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Ok, if you’re like me you really want to be part of this grow your own/go green movement, but you may be a little intimidated and not know exactly how to get started, especially when it comes to growing your own backyard veggies. In order to give you accurate and up to date info, I enlisted the help of Sweet Peas owner Jon Culver to give us the scoop on easy care, easy grow fall and winter vegetables so that we can all become planet-saving savvy locavores!

Sweet Peas Garden Shop has everything you need for a fabulous fall vegetable garden.

So here’s the breakdown of my conversation with Jon. First, he says we will need a place to plant our veggies that gets at least 5 hours of sunlight a day. You can plant directly in the ground, but Jon suggests renting a tiller to break up our often clay-packed soil if you choose this route. Another option is an above ground gardening bed. There are many attractive options for raised beds out there that are easy to put together, or you can use an old sand box, leftover bricks, stone, build it out of lumber yourself or have a landscaper build one for you.

Garden designed and built by Daniel at Father Nature.


My neighbor did it up right with a fire pit and a swing and an attractive chicken wire fence to keep the critters out.


Landscape architect Troy Rhone has a beautiful backyard raised garden.


Next you will need gloves, a small shovel and seeds or seedlings to plant. According to Jon, it is best to buy plants that are grown locally to avoid transplant shock or plants that are accustomed to a different environment. Many of the large chain retailers get their plants from other regions, which means they may not produce as well and may have labels that give instructions for a different zone.

Good gardening gloves are a must.


A nice trowel will come in handy.

The best time to plant is from mid-September to mid-October when the high temperatures of summer are behind us. Fall vegetables that are great to plant are head and leaf lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, arugula, kale (not ornamental, if you plan to eat it!) and chard.

Plants at Sweet Peas will run you about $2 – $3 per plant or $12 – $15 per flat.


Lettuce is so pretty, but not too pretty to eat!


Each plant will provide one head of broccoli.


Cauliflower will also produce one head.


Arugula is a great salad switch up.


Red leaf lettuce looks pretty as an ornamental plant, too.


Buttercrunch lettuce – the name says it all!

Herbs such as thyme, oregano, rosemary, chives, parsley, cilantro and dill are all hearty enough to thrive throughout the fall and winter.

Orange and lemon thyme add fresh flavor to many fall dishes, or try with your favorite chicken salad recipe.


Oregano is a perfect addition to any Mediterranean or Mexican cuisine.


Rosemary does well as an ornamental shrub, too.


Chives, with their mild onion flavor, are so versatile.


Once you try fresh parsley and cilantro you’ll never go back to the dried versions.

Fertilizers and pest control are needed to maintain a healthy garden. Jon says the primary pests to watch out for around here are snails, slugs, caterpillars and aphids.

These are the products that Jon recommends for organic fertilizing and pest control.

I plan to roll up my sleeves, get my hands in the dirt and start living off the land or at least get a salad or two on the table this season. For more inspiration, check out Martha’s vegetable garden.

Martha in her Cantitoe Corners vegetable garden

Thanks for all your insight, Jon!

For more information about Sweet Peas Garden Shop, visit the website:

Jon Culver, owner of Sweet Peas Garden Shop.


I’d love to hear about your gardening successes (or failures) in the comments below!



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