Cool Season Gardening

How to Plant a Fall Garden

Many new gardeners mourn the end of summer, thinking it also spells the end of garden-to-table meals. But homegrown goodness can stretch far beyond back-to-school time if you plant a fall garden full of vegetables.

Prep Soil Now for Next Season

Before you lock up those garden tools for the winter, here’s a great idea for getting a jumpstart on your spring garden: Spend a bit of time improving the soil in your beds. Not only will it put you on the path to a healthy, productive garden…

How to Build a Raised Bed Cold Frame

Protect your plants from frost with a simple raised bed cold frame that sits right on top of your existing 4′ x 4′ bed. The lid is held open with screen door closers, and the entire frame can be moved easily when the weather warms up.

How to Build a Fold-Down Greenhouse

This simple, inexpensive greenhouse folds down to protect your plants during early frosts and cold snaps, then can be raised up on warmer days to allow them full access to sunlight and rain.

How to Save Tomatoes from Frost

By Julie Martens For most gardeners, covering tomato plants as fall’s first chilly nights arrive is second nature. After all, you want to savor those garden-fresh flavors as long as you can, and early nippy nights are often followed by weeks of warmer temperatures. What you may not know, though, is that low temperatures can… Read more »

Which Onion Is Right For You?

If you have ever planted onions only to grow a lackluster harvest of small bulbs, your growing technique may not be the issue. You may have started with the wrong onion. There are three types of onions, each one better suited for a certain part of the country. If you plant the wrong one, you may not get much of a harvest. Here’s how to tell which onion is right for you.

Row Cover Fabric Equals Protection for Your Plants

When the weather gets cold, we pull on sweaters or button our coats. The extra insulation holds our bodies’ heat inside the protective coverings. The same principle works for garden plants. Like a coat for the garden, a floating row cover will keep the cold night air and chilling winds away from tender leaves, trapping… Read more »

Make a Row Cover Hoop House

Many leafy spring and fall crops are frost tolerant into the 20s, but if you’re dealing with lower temperatures, you need to give them little extra warmth under the protection of a row cover. Depending on their thickness, these blankets give 4 to 8 degrees of extra protection on freezing nights…

Which Veggies for Which Season?

Because a vegetable needs either warm or cool weather, crops sort themselves into two distinct categories: cool season (for spring and fall) and warm season (for summer). Planting in the proper season is the first step to a bountiful garden. FOR SPRING AND FALL: Plant the hardy and semi-hardy vegetables below in early spring for spring harvests and again in… Read more »

These Vegetables Take a Chill

Not all vegetables need the warmth of summer to thrive. Cool weather vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, and lettuce, prefer the lower temperatures found in spring and fall. These vegetables are divided into two groups: “hardy” and “semi-hardy.” Hardy vegetables tolerate hard frosts (usually 25 to 28 degrees F). They taste best in cool weather,… Read more »

The Secret Life of Broccoli

A closer look at how broccoli develops will help you grow perfect heads. Broccoli is temperature sensitive. When plants sit exposed to cold below 40 degrees for a week or two, they suffer chilling injury. This triggers heads to form way too early. On the other end of the scale, if you plant too late… Read more »

So What Happens During a Freeze?

When a freeze is predicted, what happens to your fall vegetables? Perhaps nothing, depending on the length and depth of the freeze. A light frost, during which the temperature falls below 32 degrees Fahrenheit and ice crystals begin to form, can actually improve the flavor of many cool weather greens, such as spinach, collards, and… Read more »

Planting Cole Crops Step-by-Step

Spring is the perfect time for planting cole crops. Follow these four simple steps to create the foundation for a bountiful harvest.

Plant These Herbs in Fall

Fall is a prime time for planting the hardiest herbs that actually grow very well in areas with mild winters. You can put an assortment of your favorite cool-weather-loving fall herbs by the kitchen door—all in one container, if you like—for a pinch of each right at your fingertips. You can also plant pretty cilantro… Read more »

Harvest Guide for Cool Weather Vegetables

Harvest your cool weather vegetables at the peak of perfection using these guidelines. Broccoli When you see a head beginning to form in the center of the plant, check its growth every day. Ideally, you harvest broccoli while the tiny buds are tightly closed. If the buds begin to swell or show yellow (the flower… Read more »

Fall Gardens Make Sense

Take advantage of cooler weather to grow a spring garden in the fall. Broccoli, kale, spinach, lettuce, and other early spring crops grow well in the cooler weather of fall, and you’ll like the benefits: fewer insects, less sweat, a sweet flavor brought on by frost, and an extended harvest season in milder climates. The… Read more »

Collard Country

Union Springs, Alabama, the home office of Bonnie Plants, is also the heart of what you might call Collard Country. This time of year gardens are dotted with the leafy greens waiting for the next frost to sweeten the newest leaves. We are glad that the rest of the country is discovering this nutritious green…. Read more »