As weather cools off in fall, lettuce, spinach, and other leafy crops mature more and more slowly, so you won't have to rush to harvest the way you do when warm summer weather is on the horizon. The cool fall weather offers gardeners a big advantage, since the plants basically stop growing and you can plant a large crop all at once and then harvest over time. Instead of "going by" in a matter of days, as they do in spring and early summer, the plants last for 4 to 6 weeks in the garden, and you can harvest plants as you need them. Once temperatures drop into the low 30s/-1.1-.5C, plan on protecting plants by covering them with row covers or erecting a plastic tunnel over the rows. Be sure to remove covers on warm days and replace covers at night.Reprinted from The Veggie Gardener's Answer Book Copyright 2008 by Barbara W. Ellis, with permission from Storey Publishing. Creative Commons photo credit: Del Fuego
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