Get ready for fall with winter vegetables

Get ready for fall with winter vegetables

Even though it does not feel like it because it is still so hot, it is time to start thinking about your fall garden.

Autumn is my favorite time to grow vegetables because all my personal favorites thrive in the cooler weather of autumn and winter. This is when many brassica family vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale and greens like collards, mustard and turnips grow.

These vegetables are some of the easiest to grow and the most nutritious you can cook. This group of vegetables contains high levels of vitamin C, potassium, beta-carotene and fiber.

In addition to vegetables in the brassica family, tomatoes, peppers, okra and eggplant can continue through the fall to make another crop before the temperature drops. Artichokes, carrots and spinach can also be grown in the fall and winter. With so many options, it’s time to get busy planning – and planting.

Make it grow:What to do in the garden in August

Broccoli can be planted from September to October to harvest in November to December and again in January to February. You can start seeds now to produce transplants that will be ready to go into the ground or garden pray in five to six weeks.

Place your transplants 9 to 12 inches for smaller broccoli heads and 16 to 18 inches for larger heads. Some recommended variants are Packman, Diplomat and Decathlon. You can also try raab, also known as rabe or rapini, which looks like small broccoli heads and has a nutty taste.

Cauliflower is an excellent vegetable to be grown in the fall.  There are several varieties to choose from.

Cauliflower can also be planted in September to October to autumn in November and December. Or you can wait until January and February to plant for harvest in March to May. Plant seeds now to produce transplants in five to six weeks. Place plants 10 to 12 inches apart for 3-to-4-pound heads or 16 to 18 inches apart for larger, 5-to-7-pound heads. AgCenter vegetable specialist Kiki Fontenot suggests varieties such as Snow Crown, Cumberland, Candid Charm and Colored Mix.

Heather Kirk-Ballard

Cabbage should be planted between September and early March, but skip December and January. Heads can be harvested from November to April. Space for 10 to 12 inches for 3-to-4-pound heads and 16 to 18 inches for 5-to-7-pound cabbage heads. Heads should be firm like a softball when harvested. Some recommended varieties are Blue Vantage, Bravo, Rio Verde and Salad Delight (red). Copenhagen, Flat Dutch and Early Season are best for smaller house gardens.

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