Cole crops

In Garden on August 24, 2011 at 7:06 AM

Cole or cold crops are exactly what they sound like – veggies that enjoy cool seasons and are somewhat cold tolerant. Technically, they’re any plant in the cruciferae or mustard family, such as brussels sprout, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, broccoli, turnips and watercress. Most of these can easily be planted late summer for a fall harvest, except brussels sprouts which have a very long growing period.

If you get moving now (as in yesterday!) you can still get some fall plantings in. If you’re working from seeds, if you get them in now, mid-August, they’ll be ready to transplant into the garden.  If you missed that opportunity, look for cabbage or kale plants at your local nursery, just make sure they are the edible variety and NOT the ornamental variety. The other vegetable that you can sow from seed easily is snap peas. Seeds are still available in the store and they sprout within a few days, with a healthy crop of pods in just a few weeks time. They prefer full sun and in a protected area of the garden if possible, but make no mistake, these plants are tough and love temps between 30-60 degrees.

Most of the things that did well in the spring will do well, or even better, in the fall – for me, that means spinach, beets, kale, radishes, pak choy and kholrabi. I find it harder to find seedlings for fall planting but it’s worth checking your local nurseries or someplace that guarantees against GMO seeds, like Botanical Interests (my favorite) or Johnny’s, etc. It’s also neat to do a quick search on Craigslist and Etsy – you’d be surprised what good people are offering up on those sites in the way of seeds, plants or transplants.

These Easter Egg Radishes were so fun to grow and yielded really tasty radishes. Try them with good butter and sea salt!

So get out there, pull up the summer plants and get some fall vegetables going.

Here is an online planting calculator that will help you determine the planting date for crops that will be planted outside, without additional protection, for harvest in autumn. All are crops that tolerate frost and taste great in cool weather. If planting in an unheated hoophouse or low tunnel, you can plant 2-3 weeks later than the date recommended. If planting inside a hoophouse with an additional layer of hoops and row cover above the crop, you can plant 4-5 weeks later.

You can download the chart here: seedstartingfallcrops

  1. Love this! Considering it was such a rainy June here in Vermont, things got in way later than usual, so there were so surprises and disappointments along the way. But maybe it’s not too late to plant some more goodies. You’ve inspired me!

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