As the autumnal equinox arrives and most people are prepping to put their gardens to bed for a long winter’s nap, I am sorting through my seed packets deciding which cool weather-loving herbs and veggies I want to plant for my late fall harvest. Here in Brooklyn, unlike the rest of New York, we are considered zone 7 so people forget that there are quite a few edible plants that will fare very well in cool if not cold weather. In fact, last winter I had arugula that popped up in the middle of January. No sh*t. So planting now, whether from seed or seedling is actually a great and feasible idea.
Frequently planted herbs such as basil, thyme, sage, rosemary, chives and parsley should still be kicking so if you already have these established they should last into the winter. If not, planting an herb bed or container garden will give you lush fresh ingredients for fall soups and upcoming holiday meals. And most of these herbs will come back in the spring as they are essentially perennials. This will save you the trouble of planting again once the winter breaks.
Additionally, now would be the time to pull all the lingering summer stuff out and sow a variety of veggies that thrive is cool weather. Since the temperature has dropped about 10 degrees in the last few weeks, my lettuce has perked right up, is growing at a rapid rate and looking happier than ever. I just pulled my sad tomato plants out and sprinkled a variety of lettuce seeds in the now empty pots so I will have a crop clear until the first heavy frost (and sometimes beyond if I’m diligent about covering the pots overnight).
Other hardy veggies that can go in now and leave you reaping the rewards throughout the fall are watercress, chard, kale, spinach (pretty much any leafy green veg), and peppers. So get back in that dirt and get to planting. You’ll feel pretty satisfied when you’re eating fresh-from-the-garden sides and salads at Thanksgiving dinner. Happy Equinox!