While most people are putting their gardens to bed, I'm just starting some planting of cool weather crops.

It might be my favorite time of the year to put plants in the ground. Lettuce, endive, kale, Swiss chard, leeks and more can all be planted right now and found at local nurseries.

Floating row covers act like a greenhouse to keep plants happy well into the winter. Floating row covers act like a greenhouse to keep plants happy well into the winter.

These plants don’t care about frost and, with a little protection, can be harvested much of the winter, too. I use floating row covers, plastic skylights and cold frames to keep the plants warm as winter looms. A floating row cover is a spun-bound translucent fabric which is so light, the plants themselves can hold it up. It can be found at any good nursery. It's an inexpensive way to make a sort of greenhouse that can be used season after season.

The clear plastic skylights were a gift from a reader. He says roofing companies always have them after re-doing a roof from the 1970s. A cold frame is just a small, unheated greenhouse in the garden. I’ve built two and hope to add more. I’ve planted them with greens and will open the top when sun comes out to keep the heat from frying the plants.

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It’s great to get crops in the ground now. It lets the plants become established while it’s still reasonably warm.  There will be a few hot days here and there, but the cool nights will make these plants happy. There are no pests left, and it's thrilling to pick fresh produce for most of the winter.

Some of these varieties will actually winter over. When they do, the plants will explode with growth early in the spring.

Look for plants at your favorite local nursery and don’t be afraid to throw a few seeds down either. They should have enough time to get growing before the end of the season.

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