Cool Season vegetables can be planted in a Las Vegas garden from mid August and into November.
UNCE recommends these vegetables to plant between Aug 10 and Oct 10: Chard, Lettuce, Carrots, Beets, Endive, Mustard, Parsley, Spinach, Onions, Garlic, Shallots, Parsnip, Rutabagas, Turnip, Salsify, Leeks, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards, Kale, Beans, Celery & Peas.
Vegetables that are the easiest to grow and most reliable are Leaf Lettuce varieties, Turnips, Radishes, Beets, Carrots, Chinese cabbage, Bok Choy, Kale, Spinach and Peas.
Starting seeds in the garden in the high temperatures of Aug and Sept can be a bit tricky and requires protection, monitoring and frequent watering.
If you did not start your own seedlings of lettuce, herbs and cole crops in pots, they will be available at local nurseries. Small gardens can be easily and quickly planted with a few plants at a time.
Most seedling starts are 6 to 8 weeks old which gives a jump start in the garden and quicker harvests. The extra weeks gained are especially useful for crops that have a long growing time to harvest and may freeze out before mature. It is also easier to place plants with the proper spacing and there will be no need for thinning later.
Planting a garden in the fall will mean the plants will mature when the insects will be slowing down for the winter. Many insects carry plant diseases and the damage from feeding insects can ruin a crop. An infestation of aphids can destroy a crown of Broccoli. It is almost impossible to wash them out of all the nooks and crannies in the broccoli head. As the weather cools the aphids will disappear so a forming crown of broccoli will be clean.
Cool season plants continue to grow in the Vegas mild winter climate during short cool days unless there is a hard freeze. Above ground growth will slow down considerably as the day length and light intensity decreases. Expected harvest dates during the winter may be later than seed packages suggest.
During the cooler winter months and short days most plants are expending energy on growing and developing root systems. A plant that seems to be growing very slowly above ground all winter will pick up and grow rapidly when spring comes supported by a well developed root system.
Peas planted in November will grow slowly through December and January and then provide a nice harvest in the early spring before it gets too hot.
There are many micro-climates in the different yards around the valley so experiment a little and plant what you and your family will eat.
Even a few baby lettuce leaves and tiny carrots or radishes are a real treat and can be grown in pots on balconies or patios when no yard is available.
Kids tend to try more foods if they have helped grow and pick them. The freshest healthiest vegetables are ones you can pick, wash and eat in the garden.