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It’s the middle of July and it’s smoldering hot outside. Your garden is producing mounds of fresh summer produce and your keyboard is still sticky from the fresh blackberry cobbler you spilled on it (ok, so maybe we’re projecting with the cobbler thing).

We’re sorry to interrupt the tomato-flavored bliss of summer, but we have to warn you: fall is coming.

Yes, we know the idea that cool weather is approaching seems appalling, shocking, frightening. Don’t blame us, we have no control over the earth’s tilt. However, we can help you take control of your seasonal garden and garden planning.

Cool and Cold Weather Gardens

In many areas of the country (like where we live in Agriculture Zone 7b) gardening can be a year round activity.

There isn’t a single day of the year that we can’t go out and pick fresh produce from our yard. Granted our December garden looks different than our July garden and has different varieties of produce.

Young Ruby Red Chard and Russian Red Kale at Tyrant Farms.

Young Ruby Red Chard and Russian Red Kale in the fall gardens at Tyrant Farms.

Like our summer garden, our fall/winter garden is also planted so as to be an attractive edible landscape, with a wide array of textures, colors and sizes intermixed throughout the landscape.

We might have to put on a heavy jacket and a wool cap, but we still get to go outside at the end of the day and pick a basket filled with:

Lacinato Dinosaur Kale and Red Mizuna Mustard Greens at Tyrant Farms.

Lacinato Dinosaur Kale and Red Mizuna Mustard Greens at Tyrant Farms. Fall gardening can offer beautiful colors, textures, and tastes! 

One of the other nice aspects of cool/cold weather gardening is that there are almost no pest insects out! For that reason alone, many gardeners actually prefer cool/cold weather gardening to warm/hot weather gardening.

Even if you live in an Ag Zone where snow and ice cover the ground for several months of the year, you can still grow a ton of food from late summer through the first freeze. Then start up again as soon as the ground thaws in early spring.

If you have low tunnels like we do or a greenhouse (like we wish we did), you can grow well beyond your first freeze dates.

 

 

Russian Red Kale and a variety of heirloom Italian Chicory growing at Tyrant Farms.

Russian Red Kale and a variety of heirloom Italian Chicory growing at Tyrant Farms.

So enjoy the rest of your summer growing season, but start planning for your fall garden now!

Fall Gardening Tip…

A helpful fall gardening tip for you: since the days are getting shorter and colder instead of longer and hotter, plants in your fall garden will take about 10 days longer to mature than the same plants would take to mature in your spring garden.

Keep this in mind when you see the “days to maturity” information on a seed packet. That info refers to days to maturity under ideal conditions

So if you see 50 days to maturity on a head lettuce, assume it’s going to take 60 days during fall or winter. 

Edible pansies love the cold!

Stop and eat the flowers! Edible pansies love the cold, and produce blooms in our climate zone from fall through spring.

Additional fall and winter gardening reading resources: 

Want to learn more about fall and winter gardening? These articles will help:

 

Happy gardening!