Top Tips for Cool Season Vegetable Gardening
With the intense summer heat, it’s hard to believe it’s already time to start talking about fall and winter. August is the month to think about planting your vegetable garden. Cool-season vegetable gardening isn’t rocket science, but there are some key things to keep in mind to ensure you’ll get the most out of your harvest.
What to Plant: The following are great options to plant in Georgia in the fall for a winter harvest.
- Leaf Lettuce
Where to Plant: When it comes to cool season vegetable gardening, it’s crucial to make sure the soil stays warm enough for your vegetables to mature fully. The easiest way to accomplish this is to plant in a raised bed, which allows the soil to warm more quickly, making the most of the limited winter sunlight. Ideally, your garden should be tucked away so it’s not exposed to harsh winds. You could also consider using a cloche (essentially a separate greenhouse for each plant) to provide warmth and wind protection, but these should be removed on very sunny days.
When to Plant: Timing is key when growing crops. To calculate the best planting date, subtract the number of weeks required for that crop to mature (often found on the seed packaging but also available on the internet) from the date of the first frost, which in Atlanta is typically no earlier than October 25. Follow package directions to place your seeds. Cover with mulch like compost to help retain moisture and moderate the soil temperature. Water as needed when the soil feels dry 2-3 inches down. Watch and wait until it’s time to harvest!
A bountiful vegetable garden makes a fine addition to your Atlanta lawn, and growing one is easier than you might imagine. Give it a try and you may find a new hobby! The satisfaction you get from planting your own food and watching it grow before your eyes is simply unbeatable. With a productive winter vegetable garden, you’ll have your freezer stocked full of homemade casseroles and soups in no time.