Fall Vegetable Garden – Broomfield Enterprise
Even though temperatures continue to soar well into the mid-90s, it’s that time of year to plan and plant our cool-season vegetables. Unfortunately, for me, I failed to plan ahead. I was a little too enthusiastic about buying tomato plants.
As I mentioned before, we switched to container gardening a few years ago. All my containers are currently overflowing with tomatoes, peppers, herbs and even okra. Unless one of my treasured tomatoes bites the dust, I don’t have a single square foot of gardening space to utilize this fall.
I hope many of you were a little wiser and more forward-looking earlier this summer. If you find you’ve had better restraint than me and have garden space available, here are some tips for the fall vegetable garden.
There are two types of cool season vegetables. They are classified into hardy and semi-hardy. Hardy varieties can withstand light frost. Semi-hardy do not tolerate frosty numbers and prefer warmer days. With that in mind, our average first frost is mid-October. However, it is not excluded to see temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit in September.
Another important consideration in fall planting are harvest days. In general, it’s a good idea to look for plants that you can start consuming within 60 days. One of my personal favorites is the radish. Some varieties can be harvested in as little as 30 days. And, now that I think about it, maybe I could sow some at the bottom of my tomato plants. Hmmm.
I usually focus my cool season garden on things I would toss in a salad: spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard, arugula, cabbage, kohlrabi and peas. Leafy greens can often be harvested when young and within a few weeks. It’s handy for those of us who lack a bit of patience. Remember not to harvest all the leaves. The plant needs it to photosynthesize and continue to grow.
Colorado State University Extension has a helpful vegetable planting guide. In addition to the herbs above, you can also try cauliflower, broccoli, scallions, and turnips. bit.ly/3m2iKR4.
Many local nurseries offer starter plants for your fall garden. If you prefer to buy seeds directly, remember that botanical interests are local and right here in Broomfield. They have many resources on their website, as well as a free downloadable garden journal. bit.ly/3zPjEWr.
Arianna Kelley Rawlsky holds a master’s degree in horticulture and is the director of Bringing People and Plants Together, an organization dedicated to bringing horticulture education and therapy to the community. For more information: PeopleAndPlantsTogether@gmail.com or follow us on Facebook.