Plan Now for Cool Weather Crops
Growing our very own homegrown edible garden is a great way to extend the season while eating fresh, this time of the year presents great opportunities to stay active in our gardens as we plan for and produce cool garden crops that will give a bountiful harvest come next spring.
You may be wondering what are cool-season crops, the answer to your question is that cool-season crops are crops that grow best when temperatures are around 55 F to 75 F which will encourage a good harvest.
What to Plant for a Cool Season Crop
Below is a list of common cool-season vegetables that can be grown from your home garden.
- Swish chard
- Brussels Sprout
Cool-season crops germanates when the soils and the weather remain cool, crops will grow and continue to mature in part because of the weather not only being cool but short periods of daylight as well.
Soil Preparation for Cool Season Crops
Preparation is key, if the soil is wet or too dry then avoid sowing seeds until the soil is just right, the ideal time to sow seeds is when the soil is moist not waterlogged or water saturated. To help build your soil the addition of organic matter such as aged manure or compost will work wonders. Incorporating a slow-release fertilizer at the time of soil preparation is an added benefit.
How to Sow the Seeds
Many cold weather edible crops can be started indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost of the season. The reason for this is that seedlings will not only get a head start but will be healthy and strong to survive the outdoor environment. Seeds should be started in starter trays with a quality soilless mix.
Fill each cell with the potting mix, the potting mixture should fill each tray cell completely, the seeds should be planted by gently pressing them into the potting mix or a pencil will do by making small holes and planting the seeds. Seeds can be planted do a depth of no more than half an inch to an inch in the soil to no more than two inches. As a rule of thumb, however, read the seed packages for the correct planting depth because if seeds are planted too deeply will not germinate.
Now label the seeds you have sown, especially if you’re planting different varieties. The label should have the name of the seeds and the planting date the seeds were sown. When watering seeds use a watering can with a shower head to give a gentle shower, a turkey baster that’s clean can work as well.
Heavy or coarse waterdrops can cause the seeds to wash away or shift disturbing the roots, the goal is to thoroughly wet the soil without disturbing the seeds. The seeds should be kept in an area that gets a good amount of indirect sunlight or light of some sort such as grow lights that can be purchased from your garden center or plant nursery.
The soil should never be allowed to dry out, nor saturated the soil with water but rather strive for a soil that’s evenly moist, Once your seedling produces 3 or 4 true leaves it’s time to move them outdoors. Before removing seedlings outdoors, each day for the next 7-10 days before the final frost for your area set your seedlings outdoors in a dappled shaded area for short time away from the wind.
Continue this process each day for an hour, this is preparing your seedlings for permanent transplanting outdoors, gradually extend the time until seedlings are adjusted. The soil that your seedlings are to be transplanted should be well-prepared organic-rich and well-drained, once seedlings have been transplanted ensure that the soil is evenly moist at all times.
What about a Cold Frame Garden
What about a cool-frame garden and what is a cool-frame garden anyhow ? a cold frame garden is a box that has no bottom, these boxes are set over or around garden plants. Cold frame garden boxes are usually built low to the ground, and protect plants from the extreme (frost) cold. These frame boxes have transparent roofs or lids that let in the sunlight. If the boxes get too warm the lids can easily be propped up or open.
When to harvest Cool Season Crops
Cool-season crops should be harvested before the temperatures get too warm for a quality harvest.
The Benefits of a Cold Frame Garden
- Cold frame boxes can be used to harden off seedlings before the garden season begins or during the warmer months
- Cold frame gardens will encourage healthy growth from plants that are cold hardy, these plants can grow year-round as long as the frame is insulated from the outside with straw bale
- These frames can help to extend the growing season during the colder months
- Garden insect pests will have a harder time making a meal out of your edible crops because the box acts as (plants are secure inside the box) protection
- Protects plants from the wind and the rain
Bonus Tips Just for You
Below is a list of some of the easiest cool weather crops to grow.
- Fava beans
- Brussels sprouts
The final word on cool weather crops
Now is the ideal time to prepare for a cool-season crop, grow your favorite cool-season edibles from this list of vegetables that was provided. I am sure you will be happy with the results, so take advantage because you will not only be eating healthy and fresh but will save a few dollars which sounds like a win-win. What are you waiting for get started now and reap a tasty bountiful harvest from your garden to your kitchen.
About the author
Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.