Has the high price of food got you thinking about growing your own vegetables? Can’t wait to get started? You don’t have to wait! It’s not too late in many parts of the US. There are numerous different vegetable plants that can be grown in the cooler months.
Check with your local extension agent to see what dates you can plant or you can determine the normal dates of the first and last hard freeze. Take the date of the first hard freeze and calculate back 30, 60 and 90 days. Almost all seed packages will give the number of days to harvest.
Here in Virginia, we are seeing our first frost in the last week or two but they are nighttime lows and the temperature has been in the 60s and 70s during the day. These can be ideal temperatures for growing cool season vegetables, many of which can improve in flavor with a light frost.
Some of these vegetables can be planted in the fall for winter harvest and some in the winter for early spring harvests.
Root Crops – There are a variety of different root crops that you can grow in a small garden. I have been experimenting with them in the last year and have found that I enjoy the different flavors. Most root vegetables are mild and are cooked similar to potatoes.
- Bunching Onions
- Globe Onions
LEAF VEGETABLES– I have to admit that it has only been in the last year that I have gained any appreciation for ‘greens’ but properly prepared they are delicious. Since moving to the country in southern Virginia, I have been properly educated on the preparation and cooking of them the old southern way. I am not going to separate them out but they are quick growing and best suited to the spring, fall and early winter harvest.
- Swiss Chard
- Turnip Greens
- Mustard Greens
- Corn Salad
- Brussel Sprouts
PEAS – Peas thrive in cooler weather and can be planted in the fall or early spring. Snow peas and sugar snap peas are eaten whole and are a great addition to salads.
- Snow Peas
- Sugar Snap Peas
- English Peas
SQUASH – Winter squash is actually grown in the spring and fall and generally has long storage times that allow it to keep through the winter months. High in vitamins, there are a wealth of winter squash recipes that will tempt even those who may be a bit skeptical.
- Acorn Squash
- Spaghetti Squash
- Butternut Squash
Most of these vegetables can be grown from seeds. Seeds can be obtained from national seed companies such as Gurneys or Burpees and often plants can be obtained locally from a nursery or green house. Check around, it may not be too late to get some winter vegetables started.
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