While Fall may mean the end of summer, it doesn’t have to mean the end of your garden. Here are some crops that do well in our region in the Fall, as well as tips for growing fall crops in the Llano Estacado region.
Kale, Swiss chard, and celery will all grow well in the cooler fall season until the first good snow. All of these add a touch of green to salads, stir fry’s, soups, and casseroles, and they are also a great way to add vitamins and nutrients to your diets. This is particularly valuable as cold and flu season begins.
Gardeners with a cold frame will have a few extra options to add to their fall crops. Spinach, lettuce, carrots (smaller varieties will perform better in the cold), and the celery, Swiss chard, and kale (all three already mentioned above). During an extra cold season, some creativity can help make a cold frame a place where produce will thrive. Painting the inside of the cold frame a darker color can help the air inside the frame stay warm, as well as the use of lights (even something as simple as old Christmas lights), or milk jugs filled with water that put off warm air as they absorb heat from the sun (just note that such options might put off too much heat for plants like spinach).
Another way to protect plants in a colder season without a cold frame is mulch. Adding a few layers of mulch to garden beds can help insulate fall crops as the weather grows colder. And some plants like Swiss chard, kale, and spinach can handle the cold weather, as long as snow is kept off their leaves.
What plants did you plant this fall? What advice would you share for growing produce in this colder season?
Our thanks to local gardener Zach Schwab for his input and advice in this article.