Monday, November 28, 2022

Edible slow growth in winter

Outdoor potted lettuce
Monday, November 28, 2022

If you have noticed that plants seem to stop growing in the winter, whether indoors or out, you would be right.  Growth slows as temperatures fall and sunlight decreases.

Basically, plants become almost dormant when receiving less than 10 hours of daylight at cold winter temperatures.  For my latitude, daylight of less than 10 hours is from November 22-January 17 this year.  You can look on the weather channel to see when your daylight hits 10 hours.

When planting in the fall for winter crops, I plan to get my veggies to full, harvestable size by November 22nd when daylight hits less than 10 hours (I add 14 days to be on the safe side for the cooler temps of fall and less daylight than in spring to the seed package Days to Harvest time).  They will remain basically this size until the end of January, when they begin regrowing.  If growing in a greenhouse, the warmer temperatures will help plants grow, but at a much slower rate than during longer daylight times.  

The same techniques for protecting spring crops work for your fall and winter gardens.  
Protect your new plants from a late frost
Preparing for a hard freeze
Lettuce and greens in January under a portable green house
Growth starts back up at the end of January, for indoor and outdoor plants.  The lettuce, chard, sorrel, cabbage, kale, celery, and herbs that have overwintered will start growing with vigor again after this time with clear days and warmer temperatures.

Covering plants with row covers or portable greenhouses can help your plants grow; warmth does make a difference.  Just don’t expect significant growth until we get back to at least 10 hours of sunlight.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

December 2022 Edible Garden Planner

Early December garden; chard in the foreground, herbs in the background
November 27, 2022

December is when many stick to the indoors and staying warm.  When winter arrives, it may appear that everything is dead outside, but there is still life in the garden.  In the beds, kale, cabbage, salad burnet, sorrel, rosemary, oregano, garlic, onions, lettuce, leeks, chard, dill, celery, sage, carrots, broccoli, spinach are all still green in December.  Under cover, greens and lettuce are growing.

This fall had weeks of above average temperatures followed by weeks of below average temperatures with below normal for rainfall.  I am still watering the outdoor pots of edibles. We brought all my overwintering tropicals, pepper plants, bay tree, moringa tree, basil, aloe vera and citrus trees a month ago and way earlier than normal.  The pepper plant will continue to produce for a few more weeks.  It will keep its leaves and start producing again in February.  My kumquat tree is loaded with fruits.  Kumquats produce nearly year round.  The moringa tree was flowering for the first time this year when I brought it indoors  

Outdoors, fresh herbs, onions, kale and broccoli are just steps away from the back door, the portable green houses are packed with greens.  I did not bring in the rosemary this year and it is still green.  Both rosemary plants made it through last winter in the garden bed so I hope they will do the same again this year.  

Most Mediterranean herbs are perennials so you get to enjoy them practically year round.  You can also grow many herbs indoors as well like chives, oregano, rosemary, parsley, chervil, and basil.  Rosemary, basil and bay are good ones to dig up and bring indoors to guarantee survival through the winter.  Just place your potted herbs in a sunny window.  I keep my bay tree in a pot and bring into the basement with grow lights for the winter.  My bay trees is over 8 feet tall after 6 years in a pot.  I really need to repot it as I am sure it is root bound but it continues to look healthy.  
If you are using a greenhouse or row cover, your kale, celery, mustard, lettuce, chard, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, sprouting broccoli will be happy all winter.  They will not grow much until sunlight gets back to 10 hours per day in late January, but you can still harvest from them right now.  Be sure on sunny, warm days to pop the top on your covers or you will scorch your greens.  It can get 50 degrees warmer inside a greenhouse on a sunny day than the actual temperature outside.  Do check to make sure your pots in the greenhouse have enough moisture.  Open when it is warm to check, water and harvest.  I have both of mine open right now because it is above freezing and we are getting some rain.  
Cultivated dandelion in a pot
All cold crops are at their sweetest during the cold weather.  Frost brings out the sugars in cold crops.  Hardy greens like chard, kale, spinach, mustard greens, cultivated dandelion greens, pea shoots and collard greens make great salads and are tasty steamed or braised.  You can still sow seeds in December to get a head start on the spring garden.  What to plant in the December edible garden

