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Les Marchés Publics de Montréal
September 14, 2022

Keep harvesting until the first snow

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Keep harvesting until the first snow

Now that it’s September, fall is just around the corner. There are some cold-resistant herbs and vegetables you can plant in your garden to keep the harvest season going until the first snow. Here are a few tips for making this your most bountiful autumn yet!

 

Several plants such as Swiss chard, beets, carrots, spinach, kale, lettuce, bok choy, leeks, snow peas and radishes can thrive in cooler weather. The same goes for herbs and edible flowers such as chives, tarragon, marjoram, mint, parsley and pansies, all of which tolerate cool fall weather well.

 

These vegetables and plants can be planted outdoors in late summer or early fall, either in the ground or in containers placed on sunny patios or balconies. They can be harvested in October and November – maybe even December, if the snow arrives late.

 

With cool fall temperatures and reduced sunshine, these plants will not grow as quickly as they would if you had planted them in the spring. In some cases, you will have to be ready to harvest them as sprouts, without waiting for them to reach maturity.

 

Well-protected

Like mint and marjoram, parsley is an herb known for its ability to survive our winters. It can be harvested until January if you remember to cover the plant with a cardboard box before the end of November. 

 

It’s also worth noting that straw and dead leaves are excellent for protecting certain plants from the cold and extending the harvest season. By spreading a 20-30 cm layer of straw or leaves on carrots or leeks, it is possible to harvest them very late – sometimes as late as January. 

 

An excellent method for extending the outdoor urban agriculture season is to make tunnels covered with an agrotextile or plastic membrane. Stretch the agrotextile or thin polyethylene film over metal or plastic arches securely anchored in the ground or container where your produce is growing.

 

Finally, another way to extend the harvest season is to use a cold frame: a bottomless wood, pressboard or metal framework, 30 to 50 cm tall that you cover with a translucent material such as polycarbonate (coroplast).

 

Voilà! We hope these ideas will allow you to enjoy garden-fresh vegetables right up to Christmas!

 

By Albert Mondor, biologist and horticulturist.

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