It’s almost Halloween, and I’m out in the garden, planting seedlings and tempting fate. And by “fate,” I mean late heat waves, early cold snaps, aphids, cabbage moths, mildew, deer, and the neighbor’s cat.
I’m not saying it’s a good idea to plant this late, and there’s the possibility I might lose everything. But if you live in an area with mild, mostly frost-free winters, you still have a chance to grow some food this season. (Don’t live around here? Look up your area’s first frost date, then subtract the number of weeks it takes to grow whatever you want to plant. So if something takes 2 months to grow, plant it at least 2 months before the weather freezes.)
Some plants will survive a cold snap or two — kale, brussels sprouts, and other brassicas actually get sweeter after a mild frost, so you have more wiggle room there. Soft-leafed things like basil and salad greens will die at the first hint of cold weather, but you can enjoy them in the meantime, harvesting mature leaves as they grow.
Good things to plant for fall include:
- brassicas (cabbages, kales, collards, brussels sprouts, broccoli)
- peas and beans (fava beans are a favorite of mine)
- quick-growing salad greens
- beets, swiss chard
- garlic, onions, leeks (to harvest next spring or summer)
- potatoes (to harvest next spring or summer)
Do you have an autumn garden going? What are you planting?