Gardening can be a relaxing hobby with bountiful outcomes, but it doesn’t need to stop when the weather cools down. Take advantage of the cooler weather that will bring on fewer bugs and less sweat. There are plenty of plants to sew this fall season. Follow these quick tips to help you grow an abundant garden.
Vegetables to Plant:
If you live in the Northern part of the country where you get frost, you can still plant beets, parsnips and carrots because they stay in the ground. Just make sure to cover with hay.
Sothern regions will experience an extended fall garden because they don’t have to worry about frost.
These are great fall crops that thrive in cooler weather:
- Brussels sprouts
- Lettuce and other salad greens
- Mustard greens
- Scallions (young onions)
- Snap peas
Fruits to Plant:
The summer may be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have fresh fruit. These are fruits that do best in colder weather:
- Sweet cherries
- Cranberries (New England and Upper Mid-West)
- Pomegranates (only plant in warmer climates)
Herbs to Plant:
Fall is prime time to plant hearty herbs that do better in milder weather. The following would be great additions to your garden:
How Long Will It Last?
The length of your fall crop will depend on the climate you live in. In the North, you can enjoy your fall harvest until the first hard freeze. The South and Southwest regions will last many months until spring. So your fall garden can turn into a winter garden as well since frost is rare and the temperatures rarely get below freezing. The Northern-most regions will have the shortest fall harvest and the South and South-West regions will have the longest fall harvest.
Tips for a Successful Fall Garden:
- Buy short-season varieties because they mature early and beat the cold weather
- Buy plants instead of seeds
- Buy 4-inch nursery sized plants; they are easier to manage and will fill out quickly with winter rains
- Provide enough room to grow when planting
- In August and September when hot spells are frequent, make sure to water and mulch with compost
- During hot spells, cover with see-through white fabric to cool down your plants
- A light freeze can actually improve the flavor of cool weather greens
- Kale and collard greens get a rich, sweet flavor with light frosts
- A hard frost will likely kill your crop
- In colder climates, use a cold frame to protect your plants
- Good drainage and compost is important
- Raise your plant beds 8 inches to prevent rot from increased rainfall
- Cool-season herbs grow best in soil that is rich in aged compost
- Cool-season herbs like cool temperatures to grow, but germinate quickest in warm soil
- Birds prefer red cherry varieties, so plant yellow-fruited ones
- Blueberries do best in the West (except the desert)
You’re now well on your way to producing a plentiful fall garden.
– By Stephen Reynolds, Editor