Make sure if you have any potted veggies to put them on the ground if they are on coasters to keep them warmer during the winter.  The ideal location is in full sun and a sheltered area on the south side of the house to extend their growing time.  Placing straw bales around them or mounding mulch provides extra protection.  Moving them up against the wall on the south side does double duty-southern exposure gets the most sun and warmth and the wall radiates its warmth.  Pots left exposed on all sides will be zone colder than the ones planted in the ground.  If you are in Zone 7, be sure that plants left in pots are hardy to at least Zone 6 if you want them to come back in the spring.  If they are not, put under cover, mulch around them or bring into the garage or basement for the winter.
Extend the season with protection for plants

Veggies like your favorite tomato, pepper, eggplant, or celery that you potted and moved indoors will continue to produce indoors if provided warmth and enough sunlight.  My Chiptelin and cayenne pepper are ones I bring in every year.   We place them in the sunniest spot in the garage or basement and supplement with 4 foot fluorescent grow lights.  

Your indoor and outdoor plants will still need to be fertilized at about half the rate as during the growing season.  A liquid fertilizer every two weeks would be plenty.  I used alfalfa meal to provide nitrogen for my greens when I covered with the portable greenhouses.

Be sure to spray your edible garden beds with deer repellant, sooner rather than later.  The deer and rabbits will be getting hungry and your edible garden will look like a feast to them!  If you keep them from getting into the garden the first time, it is much easier to deter them after the fact.
Chives in front, sage and rosemary in back
In addition to the greens, onions and fresh herbs fresh from the garden, we will be eating the extras I put up over the summer and fall.  I have green beans, okra, tomatoes, pesto, winter squash, sweet peppers and hot peppers in the freezer.  Canned tomato sauce, hot peppers, pickles and pickle relish in the pantry.  I have my first storage veggie in our new cellar, Trombetto that can be eaten young as zucchini or stored over the winter as winter squash.  I have dried onions, homemade chili powder and herbs for seasoning dishes.

If you don't have much freezer space but want to grow what you can preserve without freezing, check out this blog for your garden this next year 21 no tech storage crops.

If you weren't able to put in your own garden this year or have enough to put up for the cold months, buying local is a good option.  Many farmers markets will open up again right before Christmas.  You can also look up local farms at  If you want to support your local farmer and get fresh produce come spring, buying a share from a local farmer is an excellent option.  It's called CSA (community supported agriculture).  You buy a share now and then get a weekly allotment of fresh produce when gardens start producing again in the spring.

Before I started our own edible garden, we joined a CSA.  It was great.  We got lots of super fresh produce, our weekly grocery bill was significantly reduced as our meals were planned around the vegetables, and it was an adventure getting to try new recipes with veggies we had never ate before.  
Eat well, be healthy

A CSA shows you what grows well in your area.  You can find out the varieties you like and when they come into season.  You can even save the seeds from the varieties that you want to grow in your future garden if you partner with an organic CSA that grows open pollinated and heirloom vegetables and fruits.
What do the terms GMO, natural, heirloom, organic, hybrid really mean?

To advertise as “organic” you have to be certified.  Many farmers cannot afford to do this.  Some farmers participate in the "Certified Naturally Grown" program.  This is less expensive than USDA organic, but also relies on inspections by other CNG farmers, non-CNG farmers, extension agents, master gardeners and customers instead of USDA certified agents.  If you are interested in produce grown without pesticides, herbicides or other chemicals, ask the farmer if she uses organic practices.  Go visit them to see the garden for yourself before you commit.  You can also check out reviews on line. 

Many sell out by January so don’t delay if you want to join!
Tarragon, thyme, sage, rosemary and chives
Winter is time to savor the fresh herbs from the garden along with what you have preserved, browsing for canning ideas, and planning next year's garden.  A potential Christmas meal using what is growing in the garden in December, Jazz up the Christmas feast with herbs from the garden

I have used Christmas break in the past as the time to finalize my garden plan for the spring.  I look back on my notes from last year's edible garden and this year's seed catalogs to decide what new varieties to add to my standbys.  Here is my 2022 garden reflections and plans for 2023.

Seed catalogs have started arriving and there are tons to look at on the internet that you can start ordering for your spring garden.  For tips on choosing seed catalogs to order from:   New seed catalogs are here!

