5 Crops To Sow In The Fall For A Winter Harvest
As the Summer's nights begin to cool and the green of Summer’s leaves begin to change to the yellow, orange, and brown hues, Fall is announcing its presence. There is a certain nostalgia that accompanies Fall and the changes that Fall brings. Fall beautifully announces a change of season that comes with it’s own aesthetics, holidays, customs, and crops. The crops of Fall are integrated into the season making it almost impossible to find anything that is not flavored pumpkin spiced. Yet, Fall comes in quickly and often departs the same way while opening the doors for Winter’s cold and frigid winds.
For many growers winter may seem like a desolate time of the year forcing you indoors while nature hibernates or migrates from the cold of Winter. While the cold weather outside may be frightening and the warmth of indoors may be delighting, the break from gardening for many growers is not welcomed or inviting. Winter can be a season of harvest if proper crops are planted in early Fall in many growing zones. I will list 5 crops that are extremely cold hardy and will allow for you to have a winter’s harvest.
Carrots are an awesome crop that can be grown in every season, but the cold and freezing ground of Winter highlights and brings attention to the sugars found in carrots. To ensure you are able to harvest carrots throughout the Winter you will need to sow your carrot seeds in the ground 6 weeks prior to your first scheduled frost date. This time will give the seeds time to germinate and begin the growth cycle giving the plants the hardiness needed to survive winter in most growing zone unprotected.
Spinach is a great crop for Fall sowing and Winter harvest. Spinach can be densely sown to ensure a large harvest. Spinach will grow slowly without protection during the Winter months, but with protection you will be able to harvest a consistent crop of spinach during the cold months.
Cabbage is a great crop to sow in the late Summer for a Fall harvest. Cabbage can endure the cold of winter, but there are certain cultivars of cabbage that are great for planting in the Fall for a harvest in January and February. The cabbage cultivar January King is a great example of a Fall sown and Winter harvest cabbage variety.
Photo Courtesy of: Graham Corney
Broad Beans or Fava Beans are great crops that can be sown in the Fall or even in Winter months. Broad Beans not only produce a hearty bean that is great in soups, stews, and makes great hummus; furthermore the Broad Bean also serves the purpose of a Cover Crop fixing nitrogen into the ground.