When I first discovered the magic of the Fall Garden, it was all about less pests, less heat, and less maintenance! But after years of raising veggies in the Fall, I have realized that there are even more perks than I first imagined!
Some veggies actually benefit from frost. Did you know that veggies have a built-in anti-freeze system? It’s true! Broccoli, carrots, and cabbage (just to name a few) actually send water down into their roots when the days get chillier. This causes the sugars to condense which makes your veggies taste sweeter! Try a carrot before and after a couple of frosts and tell me you can’t tell a big difference! Disclaimer: I'm sorry if it ruins store-bought carrots for you in the future!
Garlic: the set-it-and-forget-it crop. Is it not miraculous that one clove can turn into a huge, beautiful head of garlic? That takes a ton of energy and the only way it happens is if A LOT of action happens underground first. (I think there is a life lesson in there somewhere). Your garlic establishes a stellar root system during winter and then the real magic happens when the temps start to rise in March. Don’t worry if your green tops die back with the frost, the bulbs are usually just fine. There is also nothing wrong with using frost cloth if there’s a deathly cold night, but I never bother with it for my garlic.
There is no frenzy to the Fall Garden. Have you ever had a summer garden and realized that all of your tomatoes are going to be ripening while you’re at the beach? First you panic, then phone a friend, and then pray your friend doesn’t overwater and kill your garden with kindness. I’ve been there! It is the same with cucumbers, squash, and eggplants. If you do not pick them, they will go bad. The Fall Garden is much more forgiving! Leafy greens like collards, mustard, cabbages, and spinach will sit there and wait for you to pick them. And most of them don’t even care about a light or medium frost.
Are you experiencing the pleasantries of your Fall garden yet? I sure hope so! Sit back and enjoy the ride. And if you didn't get around to planting your cool weather crops this year and you live in zone 8 like me, you get another shot at most of them again come February!