along the garden, the mulch works double duty. To create the path, lay down mulch like cedar chips or chocolate bark, which permeates the air with a sweet chocolate fragrance. Spread the mulch around the garden and rake down to create a smooth and even path.
Warm-season crops like melons and cucumbers require warmer soil and higher temperatures than the cool-season vegetables. They don't mind a slight cooling at night but cannot handle frost or consistent cold temperatures. To grow a warm-season vegetable garden, plant the crops in early spring, when the threat of late winter frost has passed. Some warm-season crops like cucumbers, tomatoes, squash and zucchini produce a large amount of fruit and often have trailing foliage that creeps around the garden. Crops like tomatoes, okra and peppers need to be staked into the soil to keep their heavily-fruited vines erect and standing tall. Plant these taller crops in the back or side of the bed to maximize space. Ground-trailing, warm-season vegetables like watermelons, muskmelons and squash need wider areas along the garden to allow their vines to meander through the soil and produce larger fruit.