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How To Grow Vegetables All Year Long

Jun 26, 2008
When you think of when you should plant your garden, most of us think of planting in the spring and harvesting in the fall. For most of the crops we plant this is right. But there are things to be taken into consideration such as plant species and climates variations.

In some cases, it's actually very helpful for next year's crop to plant in the Fall. Many of these are designed to be plowed under rather than harvested, in order to enrich the soil for next Spring. In other cases, like certain lettuce varieties, you can plant late in the Summer and still harvest before the frost.

When you should plant certain vegetables depends on the species and your climate zone. Get the best estimate possible on when to expect the first frost. Some good sources to find out information on possible frost are the 30-day weather forecasts and the Farmer's Almanac.

Before planting new seeds or vegetables be sure to clear the area of any spring or summer crops. Leftovers decay and encourage bacteria growth. Spread a couple of inches of new compost or mulch over the area. Turn the top layer of soil up and water well, then let it rest for a day. Since in most areas, you'll receive more rain (and sometimes snow) in the fall, be sure you have well draining soil.

There are many varieties that will thrive if you take these preliminary steps.

Beets do well if planted before the beginning of August. If you intend just to harvest the tops, the date can be extended to the beginning of September.

Broccoli can be transplanted until about mid-August. It will continue to thrive in most climates until Thanksgiving, when it can be harvested for a great addition to the holiday meal. In some warmer zones it may even last as late as Christmas. In fact, Italian broccoli can be planted during the winter in areas with no snow and will produce shoots until spring.

Fall cabbage planting is common in many climate zones. Jersey Wakefield is often seeded in the first couple of weeks of September and will winter over well. Then it can be harvested in late Spring.

Since carrots are a root vegetable and grow under the ground, it can withstand seasonal changes. If you plant carrots by mid-July or even in the fall, you can harvest them in the winter. It is important to keep in mind though that in very cold temperatures the ground freezes making digging nearly impossible

Endive does well if planted by mid-July. A light mulch will keep it protected from frost and it can be harvested in Winter (again, assuming at most only light snows). Make sure it doesn't get drenched. Drainage in the Fall and Winter months is much slower than in Summer.

Romaine can be sown in July, and then harvested in the fall. Since it's low to the ground and very leafy, it's important to keep it from being excessively wet. Fungal growth is still possible in fall, even though temperatures are cooler at night.

You can also plant some peas in early November and harvest them the following June. So with proper planning, you can enjoy fresh vegetables nearly year round.

Happy Gardening!
About the Author
How do you choose the best seed companies when sowing your garden? Find out how to make sure you get the right seeds for starting your garden. Visit http://www.vegetablegardeners.com for more advice and to get your free copies of my reports on starting a garden
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