The turkey is usually the star of the Thanksgiving table, but how about the richly colored vegetables that flourish late in the season and carry us through the cold months? Many vegetables prefer cool autumn temperatures, and my garden is still producing a bounty of these nutritious vegetables.
Cool-season plants will tolerate a light frost, thrive in short daylight hours, and actually perform better with mild temperatures. Some vegetables, such as beets and carrots, even need a good nip from Jack Frost to bring out their fabulous sweet flavor.
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and greens of all types can be grown well into the fall and early winter. Most are frost tolerant and some can withstand freezes and even snow on the ground. There are specific varieties that do particularly well in an autumn garden, like Red Ball cabbage, Winterbor kale, Bright Lights Swiss chard, and Jade Cross Brussels sprouts.
The hardiest fall vegetable, and one of my favorites, is spinach; it can be grown in even the coldest areas. When protected by a blanket of snow or a plastic tunnel, spinach can survive the winter and produce a flush of sweet leaves first thing in spring.