Sunday, November 20, 2022

How to use homegrown for your Thanksgiving feast

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Add a fresh edge to your Thanksgiving dinner by using herbs straight from your own garden.  Herbs can be harvested all the way through the entire winter in most years.  Traditional vegetables used for flavoring the Thanksgiving feast are also harvestable at this time of year, like carrots, onions and celery.

Herbs are easy and care free to grow and almost all of them are perennials.  That means you plant once and they come back year after year.  For more details on growing your own herbs, see my blog here  Start a kitchen herb garden!

This Thanksgiving we are having the traditional turkey.  Sides will be green bean casserole (homegrown from the freezer), mashed cauliflower with gravy in place of mashed potatoes, and fresh salad greens from the garden.  Desserts planned are coconut cream pie, pecan pie and pumpkin pie (using homegrown Ginger's Pride winter squash in the freezer).  

For the turkey, I'll season with salt, pepper and homegrown poultry seasoning.  Poultry seasoning recipe made from dried herbs:
3 Tbl sage
1 Tbl parsley
1 Tbl thyme
1 Tbl marjoram or oregano
1 Tbl rosemary

For the gravy, I use my mother-in-law's recipe seasoned with 2 tablespoons of my homegrown Herbes De Provence mix from our garden dried herbs.  It is simply a mix of the dried herbs from this year's herbs.  I use it on many dishes.  Make your own "Herbes de Provence"

If I was feeling super ambitious, I would make seasoned butter.  It is pretty simple, just melt 1/2 cup of butter, mix in 2 tablespoons of herbs and put into molds to solidify and have pretty shaped butter for the dinner table for the homemade bread.  You can remove from mold by placing the mold in warm water and tilting the mold over so the butter drops out of the mold.

For seasoned salt, I make my own blend with mainly herbs from the garden.  Here is the recipe for my seasoned salt:
5/8 cup coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons small hot peppers
2 tablespoons juniper berries
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon rosemary
2 sticks of cinnamon or turmeric
1 1/2 tablespoons sage
I do buy the cinnamon and sea salt, but the rest is either foraged or grown in the garden.   For other ideas:   Using herbs, flowers and fruit for flavored sugars and salts

For the salad, I will add chives from the garden.  You can also make a simple oil and vinegar dressing with added homegrown herbs for extra flavor.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

The winter edible garden

4 season onions

 Saturday, November 19, 2022

The winter garden can provide food all the way to spring.  There are five strategies to having edibles all winter long.  One is to plant early enough to be at full size by first of November.  The second is to leverage protection like row covers, portable greenhouses, and cold frames.  The third is to choose varieties that are winter hardy.  The fourth is to grow edibles indoors.  The fifth strategy is to grow varieties during the warmer months that you can easily store all winter.  You can do any one of the five or do all five. 

If your want to ramp up the flavor and nutrient value of your winter meals, consider planting the season’s last garden using quick-growing crops such as greens, cabbage, and radishes. It’s not too late to get plants in the ground for fall and winter harvests as late as early October and definitely if you live where winters are mild. In fact, many plants get sweeter in chilly weather, and some hardy plants can be pulled right out of the snow for fresh eating like carrots and onions.

If the thought of fresh-picked salads and hearty, nutritious sautéed greens on your winter table appeals to you, use the information below to sow your winter garden and enjoy homegrown flavor, nutritious produce this winter.

In late summer and early fall if you haven’t already started seeds for transplanting, seek out transplants from garden centers.  The ornamental kale and cabbage for sale are not only pretty, but also edible!  Check well-stocked local stores for sturdy, healthy-looking plants. 

Make sure to add a scoop of finished compost to planting holes and organic fertilizer to add nutrients to soil that may be depleted after the summer harvest.  Espoma is readily available at most big box and hardware stores.  For greens type veggies, the general vegetable garden fertilizer is a good choice.

Choose the Right Varieties
In addition to choosing the right plants for cold-weather harvests, you can also increase winter harvests by planting specific varieties. Look for varieties marketed as: winter-hardy, frost tolerant, overwintering, for every season, year-round, remarkably cold hardy, etc. 

Because daylight hours are getting shorter in the fall, you will need to add about 2 weeks to the “Days to Harvest” your seed packet gives as the seed packet dates are based on spring planting.  Plants grow slower in fall because the days are getting shorter instead of longer. 

