Tending to backyard vegetable gardens can fill many hours of enjoyable downtime in the great outdoors. What’s more, the bounty produced by such gardens provides healthy, fresh foods to gardeners and their loved ones. Although spring and summer are widely seen as the peak of gardening season, the mild temperatures of autumn can be a prime time for cultivating vegetables as well. Certain late-season treats like carrots, kale, spinach, and turnips can thrive in fall gardens.

Many different foods are quick crops that can go from seed to table in about six weeks. When sown in late summer, these vegetables will be ready to put on the table for autumn feasts. Beets, green onions, broccoli, and cabbages can be planted in mid-summer for fall harvest. Many of these plants can tolerate light frost, which may even help sweeten the vegetables. According to Toronto Master Gardeners, kale planted up to the middle August will yield an excellent harvest in the fall and winter. And, the bonus is that kale is very attractive, making your vegetable garden interesting even as winter approaches.  Dwarf Blue, Toscano, Redbor are all beautiful and tasty.

A handful of unique factors need to be taken into consideration when planning fall vegetable gardens.

The summertime location of the garden may still be adequate, but be sure to choose a location that gets eight full hours of sunlight per day.

If using an existing garden site, clear out any debris from summer plants and any weeds that have sprouted. If you are planting a new garden, remove any turf before tilling the soil.

Amend the soil with sand, compost, manure fertilizer, and any other nutrients

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Although spring and summer are widely seen as the peak of gardening season, the mild temperatures of autumn can be a prime time for cultivating vegetables as well. Certain late-season treats like carrots, kale, spinach, and turnips can thrive in fall gardens.

needed depending on the types of vegetables you intend to grow.

Some plants may need a little protection as they grow if temperatures begin to dip. Cover with a blanket, cardboard box or plastic tunnel to insulate.

Remember to water according to the vegetables planted and to keep an eye on readiness for vegetables. Turnips, beets, rutabagas, and carrots can be dug out when the roots are plump and crisp.

Vegetable gardens need not cease when the last days of summer vanish. Fall produce is delicious and can be easily planted and harvested even after the first frost.

If you are looking for guidance on fall planting, free gardening advice is available across the province by contacting your local group of the Master Gardeners of Ontario, an independent non-profit charitable organization dedicated to helping home gardeners. Master Gardeners are experienced gardeners who have studied horticulture extensively and continue to upgrade their skills through technical training. With this training and continuing education, Master Gardeners provide expert horticultural advice to the general public. Simcoe County Master Gardeners (simcoecountymg.ca) share their passion for gardening with the communities of Blue Mountain, Collingwood, Stayner and Creemore, Wasaga Beach, across to Barrie and Tottenham, and all points in-between.