Growing cool-season vegetables in Louisiana

A.J. Heinsz-Bailey

The heat is almost over and you have exhausted your sizable stack of zucchini recipes. Take a break and start planning your fall garden. Cool nights and short days are on the way. Greens in all of their glory are waiting to put on an edible multicolor display for your fall salads. Fewer disease and insect problems along with no more sweltering heat increases the attraction of planting a cool season vegetable garden. The choices are plentiful. Seasoned gardeners will definitely endorse planting fall vegetables.

The many textures and colors of fall greens rival spring flowers.

Cool Season Crop varieties for Louisiana:
Beets: Rainbow mix, ‘Ruby Queen’, ‘Detroit Dark Red’, ‘Red Ace’, ‘Kestrel’, ‘Scarlet Supreme’, ‘Bull’s Blood’, ‘Chioggia’, ‘Golden’
Broccoli: ‘Arcadia’, ‘Diplomat’, ‘Packman’, ‘Gypsy’, ‘Premium Crop’, ‘Green Magic’, ‘Early Purple Sprouting’, ‘Everest’, ‘Patron’, ‘Artwork’, ‘Purple Peacock’, ‘Waltham 29’, ‘Belstar’ 
Baby Broccoli or broccoli rabe: ‘Aspabroc F1’, ‘Apollo’, ‘Sessantina Grossa’, ‘De Cicco’, ‘Happy Rich’
Brussels sprouts: ‘Jade Cross E’, ‘Long Island Improved’, ‘Oliver’, ‘Marvel’, ‘Hestia’, ‘Falstaff’, ‘Diablo’
Cabbage: ‘Stonehead’, ‘Blue Vantage’, ‘Golden Dynasty’, ‘Red Dynasty’, ‘Blue Dynasty’, ‘Platinum Dynasty’, ‘Vantage Point’, ‘Megaton’, ‘Ruby Perfection’, ‘Chinese Blues’, ‘Late Flat Dutch’, ‘Early Jersey Wakefield’, ‘Golden Acres’, ‘Copenhagen Market’, ‘Perfection Savoy’, ‘Tendersweet’

Cabbage and broccoli are easy to grow from transplants. Be sure to space them properly.

Chinese cabbage: ‘Red Dragon’, ‘Tokyo Bekana’, ‘Minuet’, ‘Rubicon’, ‘Optiko’, ‘Pak Choi Purple’, ‘Toy Choy’, ‘Soloist’
Carrots: Rainbow mix, ‘Danvers 126’, ‘Thumbelina’, ‘Cosmic Purple’, ‘Sugarsnax 54’, ‘Parisian’, ‘Amarillo’, ‘Maverick’, ‘Apache’, ‘Choctaw’, ‘Tendersweet’, ‘Purple Haze’, ‘Little Fingers’, ‘Atomic Red’, ‘Scarlet Nantes’, ‘Little Finger’, ‘Napoli’
Cauliflower: ‘Snow Crown’, ‘Majestic’, ‘Candid Charm’, ‘Freedom’, ‘Symphony’, ‘Cheddar’, ‘Graffiti’, ‘Veronica’, ‘Flame Star’, ‘Vitaverde’, ‘Incline’

Cauliflower grows leaves before developing a head in the center of the plant.

