How To Plant The Best Fall Gardens

Fall Garden Crops

Emma Downey

Emma Downey
Gardening Expert

Updated on 12/4/2022

How to plant the best fall gardens? You may harvest your favorite fall vegetables before the cold weather arrives by sowing them in the late summer.

You might be collecting basil, tomatoes, and zucchini every night in full summer harvest mode. Or perhaps this spring, you got distracted, and your intentions to start the vegetable garden just didn't work out. However, the best news is that you don't have to put your gardening gloves away just because fall is approaching.

There are still plenty of vegetables you can plant even though the brisk fall weather might make crop cultivation more difficult. As the season comes to an end, fall crops often require a bit more time to mature since they receive less daylight. Crops planted in the fall will typically be ready for harvest between September and October in temperate growing zones. Many of these crops can last the winter in regions with mild climates, such as the Pacific Northwest, giving gardens much-needed care during the darkest months of the year. Fortunately, an autumn garden's success depends simply on a few straightforward guidelines:

1. Get Going Right Away

Fall Garden Crops

We know it might already be too late by the time most people begin to consider fall crops. Many of your late-season crops need to be started during the height of summer if you want to have a successful fall and winter harvest. This usually entails planting in the sweltering month of August to give your crops enough time to mature while the growing season is still favorable. Many excellent fall crops, like broccoli and carrots, require several months of ideal growing conditions to mature before frost and low light levels set in. Some fast-growing fall crops, such as lettuce and radishes, can be planted as late as September. Plant your fall crops a little earlier if you're unsure.

2. Be Aware Of The Growth Cycles Of Fall Crops

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Each crop has a very predictable life cycle, so you can roughly forecast how long it will take for it to get big enough to harvest. The term "days to maturity," which will be mentioned on the seed packet or plant tag, typically refers to the crop's lifespan. Although the number of days to maturity will vary slightly depending on the climate, these figures should be reasonably accurate. Generally speaking, you ought to schedule your planting so that the crops have enough time to mature before the first frost.

3. Quickly Harvest Summer Crops

Summer crops

Harvest your spring and summer crops right away. The effectiveness of designing a fall gardens depends on how wellspring and summer plantings are managed. Early-season vegetables must be promptly harvested and removed from the garden in most gardens since space is at a premium. The fresh fall plantings will have space thanks to this clearance. Midsummer, the following crops may be nearing their end in your garden:

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  • garlic
  • onions
  • potatoes
  • carrots
  • beets
  • cauliflower
  • cabbage
  • broccoli

Additionally, you might still have some worn-out spring salad greens that are prepared to be removed.

Start by establishing a list of the crops that are now ready for harvest before deciding which fall crops to include in your garden. This will enable you to estimate the amount of space you will have and rank the autumn plantings that are most important to you.

Fall crops

4. Recognize That Crops Endure More In The Fall

Your vegetable plot becomes a large refrigerator during the winter and fall gardening seasons. Cooler temperatures in the fall enable crops to stay ripe longer in the garden. After they reach maturity, crops like kale, broccoli, and cabbage can survive for months in the garden. Even vegetables that grow quickly, like spinach, cilantro, and lettuce, retain their freshness for a longer period of time when grown for harvest in the fall. If you make the right preparations, you might be able to harvest from the garden well into the early spring and during the cold season.

It is now the time to decide which fall crops you'll be planting this year now that you're ready to choose crops that still have time to mature in your region and have made room in the garden for new crops.

Planting The Best Vegetables In A Fall Garden

Beets

Beets

To have beets ready for the holidays, plant the seeds eight to ten weeks before the first anticipated frost. The primary distinction is that spring-planted beets have paler hues than fall-harvested beets. Plant seeds about 1 inch deep and 3 to 4 inches apart since they dislike crowds, or sow them closer together and utilize the leftovers for salad toppings later.

Carrots

Carrots should be sown directly into the ground in rows that are 6 to 8 inches apart. Sow the seeds along the drip lines in your garden if it has drip irrigation. You have to look for five to eight seeds per inch when sowing carrots because the tiny seeds might be tricky to place accurately.

Onions

Onions

Plant onion sets two to four weeks prior to the typical last-frost date, depending on where you live. The sets should be laid out in a shallow trench, separated by four to six inches, and covered with just enough soil to keep their pointed tips exposed.

Broccoli

Plant broccoli in the garden, leaving 12 to 18 inches between each plant. The addition of a nitrogen source, such as a blood meal or alfalfa meal, will help broccoli flourish because it likes nitrogen.

Lettuce Greens

Lettuce Greens

Salad greens obviously come under this category, although the majority of varieties can flourish in fall growing conditions. You can grow greens through August and into September because they take only a little time to mature.

Asparagus

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Dig 12 inches wide by 6 inches deep holes in your garden beds as soon as it starts to cool off. Before planting the asparagus crowns in the trenches, soak them and then cover them with 2 to 3 inches of soil. To guarantee that you will have a fresh crop in the spring, winterize these greens.

Garlic

Garlic

Plant garlic cloves four to six inches apart in the middle of the fall. Before covering each clove with soil and six inches of mulch for winter protection, bury each clove at least one inch deep. While you might be fortunate enough to see some garlic emerge before winter, your chances of getting a new crop in the spring are much higher.

Scallions

You can plant scallions straight in your August garden or transplant them there. If direct seeding, space rows 6 to 8 inches apart and spread four seeds each inch. Similar to purple onions, purple scallions' tiny "bulbs" appear in both white and a rich purple tint. When cooked, they maintain their color.