The list below starts with the produce that will be ready for harvesting the quickest.  You will want to get the slowest growers (at the bottom of this list) in the ground as soon as possible; you may be able to continue sowing seeds of some of the fastest crops into October or beyond.  Those that are planted as transplants can be ready 2-3 weeks sooner than the dates listed below.

If sowing seeds, be sure to keep the soil moist.  Seeds sown in the fall have the same needs as seeds sown in the spring.  Outdoor seed starting tips  If you are starting your seeds indoors, you will have to harden the seedlings before planting for the colder temperatures outdoors.  "Hardening off" seedlings 

17 Varieties for Winter Gardening
Ready for harvest in: 3 to 9 weeks
Can survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: For small and fast maturing radishes, broadcast seed directly in beds, or use chicken wire as a guide to space seeds 1 inch apart. Harvest after a few weeks in the ground and before the bulb becomes too hot and fibrous. You can sow seeds once a week for continuous harvests.
2-Turnips  All about turnips
Ready for harvest in: 5 to 10 weeks
Can survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: Harvest when roots are mature, but before they become bitter. A “neck” will begin to form when the root has reached maximum size, and quality will decline as the neck elongates.
3-Spinach and other hardy greens   Grow spinach-a super nutritious, easy green
Ready for harvest in: 6 to 7 weeks
Can survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: Transplant seedlings about 6 weeks before first frost. Harvest the leaves around the outside of the plant; always leaving 5 leaves on each plant.  This will let you harvest for weeks from the same plants.  Other hardy greens include miner's lettuce, corn salad, sorrel, arugula, salad burnet.
4-Winter hardy greens  Fall and winter greens
Ready for harvest in: 6 to 7 weeks
Can survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: Sow seeds directly into the garden or pot.  Harvest the leaves around the outside of the plant; always leaving 5 leaves on each plant.  This will let you harvest for weeks from the same plants.  Winter hardy greens include miner's lettuce, corn salad, sorrel, arugula, salad burnet, cultivated dandelions.
Ready for harvest in: 6 to 12 weeks for leaf lettuce; 11 to 13 weeks for head lettuce
Can survive frost: Yes (depending on variety-try Winter Density, Rouge diver, No Name Red Leaf, Arctic King, Continuity, Salad Bowl, Mottistone to name a few.  
Fall planting notes: Keep transplants indoors until soil cools. Lettuce seeds won't germinate in hot soil temperatures, above 75-80F.  You can also broadcast seeds in cool soil every two weeks for a continuous harvest. I like starting my seeds in a pot in a cool area and then transplant into the garden.  Harvest in early morning for best taste and structure.  
Ready for harvest in: 6 to 8 weeks
Can survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: I like getting the transplant pots with several colors; then separate and plant into the garden. Harvest sequentially as leaves mature, 1 to 2 outer stalks per plant; be sure to leave at least 5 significant inner stalks per plant for continuous harvesting.
Ready for harvest in: 7 to 8 weeks
Can survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: Plant seedlings deep, leaving 1 to 3 leaves above soil. Harvest as soon as leaves begin to become dull/less green and bulbs stop increasing in size.
Ready for harvest in: 7 to 16 weeks, depending on variety
Can survive frost: Yes (the denser varieties are the most hardy)
Fall planting notes: Plant seedlings deep, leaving 1 to 3 leaves above soil. Harvest at peak size and succulence, before leaves begin to yellow and split, and before plants go to seed.
Ready for harvest in: 6 to 9 weeks
Can survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: Plant seedlings deep, leaving 1 to 3 leaves above soil. Harvest sequentially as leaves mature.
Ready for harvest in: 8 to 9 weeks
Can survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: Plant seedlings deep, leaving 1 to 3 leaves above soil. Heads grow fast. Harvest before flowering begins. May produce secondary heads. Harvest edible leaves, too — they are even more nutritious than the buds.  I love the leaves in salads.
Ready for harvest in: 8 to 11 weeks
Survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: Carrots don't appreciate being transplanted.  Sow directly in the garden or pot.  You can use the thinnings as tasty baby carrots and salad additions. If you do start in a pot to transplant, handle the transplant carefully and make sure its main root is pointing straight down when transplanted.  Harvest mature roots at maximum diameter while they are still sweet. 
Ready for harvest in: 8 to 12 weeks
Survive frost: Light
Fall planting notes: Plant seedlings deep, leaving 1 to 3 leaves above soil. Cauliflower heads often develops in just a few days. Harvest at full size, before it begins to yellow.  Making sure the head is covered by the leaves keeps the head a nice white.
13-Brussels Sprouts  Growing Brussel sprouts
Ready for harvest in: 11 to 13 weeks
Survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: Grows best in very fertile soil. Plant seedlings deep, leaving 1 to 3 leaves above soil. When a node begins to grow a bulge out of the stalk to form a sprout, remove the leaf just below it to optimize growth. Harvest when sprouts are at maximum plumpness, before outer leaves become fibrous and sprouts becomes bitter.  Sprouts can be harvested well into winter.  
Ready for harvest in: 10 to 13 weeks
Survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: Transplant when seedlings are about 3 inches tall or sow directly in the garden. Choose best seedlings (healthy and vibrant green) to transplant. Harvest outer stalks carefully, leaving 3 to 5 large stalks per plant for continuous harvests.
Ready for harvest in: 12 weeks
Survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: Plant seedlings deep, leaving 1 to 3 leaves above soil. Harvest outer leaves to leave inner leaves to continue growing.  In mild climates, collards can be harvested all winter long.  Baby leaves are good in salads, larger leaves are great steamed or cooked.
Ready for harvest in: Next spring for mature onions, 6 weeks for green onions
Survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: Onions, leeks and shallots like loose, rich soil.  Be sure to plant varieties for the length of daylight your zone has in the summer.  It is the number of daylight hours that stimulates the onion to form bulbs.  In our lower Midwest garden, we need intermediate onion types.  Don't be tempted to grow Vidalias in Minnesota; they just won't make bulbs.
17-Overwintering Fava Beans and Peas  Grow a European favorite-the fava or broad bean
Ready for harvest in: 4 weeks-Next spring
Survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: Inoculate the seeds to get the nitrogen nodules that support more vigorous growth and nitrogen in the soil.  There are snow peas that are ready to harvest in just 30 days.

