Plan NOW for a Cool Weather Garden

Over the last couple weeks, the farm has been full of activity. Poppy and his friend Wayne have redesigned the horse pastures so we have direct access to the large horse barn. The horses will be grazing in a newly fenced back pasture which connects to the far side of the barn. We will now be able to host events in front of our beautiful barn!

Our farm has also been full of kids at our final art camp of the summer! We had a wonderful fun time and are already planning our ART CAMP for next summer!

In addition to a birthday party, wedding, church fellowship, and bridal shower over the next two months we are busy at the farm preparing for our cool weather garden.

After moving the horse fence back to make the big horse barn more accessible for events at the farm, we realized that we could have a bigger vegetable garden too! Now we have a spot that gets full sun and has been naturally fertilized over the years with horse poo. Perfect!

There really is no reason to limit your harvests to summer. Cold weather gardening opens up a door of new possibilities. Since vegetable gardening doesn’t have to stop when the weather turns cooler, we have decided to put in a winter garden. Vegetables like tomatoes and squash that need the sunny days and warm conditions to complete their perfect ripening, winter crops are mostly vegetables with leaves.

Rock at the farm picking our summer crop of blueberries. 

Rock at the farm picking our summer crop of blueberries. 

Winter is always a good season for a wide variety of crops in the South. At Rolling Hills we have had huge success with lots of cold tolerant winter crops such as spinach, kale, and lettuce. We will plant these again and add radishes and carrots. It is surprisingly simple and weeds are few.

There is still a lot of time for seeding but now is the time to plan. We want to have enough for our family and some to give away. Years ago our friend Jack introduced us to a kind of green called “tender greens” which is a milder version of collards. We will plant the seed right into the ground around the middle of September.

Here are the other plants we are planning to grow in our cool weather garden. We love having our fresh produce during the cool months and they are all super healthy and organic. Win and win!  

·         Spinach: a hardy annual grows during late fall and winter continually putting out leaves that can be picked all winter. These also need to be planted the middle of September.

·         Kale: same as collards is tender and sweet and hardy to 6 degrees.

·         Lettuce: prefers cool weather and is great fall and spring crop. Leaf lettuce is hardier than full head types and can be cut multiple times. We sow seeds early October.

·         Carrots: in the South can be sown as late as early November but as early and July through mid-August.

·         Radishes: need to be in by November 1. They only require a month to mature and the cool weather keeps them from getting hot, like they do in Spring.

·         Broccoli: Can be harvested several times a year, but does great in fall weather. Usually the heads are smaller and more tender than the ones you buy.

Here are a couple great resources for exact planting dates for these and other cool weather plants. Happy Gardening! 

South east gardening Calendar: https://www.lowes.com/creative-ideas/gardening-and-outdoor/southeast-gardening-gardening-calendar/article

https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/growing-a-fall-vegetable-garden