Summer is drawing to a close and autumn is right around the corner, but it’s not too late to plant your own fall vegetables. The trick is understanding a little about the coming weather for your region and picking your crops accordingly.
First, look at the number of days it takes to harvest a particular vegetable, then count back from the first expected frost date in your area, according to Better Homes and Gardens. It’s important to add two weeks to that date, since growth slows as the days become shorter.
Some veggies, such as spinach, turnips and radishes, will be ready to pick in about a month, Better Homes and Gardens says. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, if the first frost isn’t due in your area until mid- to late-October, you can plant leaf lettuce, radishes and spinach now and still harvest them before it gets too cold.
In some areas of the country, you can plant beets, carrots, green onions, broccoli and cauliflower now, as these vegetables can handle a light frost, Better Homes and Gardens says.
Even though it is almost September, it’s important to keep the vegetable plants well watered. If protection from frost is needed, an old sheet or blanket can work well to cover the plants.
Fall is also the perfect time to plant garlic — though it won’t be ready to harvest until the following summer. According to VeggieGardener.com, a thick layer of mulch is needed for insulation over the soil where the garlic is planted.
Once you’ve harvested your fall vegetables, use your own crops and those from local farmers markets or grocery stores to create savory seasonal dishes.
For example, squash, potatoes and carrots join together in this roasted vegetable recipe from Martha Stewart for an easy side dish. Broccoli is the star component of this salty, nutty recipe for Parmesan-Crumb Broccoli from Real Simple. Curry pairs well with the flavors of fall vegetables in this recipe from Cooking Light for Fall Vegetable Curry that includes sweet potatoes, cauliflower, chickpeas and onion. And the ultimate fall comfort food from Epicurious — a fall vegetable pot pie with carrots, turnips and leeks.