If your garden looks like mine, it’s time to start thinking about getting those fall veggies in the ground! One of the many blessings of living in Greenville, South Carolina (zone 7b, to be exact) is that the well-prepared gardener can grow an abundance of food nearly the whole year long.
Since I write for the benefit of urban gardeners like myself, I’m assuming you’re working with limited space. The beauty of fall gardening is that you can grow twice as much food in the same amount of space by doubling the length of your growing season. The first time I tried to grow brussel sprouts, the July heat and cabbage worms won and I learned a valuable lesson: Plant those cold weather veggies in August and use that garden bed for something more accustomed to the heat in the summer.
So in case you’re wondering what exactly constitutes a fall veggie, let me give a few examples:
- Kale (and other leafy greens): Perhaps the heartiest veggie I’ve ever grown, kale will grow 12 months out of the year in our zone. You can also do well with spinach, arugula, chard, and just about any other lettuce you can think of. Leafy greens are fast to mature and the darker ones are nearly impervious to frost.
- Brussel sprouts and cabbage: Anything that gets destroyed by that darned white cabbage moth in the summer is sure to fare much better in the fall.
- Broccoli and cauliflower: Summer heat can cause a bitter tasting harvest for these two. Much better results in the fall. Because of the longer maturing time, consider starting these indoors in July or finding a garden center that sells seedlings.
- Beets, carrots, parsnips, onions, and other root veggies all fare well in the cooler months.
To extend your growing season even longer, consider a makeshift hoop-house over your garden beds. In the end, it’s about making the most of what you have. We are blessed with a wonderful growing climate here in Zone 7b. Might as well use it!