Some vegetables overwinter in the vegetable garden without more protection than a small throw of earth and, in some cases, an additional layer of mulch. Plant them in the fall and forget about them over the winter. When spring comes, they will sprout out of the ground and delight you with bountiful harvests.
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How to extend the gardening season
Vegetable gardening should not necessarily end with the last days of summer. To extend the gardening season, less cold-sensitive vegetable plants that have already been sown in August, such as radishes, sweet peas, lettuce, kale and pak choi, can be covered with fleece. This will allow them to survive until the first frost.
Root vegetables can even tolerate the very first frost and taste even better after this cold shock, which concentrates their juices. Some of them can even overwinter in the garden and still look crisp in soil that has just thawed, if they have been protected by the soil and an extra layer of mulch. This is the case, for example, with onions and potatoes, which can be planted in the fall to enjoy an early harvest in the spring.
Planting vegetables in the fall: what to put in the garden now?
October is not a great month for sowing, but there are still some vegetables that can be planted now. These include some of the most used in the kitchen, namely garlic and onions. But what should you keep in mind when planting and what can be put in the bed now?
Plant garlic in October
Garlic can be planted as soon as the soil is dry in the spring, but its cloves are smaller and harder to store than if planted in the fall between mid-September and the first frost. The plant shuns moisture, which makes it susceptible to fungal diseases. Therefore, garlic prefers well-drained soil in the sun.
For good, thick bulbs, garlic should be planted in the fall. Sowing is possible even at the end of the month in mild weather. It is important that the cloves sprout before the onset of winter. They will then overwinter in the bed and will already have a good head start at the beginning of spring.
Before planting the vegetables in the fall, enrich the soil with compost and loosen it. To plant garlic, you can stick thick cloves directly into the soil with the tip facing up. The optimum planting depth is considered to be 4 to 6 inches. Stake the cloves with row spacing of 25 inches and 15 inches between plants.
For more useful tips about planting garlic in the fall, check out this article .
Winter cultivation of spinach
Early October is still a favorable time for sowing spinach. The leafy vegetable then becomes ready for harvesting as early as mid-November and can be harvested until the beginning of April. Since spinach tolerates light frost, it can overwinter outdoors. At very low temperatures, the plants should be covered with fleece.
Spinach is perfect as a succession crop after various vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage and potatoes. Place the seeds in 3-4 cm deep holes directly into the soil. Then cover with soil and water. The vegetables are best planted in rows with 20 cm between them. Between individual plants the distance should be about 15 cm.
The place should be sunny, and the soil – loamy with a high content of humus. Be sure to remove weeds in advance and loosen the soil before planting spinach seeds.
Onions stick in the fall
Onions are without a doubt one of the most used vegetables in the kitchen. They add flavor and aroma to hearty dishes, and it is not for nothing that every second recipe starts with the phrase: “Sauté onions in a preheated pan”. The versatile vegetable is not difficult to grow at all and can be planted even in autumn.
In October, among other things, winter onions can be stuck. This requires a distance between the rows of about 20 cm and distance between the bulbs in each row of about 5 cm. The soil should be rich in humus and nutrients and have a good water holding capacity. The plants overwinter in the bed and next year you can look forward to an early harvest. Over the winter, the greens can also be used. It tastes like spring onions and is a useful ingredient in the kitchen.
You can also plant Jerusalem artichoke in autumn
Jerusalem artichoke is a tuberous vegetable similar to potatoes, but unlike them, the plants are hardy and will sprout easily the next year if planted in the fall. The tubers are planted in a similar way to potatoes. You should first enrich the soil with compost and then you can place the tubers 5-10 centimeters deep in the soil, 60×50 centimeters apart. The vegetable likes a humus, slightly sandy soil and a sunny location. Water requirements are low – you only need to water during prolonged dry periods. When the cabbage turns brown, you can harvest the Jerusalem artichoke with the help of a digging fork.