Fear of frost? Keep plants growing through fall’s chill

As summer winds down and frost threatens, even avid gardeners may be tempted to pack up their trowels and call it a season.

You may think it is better to leave the victory garden gracefully than risk the disappointment of watching crops wither in chilly temperatures. But fear of frost and failure do not have to stop you from enjoying a fruitful fall garden. With the right plant choices and a few tricks, producing a hefty harvest can be easy.

A few facts about frost

Frost occurs when temperatures drop enough to condense and freeze the moisture in the air. In fall, when air temperatures sink, it is common to find frost layering the ground, leaves and crops. Frost may occur frequently in the fall before the ground really becomes frozen, known as a hard freeze.

While a hard freeze generally heralds the end of the growing season and frost can harm warm weather crops like oranges, some vegetables actually do very well—and taste better—when nipped by frost. By stocking your fall garden with frost-loving varieties, you can ensure your garden remains victorious and bountiful right up to the first hard freeze. Not sure when the hard freeze will occur in your region? Check out the USDA Freeze Map.

When you consider the many advantages of fall gardening, frost should not be feared. Cooler temperatures mean you will have a more comfortable experience while working in the garden, and you will have fewer insect pests and weeds with which to deal.

Frost-friendly choices

Just because the growing season is over for summer crops like tomatoes, you do not have to give up gardening before the cold winter weather. Instead, clear out the remnants of summer plantings and debris and get the ground ready for fall favorites like spinach, cabbage, collards and kale. These hearty, leafy vegetables— available from Bonnie Plants —actually like the chill weather and can stand up to some frost.

Certain root veggies, such as radishes and turnips, also do well in cooler temperatures. All are packed with nutrients, so you can plant them knowing you will be filling your dinner table with fresh, nutritious, great-tasting vegetables this fall. For a list of fall-weather favorites, tips and harvest advice visit www.bonnieplants.com.

Get a good start

When planning your fall garden, time is of the essence. Start with well-established, vigorous plants like those Bonnie Plants offers in some regions at garden retailers.

Starting out with more mature plants not only allows you to get your fall garden growing faster, it helps ensure your vegetables are strong enough to endure unexpected or extreme temperature variations. And remember to choose

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