Collards: ‘Georgia’, ‘Champion’, ‘Flash’, ‘Top Pick’, ‘Top Bunch’, ‘Vates’
Garlic: Silverskin group, ‘New York White’, ‘Mexican Red’, ‘German Hardy’
Kale: ‘Starbor’, ‘Redbor’, ‘Winterbor’, ‘Red Russian’, ‘Toscano’, ‘Curly’, ‘Black Magic’, ‘Lacinato’, ‘White Russian’, ‘Siberian’, ‘Blue Curled Scotch’
Kohlrabi: ‘Grand Duke’, ‘Winner’, ‘Early White Vienna’, ‘Early Purple Vienna’, ‘Quick Star’
Lettuce, semi-head: ‘Green Forest’, ‘Green Towers’, ‘Buttercrunch’, ‘Parris Island Cos’, ‘Ermosa’, ‘Nancy’
Lettuce, looseleaf: ‘Red Sails’, ‘Red Salad Bowl’, ‘New Red Fire’, ‘Sunset’, ‘Salad Bowl’, ‘Tango’, ‘Grand Rapids’, ‘Freckles’, ‘Deer Tongue’, ‘Oakleaf’, ‘Aerostar’, ‘Astro’ (arugula), ‘Lolla Rossa’
Mustard: ‘Florida Broadleaf’, ‘Tendergreen’, ‘Southern Giant Curled’, ‘Savannah’, ‘Greenwave’, ‘Red Giant’
Onions, short-day: ‘Red Creole’ (red), ‘Red Burgundy’ (red), ‘Super Star’ (white), ‘Candy’ (white), ‘Savannah Sweet’ (white), ‘Georgia Boy’ (white), ‘Granex 33’ (yellow), ‘Texas Grano 1015Y’ (yellow), ‘Grano 502’ (yellow), ‘Savannah Sweet’ (yellow), ‘Evergreen Bunching’, ‘Crystal White Wax’
Parsnips: ‘Harris Model’, ‘Hollow Crown’, ‘Albion’, ‘All American’
Peas, English/snow: ‘Sugar Snap’, ‘Oregon Sugar Pod’, ‘Wando’, ‘Little Marvel’, ‘Green Arrow’, ‘Knight’, ‘Mr. Big’, ‘Sugar Ann’, ‘Sparkle’, ‘Thomas Laxton’, ‘Mammoth Melting’, ‘Golden Sweet’, ‘Carouby De Maussane’, ‘Spring Blush’, ‘Lincoln’
Radishes: ‘Watermelon’, ‘Cherry Belle’, ‘Early Scarlet Globe’, ‘Easter Egg’, ‘Daikon’, ‘Sparkler’, ‘White Icicle’, ‘Ping Pong’, ‘Round Black Spanish’, ‘French Breakfast’, ‘Helios’, ‘Snappy’
Rutabagas: ‘Gilfeather’, ‘Laurentian’, ‘Helenor’, ‘Wilhelmsburger’, ‘American Purple Top’
Spinach: ‘Flamingo’, ‘Hybrid 7’, ‘Melody’, ‘Giant Noble’, ‘Tyee’, ‘Bloomsdale’, ‘Unipak 151’, ‘Seaside’, ‘Viroflay’, ‘America’
Swiss chard: ‘Rhubarb’, ‘Bright Lights’, ‘Peppermint’, ‘Fordhook’, ‘Orange Fantasia’, ‘Lucullus’, ‘Golden’, ‘Sea Foam’, ‘Pink Lipstick’
Turnips: ‘Royal Crown’, ‘White Lady’, ‘Just Right’, ‘Shogoin’, ‘Tokyo Cross’, ‘Purple Top White Globe’, ‘Golden Ball’, ‘Hakurei’, ‘Rapa di Milano Colletto Viola’

Pine straw mulch creates a striking color combination with the blue/green leaves of broccoli, cabbage, kale, and cauliflower.

10 Tips for Cool Crops
1. Use insect barrier cloth, also known as floating row cover, to keep the cabbage moths from invading your fall leafy crops. (Brassica crops)
2. Sow carrot seeds on the surface of the soil and water daily until they sprout. Cultivate the carrot bed to a minimum of 8-12 inches deep. Try rainbow-color carrots.
3. Beet greens can be eaten raw in a salad or sautéed. Try golden beets if you don’t like the staining of red varieties.
4. Kohlrabi can be boiled and mashed like a potato. It grows above the ground and is a member of the cabbage family.
5. Spinach likes it cool. The seeds germinate best when temperatures are approximately 60 F.

Plastic PVC piping can be used with floating row cover to protect fall crops from insects and frost.

6. Use lettuces as border plants in your flowerbeds. The different colors and textures are both flashy and tasty.
7. Turnips are a great alternative to potatoes. They can be mashed, boiled, or roasted. For a milder flavor, harvest turnips when they are just a little larger than a golf ball.
8. Do not crowd transplants. Allow adequate space for leaf development and airflow. Healthy plants will have fewer leaf problems. Most fall crops are easier as transplants in the home garden.
9. Many lettuce varieties require light for germination. Try a light dusting of sand over the seed after planting so sunlight can reach the seeds.
10. Stagger seed plantings every two weeks to extend your harvests. Several small harvests are usually preferred to one big harvest.

Scroll to Top