Cool-season vegetables are right at home during the fall and winter when the air and soil temperatures are cooler. Higher temperatures, especially in soil, can prevent vegetable seeds from germinating or keep new plants from growing at their healthiest. Proper timing and temperatures can ensure successful sowing of vegetable seeds in the garden for fall and winter.
Sun-loving mustard greens love the cooler temperatures of fall. Sow seeds in the fall when the hottest weather is over. Mustard greens are grown during the fall and winter in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 to 11. The vegetables can withstand temperatures to -6.67 degrees Celsius without injury from the cold. Mustard greens reach maturity about 30 days after sowing in the fall or winter. Sow seeds eight to 10 weeks before the first frost date expected in your area and cover them lightly. When planting seeds in the fall, it's very important they are planted in moist soil to grow a successful crop.
A successful spinach crop begins with fresh seeds every year as well as a chilling period in the refrigerator for one to two weeks before sowing in the fall. Scatter spinach seeds directly onto the frozen ground or on top of light snow covering the ground in late winter. Spinach germinates when temperatures are between 3.33 and 15.6 degrees Celsius in the fall. Seeds are cold-hardy, suffering no damage from hard frosts or temperatures dipping down to 20F. Sow spinach seeds at depth of 1/2 to 3/4 inches deep in well-drained, moist, sandy loam, alkaline soils. Spinach plants mature between 37 and 45 days after planting.
Radishes come in two sizes; small red or white ones typically used in salads and large daikon radishes. Radish seeds are planted from September 1 to November 1 in the South when the weather begins to cool. Sow 1/2-inch deep in moist, sandy or loamy soil. The optimum soil temperature to ensure the seeds germinate properly is no lower than 45F and no higher than 85F, according to Clemson Cooperative Extension. Give them plenty of sun. Radishes are ready to harvest before they reach 1 inch in diameter between 21 and 30 days after planting.
The colourful, edible leaves of Swiss chard make this garden vegetable ornamental as well as functional. Sow early maturing cultivars of Swiss chard seeds 1/2 to 1 deep 50 to 75 days before the maturity date indicated for that cultivar. Swiss chard prefers full sun and well-drained, fertile soils. Sow seeds when the soil temperature reaches 40F and the air temperature is between 55 and 75F to ensure seeds will germinate, according to Utah State University Extension. They can withstand temperatures to 32F without serious injury to the seedlings.
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