BY: ALLISON REINECK
Although Halloween is approaching, there is still time to grow some plants that will thrive and endure in the cold weather that will provide you with some fresh and healthy vegetables. You may face some challenges that come with planting this time of year. For example, there are few local places that keep vegetable plants in stock for more than a short period of time, and it can be difficult for the student population to know where to grow a garden as many of us rent for the semester.
Starting a Garden as a Renter
Starting an outdoor garden does not have to cause damage to any of your rental property, and does not have to break your wallet either. The most renter-friendly option for starting an outdoor garden is using containers that are easily movable and will not damage whatever area you are placing them on at your rental property. For patios, you may want to opt for a raised bed, such as this affordable option available on Amazon. The raised legs ensure that there is no drainage remaining stuck beneath the container. For rental yards, opt for containers of any form, with at least 16” of depth to allow for sufficient root growth. If these pots are directly placed on the ground, it is important that there is either a built in drainage system or that you facilitate one by poking holes into the bottom of the pot. A container that effectively fills these requirements is this planter from Target with a built in watering grid. To provide additional drainage within these containers, either directly on the ground or in a raised bed, materials can be added in the bottom of the containers to encourage this drainage. I have personally used peat moss that is available at the Dollar Tree, but for larger containers it may be more efficient to use some form of rocks.
Plants to Start in Early October
There is a large variety of plants that can be started in late September/early October that will have enough time to have multiple harvests before the frost comes this winter. The first being lettuce, of which some varieties prefer warmer conditions, but hardier varieties thrive in Ohio autumn conditions. For example, romaine lettuce has harder external leaves allowing the plant to sustain lower temperatures than its counterparts such as summertime lettuce. In addition to lettuce, the following plants are appropriate to plant during this time of year:
- Swiss chard Chinese cabbage
- Irish potatoes
Plants to Start in Late October
The following lists of vegetables are appropriate to be planted in early October, but unlike the previous list they will endure throughout the cold winter and can therefore be planted even later in the season. Kale is capable of being harvested throughout the entire winter and in extremely low temperatures. Some other vegetables that can be planted in late October area:
- Mustard greens
- Collard greens
Where to Purchase Plants
Traditionally, plants start from seeding. However, there are options to purchase plants already planted and ready to transfer into large containers. This option is easier for beginners, as there is more chance for a plant to thrive after reaching this stage, and it allows for more efficient harvesting. There are local options to purchase these plants, such as Shademakers Garden Center in Oxford, or Jamie’s Landscaping in West Chester. Additionally, there are online options where plants can be delivered directly to you! I would personally recommend GrowJoy, a company based out of Indiana. Happy growing!