Fun With Cool Season Vegetables
Summer time is here and I am sure that you all have been enjoying the bounties of your gardens. Nothing says summer like fresh green beans and summer squash. Here in the Piedmont, we are luck to be able to enjoy all of the seasons to the fullest. Although it is hot and dry now, in a month or two, the cool nights of fall will be upon us. Fall is the perfect time to grow many of your favorite cool season vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts, and kale.
Although we all love our cool season vegetables, many of us find it hard to find a spot for them in our already overflowing gardens. This time of year, the tomatoes are still fruiting, peppers are still being productive and the squash have already claimed every bare spot in the garden, but I do believe that if you look hard enough, there are still a few spots that could bear you more brussel sprouts than you can shake a fish at. Cool season vegetables are not as aggressive growers as many of our vine forming summer time crops, making them perfect to sneak into any tomato or cucumber patch. Also, cool season vegetables are the perfect thing to replace those crops that never seemed to produce the way you imagined. Fungus, insects and other diseases sometimes make it easy to find a place that could use a little bit of extra green.
On top of cool season vegetables, it is also the perfect time to start planting some of the shorter season crops that many of us forget about. Radishes can be planted and harvested in the same month. Many of the newer varieties only take three weeks to transform themselves from a seed into a spicy salad garnish. Lettuces and cabbage can also be planted right now, so you will have plenty to harvest once the snows of winter come around again.
A beautiful garden always starts in your imagination and then grows in ways you could never dream of. Even though it may have been a hard summer for your crops, there is still time to replant in cool season vegetables to provide your family with fresh produce long into the winter.
For those of you that are really ambitious, now is the perfect time to start thinking about cold frames and winter frost prevention as well. Here in Randolph County, it is possible to grow lettuce, cabbage and greens all winter long with the help of a cold frame, or a mini greenhouse that sits just above you garden beds. Sometimes all it takes is a few extra degrees of warmth to keep your garden green all winter long.
Here at the Cooperative Extension Office, we are here to educate you about how to make your lives better though continuous education. If you have any questions about plants or gardening, please feel free to call us at (336)318-6000 or come see us in person at 112 W. Walker Ave. here in Asheboro.