Linda Geist

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The recent shift to milder temperatures is a pleasant reminder that it is time for gardeners to plant cool-season vegetables, said University of Missouri Extension horticulture specialist David Trinklein.

Warm days and cool nights make conditions ideal for a second round of cool-season vegetables, Trinklein said. They most often are more flavorful than a spring crop of the same species.

First, pull spent plants and clean debris and weed from the garden. This helps to prevent insects and diseases that tend to be drawn to fall gardens more than spring gardens. Some gardeners use floating row cover to keep insects away, Trinklein says. Row cover is an inexpensive translucent and breathable polyester fabric found at many garden centers.

Next, work the soil lightly and, if needed, add a general-purpose garden fertilizer such as 5-10-5 or 12-12-12 before planting. The need for additional fertilizer depends largely on the vigor of the species previously growing in the space.

Lettuce, beet, kale, collards and some other cool-season vegetables can be planted from seeds. Choose varieties based upon days-to-maturity date. Look for vegetables that can withstand a light frost of about 26 F. Read seed packets for maturity and frost dates. Some greenhouses and garden centers carry started plants of vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and kohlrabi.

Keep soils moist until seedlings become established. Scout often for insects and diseases.

For more information, see the article “Time for Fall Vegetables” at

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