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Get Growing: Squeezing in the last plant of the year

Fall is a difficult time to plant more food.
Vegetables at the market

The nights are getting cooler, days shorter and the mountains received their first snow. This can only mean one thing; winter is right around the corner and we want to try and squeak in some fall crops before the first frost of the year arrives.

Correct, the first frost (and snow) will be here before we know it, so it’s time to get the last of the plants in the ground to see if we can’t get more food. Fall is always hard from a gardening standpoint since we can get snow at any time, which will kill your plants. All you can do is plant and hope for the best.

We are back to planting plants that like the cooler weather except now the weather is starting out hot and will be getting slightly cooler each day so it’s a bit different from the spring and usually a bit more challenging. Here’s a list of seeds that can be planted for the fall weather:

  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Chard
  • Kale
  • Carrots
  • Rutabagas
  • Lettuce

You likely have open space from your spring crops that no longer exist, you can plant these fall plants in that same space or in the open space from your garlic harvest, basically plant your fall crops wherever you have open room and see what happens.

If an unexpected snow storm rolls in early or when you still have food growing out in the garden you can try and protect your plants with thick row covers, blankets, buckets or anything you have that can go over the plants to try and protect them. That likely won’t work if it’s a big multi-day snow storm but it may keep your plants just warm enough for those quick fall storms where the weather barely falls below freezing before getting back to 70F  the next day.

End of Summer Pro Tip: A lot of fruit orchards and stands sell “seconds” which are slightly damaged fruits that people don’t like to buy because of their appearance. These fruits are then sold at a steep discount and they actually taste better than the undamaged fruits. If you pick up a box (or three) of peach seconds at the farmers market you can then slice and freeze these peaches for the winter.

James Lissy

About the Author: James Lissy

James, a Longmont resident, has spent the last few years learning the ins and outs of maintaining an urban garden.
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