Magazine article Sunset

Vegetable Gardens to Fall For: Get a Cool-Season Plot That Delivers on Beauty and Bounty

Magazine article Sunset

Vegetable Gardens to Fall For: Get a Cool-Season Plot That Delivers on Beauty and Bounty

Article excerpt

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AS MUCH AS WE LOVE ripe tomatoes, by midsummer, we're already fantasizing about our fall vegetable garden. While rangy tomato vines and dead cornstalks make their way to the compost pile this time of year, we replant our Test Garden beds with the prettiest edibles: structural Swiss chard, voluptuous cabbage plants, and vining snap peas. By getting the garden established in the still-warm fall days and watered by rainfall, a cool-season garden looks good from autumn through spring. Turn the page for tips from our vegetable plots, from design advice to the best vegetables to plant right now.

CHOOSE A LAYOUT

A keyhole design makes the most of a smaller yard because it gives over minimal real estate to pathways. In a larger yard, simple rows have graphic impact (think of striped farmland). Either way, make beds no wider than 4 feet for easy maintenance and harvest; keep soil loose and healthy by walking on pathways only.

Keyhole

In this Test Garden plot, we created symmetrical plantings for a flow of colors and textures. The beds measure 2 1/2 feet wide and 9 feet long, connecting at one end.

1. Collard 'Top Bunch'

2. Mustard 'Southern Giant'

3. Collard 'Georgia'

4. Brokali (broccoli/kale hybrid)

5. Swiss chard 'Bright Lights'

6. Mustard 'Red Giant'

7. Cabbage 'Stonehead'

8. Mustard 'Southern Giant'

9. Cabbage 'Red Jewel'

10. Frisee

11. Viola 'Sorbet Coconut Swirl'

Rows

In an area measuring 15 by 1 8 feet, we kept beds graphic by planting bands of a single vegetable variety, then created a backdrop with tall vining crops. The four rows are 7 feet long, of varying widths.

1. Cabbage 'Red Jewel'

2. Cabbage 'Stonehead'

3. Mustard 'Southern Giant'

4. Swiss chard 'Bright Lights'

5. Sugar snap peas 'Super Sugar'

6. Siberian garlic

7. Garlic 'Early Italian Red'

8. Elephant garlic

9. Italian parsley

10. Mustard 'Red Giant'

11. Cutting celery

12. Arugula

13. Chives

14. Frisee

15. Carrot 'Rainbow Sun'

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PLAY WITH DESIGN

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Plant for contrast

Place different shapes and colors next to one another. …

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