root vegetables

As we enter fall and prepare for the winter ahead, some gardeners may give up on the edible part of their gardens. But along with colorful winter flowers and shrubs, there are a surprising number of vegetables that do especially well in the winter: plant them now and have fresh, home-grown veggies in even the coldest part of the year.

Northeast/Zones 5-6: Northeastern winters may look barren, but beneath the frost garlic and horseradish are happily growing strong. Plant these root spices in October, keep them covered with a good layer of mulch, and harvest them in the spring.

Mid-Atlantic/Zone 7: Fall is the perfect time to plant greens and root vegetables in this climate zone. Spinach, bok choy and endive planted in October will actually be ready by December, so you can enjoy fresh greens (perhaps with some home-grown garlic) in the dead of winter. The same goes for root vegetables, especially turnips.

Southeast/Zones 8-10: Everything that can be planted in zone 7 can also be planted here, in addition to more delicate greens like lettuce. It’s also a good time to start plants that take a long time (we’re talking a year or two) to get to harvest, like asparagus and Brussels sprouts.

California and Southwest/Zones 10-11: In addition to lettuces and other greens, the relatively warm autumn of this climate zone makes October a good time to experiment with some slightly more exotic produce. Try fava beans, daikon (Japanese radish) and fennel: the fronds are a great garnish, but the real joy is in roasting the bulbs.

(Image via *clairity*)

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