Just because the temperatures are falling and days are getting shorter doesn’t mean that you need to till under the garden and call it a season. Fall can be a delightful time to take up the hobby of vegetable gardening! While ‘hot weather’ plants such as tomatoes and peppers may be winding down for the year, there are numerous other vegetables capable of thriving in the cooler autumn months. If you are interested in maximizing the vegetable output of your garden, try out these great tips for vegetable gardening in autumn.
Growing Great Crops in the Fall
- Salad greens, such as lettuce, arugula and spinach generally prefer the cooler temperatures of fall and spring. In fact, growing these vegetables in the summer months may lead to a tough, weedy texture combined with a grassy flavor, neither ideal for salad greens. Because these vegetables all grow very quickly, seeds can be planted from early to late fall and harvested throughout the autumn season for tender, tasty salad greens.
- Green beans, planted in late summer, can be harvested throughout the fall months.
- Garlic and shallots also typically thrive in cooler weather. Plant in early autumn to harvest prior to the first freeze.
- Garlic and shallot bulbs can also be planted prior to the first freeze and then bedded in with hay over the winter months to ensure harvest in early spring.
- Many herbs will survive well into autumn. Sage, thyme, chives and parsley can all be used until the first hard freeze of fall.
- Once the foliage on your herbs has died, cut the plant off at the ground and cover with several inches of hay or another type of mulch over the winter in the hopes of the plants returning in the fall.
- Carrots generally thrive in the cooler winter months.
- Depending on the climate in which you live, broccoli and cabbage may also be good choices to plant in late summer/early fall for harvest in October.
- Fall vegetable gardening is also a process of preparing the garden for the following spring. Make sure to till up the garden in the fall before the ground freezes. Tilling the soil will help loosen up the ground for the spring.
- Rake up any leaves from your garden and pile them on top of the garden area after you have tilled the soil. Over the winter, these leaves will rot, making excellent compost come spring. Tilling the decayed leaf material into your soil in the spring will help create wonderful soil conditions for next year.
Best wishes as you embark on your fall gardening adventure!