Now, don't forget you can harvest many Mediterranean herbs all winter as they are perennials.  Start a kitchen herb garden! 

How Low Can You Go?
Depending on where you live, you may be able to get a decent vegetable harvest even through winter with protection.  Many folks grow edibles through the winter in Zone 3 with some type of cover.  Several varieties will grow well into the snowy months, and a good frost sweetens many by forcing the plants to make more frost-protecting sugars.

Can Survive Hard Freeze with No Protection/Cover
• Broccoli
• Brussels sprouts
• Cabbage, regular
• Carrots
• Chard
• Collards
• Fava beans
• Kale
• Kohlrabi
• Lettuce (depending on variety-look for winter hardy) 
• Onions, leeks, and shallots
• Overwintering peas
• Parsley
• Radishes
• Spinach
• Turnips
• Winter hardy and perennial greens  Perennial veggies in the Midwest garden

Harvest Longer
In fall, promote faster growth by packing plants a bit more tightly than you might normally do. You can extend your growing season by adding thick layers of mulch around plants, or by using season-extending techniques such as row covers. When nights get chilly, protect plants by covering them with a cloth or blanket, portable greenhouse or cold frame.  Extend the season with protection for plants

If you aren't interested in outdoor cold season gardening, you can still grow some of your food indoors.  What edibles can you grow indoors? 

In late fall when the first freeze is being forecast, I bring in my citrus, potted hot pepper plants, my bay tree, moringa tree, potted basil plants and Red Malabar spinach to overwinter.  I also harvest from them until spring when I take them back outside.  You can grow other herbs and sprouts from seed, too.

The fifth strategy is to grow edibles that can be easily canned, frozen or stored.  For those that don't have freezer space, here is a list of crops that can be stored without an appliance.  If you didn't include these in this season's gardening season, add them to the list for next year.  24 No Tech Storage Fruits and Vegetables

Sunday, November 6, 2022

What's happening in the early November edible garden

Portable greenhouses set up for winter salads

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Well, we've had several frosts and a couple of freezes in our Zone 6/7 garden.  The tomatoes, eggplant, beans, and basil vines are dead.  The pepper plants have had almost all the leaves killed but the stems are still green.  The greens are enjoying the cool weather, putting on new leaves and growing.  

