kale seedlings

It’s not too late to get fall and winter vegetables going if you’re contemplating a cold season garden. Brassicas like kale grow well even with very little attention, and the plants produce in all but the most frigid months. For variety you might also consider lettuces, radishes, beets, spinach, and fava beans, which are often good through December. It’s said that choosing varieties specifically bred for fall and winter conditions can give a leg up — and for the clueless like me, names such as ‘Winter Marvel’ Lettuce would be a hint.

Though the tougher brassicas should do fine seeded directly into the soil, I’ve learned the hard way that a hot, dry day can turn tender seedlings to a wilted, lifeless mass, undoing weeks of effort, or cause them to bolt long before their time. So my preference is to start seeds in backyard pots, where I can better fuss over their heat, light, and moisture than at the more remote pea patch. And bonus, the seedlings are starting to harden up by the time the weather has cooled enough to facilitate successful transplanting.

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