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Easy, Tasty Things to Grow in Your Fall Garden

Even if you live in cool climes, September plantings can keep you freshly fed as the temperatures fall.

Fall garden vegetables
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Everything seems possible in the spring and early summer garden. Especially this year, with many of us staying closer to home and thinking about laying in a preserved, sauced or frozen supply of home-grown food for the cold months ahead.

But what if we could continue to grow food right up until that cold arrives? The fall can be a fertile time, not just for harvesting long-awaited late-season tomatoes, eggplants and cucumbers. Try starting these fall garden plants now to recapture that delicious sense of possibility.

Lettuce is one of the most satisfying garden plants because it is so easy to grow quickly from seed. Think of those crisp early fall days as a repeat of the spring lettuce season—sow seeds and pick young leaves to keep your lettuce growing until a hard frost puts a pause on salad days. Dark greens like kale and chard will continue to produce deep into the fall as well.

Find out when your area’s first expected frost is, and try to plant a fall crop of carrots at least eight weeks before that. Carrots are one of those vegetables that love a little cold; it helps them set their sweetness and earthy flavor. Carrot seeds are tiny, so you might want to sow multiple seeds in loose soil six to eight inches apart, and then thin the seedlings when they peek above the ground.

Garlic is a bulb, just like tulips or daffodils. Plant individual garlic cloves (one organic bulb from the grocery store will get you 10-15 plants) in the mid-fall, covering with one inch of soil and a nice thick layer of mulch on top. Your garlic may sprout this year, but the real prize will be waiting for you when things warm up next year.

What do you harvest from your fall vegetable patch?

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