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Things You Can Plant in Fall in a Cold Climate

Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 1:19 pm
by Farside
I live in Hardiness zone 3, And I've been compiling a list of things you can plant in the fall that survive -40 winter temperatures and come up in the spring.

These plants tend to establish better than spring planted seeds in part because there is no soil disturbance as life gets going again following the deep freeze. In my climate the growing season is 90 days, meaning that it's touch and go as far as timing is concerned. Delay a week and you may very well not have a crop ready for harvest before the killing frosts arrive in the fall.

Hard neck garlic is a great crop you can plant in the fall (about a month before the ground freezes). In a very cold climate, you need to put a thick layer of mulch over the top (8 to 12 inches of straw / hay / leaves) when you plant it, and remove it again when the mulch thaws in the spring.

Parsley normally dies in these winter conditions, but if you bury it under thick mulch at around the time the ground freezes it will thrive in the spring when you remove it again.

Cilantro (which has powerful heavy metal detox properties) seed can be planted in the fall and will sit there until the conditions are perfect for germination. I've found this actually results in a better crop than spring planting.

Borage (which the bees go crazy for) dies at the first hint of frost, but the seeds survive winter conditions just fine.

Re: Things You Can Plant in Fall in a Cold Climate

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:29 pm
by Farside
Fantastic cold climate technique:

Re: Things You Can Plant in Fall in a Cold Climate

Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:42 pm
by parisgirl
I live in the Paris area and wanted to suggest Jerusalem artichokes as a great thing to grow in the fall. They are nutritious and are incredibly easy to grow. In France where I live, there are families who survived on this vegetable during the war because it is hardy and grows in the fall requiring little work. It's a veggie that went out of style years ago, but has come back into demand in the past few years and even some chefs have taken to making fancy things with them. But I have a neighbour who was a child during the war and she cannot even look at Jerusalem artichokes because of bad memories of hard times when she ate it almost exclusively for months and months on end.

I planted three JAs this year for the first time and did it late (end of september) and have got over 3 kg from just one plant. The tubers from the other plants are still in the ground.

One downside is that they don't last long once picked, but the good news is they will last months if left in the earth, so you can pick as you are ready to eat. Also, the tubers of the plants spread like mad and I was advised to plant them in an area separate from our other plants because they tend to spread and come up again the next year. This sounds like a good thing to me in these times.

Jerusalem artichokes apparently originated in north america and it seems that the natives cultivated them so they must grow well in cold zones too. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerusalem_artichoke

You cook them like potatoes, so boiled & mashed or fried etc.

Looking forward to getting other ideas here.

Re: Things You Can Plant in Fall in a Cold Climate

Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 2:15 pm
by Farside
Yes I grow them in the garden. The kids aren't big fans because of the slight bitter / pungent flavour but they do eat them.

The longest I've been able to store them is about 4 months when packed in moist sawdust.

Pigs and chickens love them and because they are prolific growers, they can be a good food source for them so you can convert it to protein. They grow tall (around 8ft) and have yellow flowers so they make an attractive visual barrier and windbreak in the fall.

Something to bear in mind is that they tend to multiply and take over if left unmanaged. It means you should dig them up pretty exhaustively and they will grow back just fine.