Does the cold, dreary fall and winter weather get you down? Add more vegetables to your diet. Not only are they loaded with nutrients that give you energy and optimize your health, but I've found that playing in the dirt reduces stress and makes me feel happy. You can stay positive and perky too despite the cooler weather when you grow a variety of vegetables this fall and winter.
Prepare the Soil
The end of warm summer days signals the beginning of the fall growing season. Prep your garden by removing all the debris like dead plants, unwanted weeds and fallen leaves.
Then, check the soil level. It may be compacted by all your summer gardening activity, so you'll want to rake and loosen it up. I also mix in nutritious compost and additional soil as necessary to fill in the beds and replenish nutrients the fall and winter plants will need.
Choose Your Plants
Now that the soil is ready to nurture plants, select the vegetables you want to grow. Root and leaf veggies typically grow best in the cooler fall and winter weather. Your local Agricultural Extension office can provide additional details on which plants thrive all season in your region.
Your winter diet need the phytochemicals, folic acid, magnesium, calcium and vitamins B6 and C found in members of the cabbage family. Grow a variety of these vegetables that taste delicious raw or cooked.
- Brussels Sprouts
I think English, snow and sugar snap peas taste delicious as raw additions to salads or as cooked side dishes. They also add color and fiber, carotenes and vitamins B, C and K to your fall and winter menu.
Pump up your body's vitamin A, C and K levels along with its folic acid, iron, calcium and fiber content when you load your plate with leaf vegetables. Suggested plants include:
- Mustard Greens
- Swiss Chard
Loaded with vitamins A and C as well as fiber, root veggies are versatile additions to any meal. They include:
High in fiber, folic acid, potassium and vitamins B1, B6 and C, acorn, butternut and spaghetti squash are must-haves in your fall and winter garden. Puree the harvested produce as a soup base, chop and roast it or serve squash instead of pasta on Italian dinner night.
With your selection of vegetables, begin planting. If possible, rotate crops. I'm a creature of habit, but I learned that planting cauliflower, lettuce and snow peas in different spots from where I planted them last year maximizes the available nutrients in the soil and the quality of my harvested veggies.
You may also want to stagger plantings. I fill my table with delicious and fresh produce all fall and winter when I plant every two weeks instead of all at once.
Finally, whether you use a heavy duty or lightweight hose, water each plant thoroughly after you plant it and as needed throughout the fall and winter. A layer of mulch provides additional insulation that helps the soil retain moisture all growing season.
Fall and winter weather can be dreary. Brighten your mood with a variety of nutritious and delicious vegetables. Whether you grow a garden full of produce or a few lettuce plants on your kitchen windowsill, stay healthy and happy with seasonal produce this year.