I could have used a fabric cover to protect these cold sensitive veggies and they would have been fine for the 28F nights we've had.  I don't cover my summer veggies to extend the harvest, but focus on getting cold season crops going for fall and winter harvests.  I do bring in my hot peppers to overwinter inside.  Gives you a couple months head start on the season in the spring.  I tried bringing in sweet peppers, tomatoes and eggplant since they are all tropical perennials but only the hot peppers seem to do well indoors for the winter.

You could also put your potted tomatoes, eggplant and peppers in a greenhouse and lengthen the season for at least another 4 weeks. 

The cold season crops like lettuce, cabbage, kale, broccoli, cultivated dandelions, spinach, onions, mustard, sorrel are very happy this time of year.  The celery is still going strong.  Celery doesn’t seem to be affected by heat or cold.  I put our potted celery under cover with the rest of the greens.  We harvest from it year round.  I haven't had to buy celery in years.  You can bring it into the garage or keep in a greenhouse and harvest from it all winter.  I've overwintered it in an unheated garage and it did just fine there, too.

This week, we got all my pots moved and under the portable greenhouses.  I fertilized them all with nitrogen via alfalfa meal.  Yesterday, I transplanted the rest of my lettuce volunteers into the pots under greenhouse cover.  The Austrian pea seeds I planted a couple of weeks ago have sprouted and are about 6" long.  Pea shoots are great in salads.  Austrian peas have survived in my garden beds without cover all winter.  This year, I have them in the pots under cover.

This is likely the last time I will fertilize until early spring when the plants start growing quickly.  I will need to check for watering, though.  Once the greenhouse is closed up, I typically only have to water a couple of times.

The herbs in the garden bed are doing very well-thyme, oregano, chives, dill, rosemary, sage, parsley, mint, tarragon.  Most perennial herbs can be harvested year round.  I brought in my bay tree, moringa tree and citrus trees to overwinter indoors; they don't survive our winters outdoors.

Time to settle in for cooler weather!

What to plant in the November edible garden 2022

Portable row cover 

Saturday, November 5, 2022

You can still plant for the edible garden in November.  Plant seeds of cold loving crops.  Many cold season crops have much better germination success when it is cooler.  Even if they don't grow rapidly durning fall and winter, they will start growing quickly at the end of January.  For those seeds that don't germinate now, they will come late winter, early spring.  Cover can be used for all the harvestable edibles to extend the harvest all the way through to spring.  
What is a four season garden?
You can garden year round in small space
Planning for a four season garden

This month you can sow more greens, carrots, beets and herbs in the portable greenhouse or under cover.  You can also transplant perennial veggies, fruits, and herbs as well as flowers, trees and shrubs.  Don't forget garlic if you haven't already planted yours, you still have time!   Midwest Perennial Vegetable Garden

Here are the crops you can start in the November Midwest edible garden:

November seeds outdoors
Austrian winter peas
Fava beans
Lettuce-winter hardy varieties
Snow peas
Spring bulbs

November seeds under cover
Broccoli and Sprouting Broccoli
Corn salad
Lettuce, Winter Hardy types
Mustard and Mustard Greens
Parsley and Parsley Root
Swiss Chard

November transplants
Cabbage, Oxheart
Winter and Perennial Onions
Trees and bushes

Portable greenhouse

Look for cold hardy varieties when planting for winter harvests.  You will be surprised to harvest all through the winter months things like greens, onions, Austrian peas, carrots, and cabbage.  You can also extend the harvest by looking for the same crop with different days to harvest timing so that they mature at different times and those that are advertised as winter hardy.  

 Fall planted crops take longer to come to harvest size than they do in the spring.  Rule of thumb is to add 2 weeks.  It's because the days are getting shorter rather than longer and the temperatures are falling.  Planting in November, it may actually be spring before they sprout.  

Covering plants when there is a cold snap in the fall will keep them warmer and growing quicker.  I cover my edibles with the portable greenhouse or row coverings once daily highs are no longer getting into the 50's and night time temperatures are dipping down into the 20's.  If your portable greenhouse or row cover has vents, you can cover crops now with the vents open.  You can use cover to help your crops grow faster and to extend the harvest all the way to next spring.  Extend the season with protection for plants  Homegrown, organic salads in a Midwest winter