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All the Best Cold-Weather Plants You Can Still Get In the Ground

Photos via Instagram by farmingwithfaith / waysidegardens / mostardinursery

Don’t let the early sunsets and chilly temperatures fool you—the gardening season isn’t quite over yet. That’s what I keep telling myself when I stare down at the plethora of plants I’ve yet to put in the ground.

Because despite the Christmas music blasting in all the stores, winter doesn’t officially start until Dec. 21. And the fall is actually a fabulous time to plant and keep your garden growing.

Certain plants even thrive in the cold and may perform better than if they were planted in the summer heat. So here’s your frosty guide to which hearty plants to get into the ground before it freezes so you can get every last bit of gardening of the year done.

Root vegetables

Have you been dreaming about comforting, delicious stews filled with root vegetables? The good news: Now isn’t just the time to harvest all your favorite tubers; it’s also a great time to plant some new ones.

“Garlic is one of my favorite root vegetables, and it also makes for the perfect winter crop,” says Elle Meager, founder, and CEO of Outdoor Happens. “If you plant garlic in your garden now, it will be one of the first veggies to greet you after the cold winter stretch.”

In addition to garlic, try planting onions, radishes, beets, carrots, and turnips. Just be sure to plant them at the correct depth and add extra mulch for some additional warming protection in their first few weeks of winter growth.

Trees and shrubs

Trees and shrubs prefer chilly temperatures for planting. Bonus: These perennials tend to go on sale during the fall, adding another great reason to buy and plant them now.

“Perennial shrubs and trees planted in mild weather have a chance to get established without the pounding heat of summer, which can stress plants,” explains Kris Bordessa, author of “Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living.”

“Roots actively grow once transplanted, but top growth in cooler weather is minimal, which creates a more developed root system,” says Bordessa.

So go ahead and plant all your favorite ornamental shrubs such as maple, lilac, and magnolia. And remember that now is also the perfect time for hearty shrubs like forsythia, spirea, and laurel.

Leafy legumes

Yup, you read that right. Now is a great time to plant your favorite savory leaf vegetables, especially if you can offer them a bit of extra protection in the form of hoop houses or cold frames.

“This is a great time for hearty greens like kale, tatsoi, and collards,” says Bordessa. “These crops can produce over a long period if you harvest the oldest outside leaves and allow the plant to continue to grow. Brassicas like broccoli and Brussels sprouts take longer to reach maturity, but they are another great cool-weather crop.”

Bulbs

Much like with onions and garlic, you should plant all of your favorite spring bulbs ASAP to reap the best blooms in March and April.

“Plant daffodils, hyacinth, tulips, and crocuses before the ground freezes for a beautiful spring display,” says Bordessa. “To naturalize bulbs, try tossing them on the ground and planting them where they land.” (“Naturalizing” is a gardening term that refers to an informal-looking collection of flowering bulbs.)

How to tend your end-of-year garden

While some plants in your fall garden won’t need much protection from the elements (we’re looking at you, Iris bulbs), others will appreciate a bit of TLC as the bitter cold of winter settles upon us. So once you have your plants in the ground, be sure to give them all a healthy layer of fresh mulch or even a blanket of fallen leaves. This extra bit of insulation will keep roots warm while plants establish themselves.

One final bit of advice for your fall garden: Don’t forget to water!

All new plants need hydration despite the weather. If your automatic irrigation system is off for the year, invest in a good old-fashioned watering can and be sure to water the newbies in your garden right up until the ground freezes.

The post All the Best Cold-Weather Plants You Can Still Get In the Ground appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

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