Colder weather vegetables I can plant now

Asked September 12, 2019, 10:46 AM EDT

Where can I find information on what vegetables I can grow prior to winter and how to care for them?

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

Hi, There’s a long list of crops, mostly leafy greens, which you can plant now and harvest before and after frost arrives. And you can probably find seed packets for some crops in local garden centers, hardware stores, and food markets:

· Leaf lettuce, spinach, radish

· Broccoli raab (rapini), kales, collards, mustards, arugula

· All sorts of Asian greens such as tatsoi, mizuna, mibuna, komatsuna, hon tsai tai, autumn poem, and Chinese broccoli

· Turnips produce delicious fall greens. Some of the quicker maturing cultivars like ‘Hakurei,’ planted in early-mid September, will have enough time to make turnips before frost

Fall gardening means shorter days, lower sun angle, and less intense sunlight so it helps to increase the recommended space between seeds. Cover the planted rows, beds, and containers with a floating row cover to reduce insect feeding, increase plant growth, protect against frost injury, and extend the harvest period. The cover can float on top of the crop or be draped over a frame. Secure the cover to the ground with rocks, pins, bricks, or boards. Consider using heavier floating row covers in October/November, and for overwintering crops, that give 5-10⁰ F. of frost protection. Type “floating row covers” into an online search to find a variety of sellers.

Water regularly, thin plants if needed, and start harvesting leafy greens, either by breaking off outer leaves or cutting plants to the ground to re-grow. Kale, spinach, and arugula, will overwinter reliably with floating row cover protection in all but the coldest areas of Maryland. These crops will re-grow impressively in spring.

This content will appear as a blog article in "Maryland Grows" on Sept. 20-