Row By Row Episode 112: Getting Ready for our Cool-Season Home Garden!
What Crops can I Plant in the Cool-Season?
The Fall garden seems to become more popular as each year passes, but the question that lingers with most gardeners is what cool-season vegetables can I plant? At Hoss Tools, we enjoy planting a Fall garden more than our Spring garden, as we think there is more variability with what you can plant in the Fall.
Some of our favorite cool-season crops consist of Broccoli, Cabbage, Collards, Lettuce, and Cauliflower. Kale is a great Fall plant many gardeners don't think of but is one of our favorites to cook in a soup. The best variety to make into a soup is the Lacinato Kale. Kohlrabi is also a favorite crop of ours that intimidates the beginner gardener but is very easy to grow.
The Purple Elite is our new variety of carrots that we are excited to begin planting soon! Carrots also tend themselves well to the Fall. Another delicious snack for the Fall garden is Brussel Sprouts, picking them straight out of the garden and putting them in some olive oil is a Hoss favorite. We can't forget about Onions because down here in South Georgia, Onions are a must as a cool-season crop.
The following list is a few more crops that will work well with adding variability to the Fall garden.
- English Peas
- Swiss Chard
Preparing for a Cool-Season Garden
Now that we have what we want to plant, when are we suppose to start planting the vegetables? Planting is very dependent on where you live and the frost date. Once you figure out which zone you are in, that will help tremendously.
With our Fall garden, everything except Radish, Carrots, Greens, and Spinach starts as transplants. So the difficulty comes when knowing when to plant them, here is what we have found to be the most accurate dates. If you are in part A of your zone, you will be towards the beginning of those days, and if you are in part B, you will be towards the later dates.
First Frost Date:
- Zone 4: Early-Mid October
- Zone 5: Mid-Late October
- Zone 6: Early-Mid November
- Zone 7: Mid-Late November
- Zone 8: Early-Late December
- Zone 9: Mid-Late December
- Zone 10: No Freeze
When to Start Transplants:
- Zone 5: Mid July
- Zone 6: Late July
- Zone 7: Mid August
- Zone 8: Late August
- Zone 9: Mid September
- Zone 10: Late September
- Zone 5: Mid August
- Zone 6: Late August
- Zone 7: Mid September
- Zone 8: Late September
- Zone 9: Mid October
- Zone 10: Late October
Show and Tell Segment
The guys are back again with some tasty snacks from the garden. Today they are trying the many types of figs Travis and Greg have in their yards. They both agreed that the best one in flavor was Black Malta. The LSU purple and gold don't fall far behind.
Travis brought in his South Anna Butternut it was HUGE! Greg then showed his winter squash, a Cherokee Tan pumpkin. The Cherokee Tan is a great pumpkin pie, and we will be carrying the seeds next year!
Another thing we're excited to carry next year is seedless watermelons! But, while we wait for our new seeds, we have to enjoy what we are gardening now. Our Fall garden is getting ready as we prepare for our onions. Greg and Travis both enjoy Fall gardening and hope every gardener takes advantage of this season to grow their own food.
Viewer Question Segment
On the topic of knowing when to plant certain crops, a viewer asked the question of is it too late to plant corn? Travis and Greg reassured him that it is not, early august on into September is ideal for planting time for corn in his zone. Corn only takes anywhere from 70-100 days to mature, so the time is still there. You may want to feed it with more fertilizer as the disease pressure may be more persistent with this hot weather.
Now the next question raises a little more thought, were some heirlooms once hybrids themselves? Yes, that is true. A seed can be stabilized after many years, so if a hybrid was created from two heirlooms, it could later be considered an heirloom, much like the homestead tomato we carry.
Speaking of tomatoes, Robert Jones asked us what we thought of the Better Boy tomato, which many of our customers have recommended to us. The guys explained they had never tried growing it, but it is on the big list of next year's new tomato seeds. Some of the new ones we will be carrying include Kellogs Breakfast and the Big Beef.