Alicia DeVore
pots with lots of different vegetables and herbs growing

What I Wish I Had Known

When I lived in a small apartment after college, I wanted to be able to grow things but didn't know if it would be worth my time, money, or energy. And worse yet, how could I keep growing throughout the fall and winter? Would it be possible?

Go Back in Time: 

If I could go back to my younger self, I would share this information with her so that she would know that growing her food using containers or pots is cheap, easy, and a great use of time throughout each season no matter the weather, especially in fall.

The Solution:

Did you know that this is a great time to grow vegetables all fall and winter long, even in cold climates? You don't need a lot of space, and you don't need to buy expensive pots. In this blog post, we will discuss how to create an affordable fall and winter vegetable garden using container gardening techniques. I'll give you tips on what vegetables to choose what containers to use, and how to care for your plants during the colder months. And for tips to garden in just a few minutes a day, check out this blog post

growing fall & winter vegetable garden in containers

Why Containers to Grow using a Fall Container Garden? 

Only a Little Space Needed for Container Plantings:

Even if you don't have a lot of space, you can still grow a fall and winter vegetable garden using pots or containers. You can also plant your vegetables in a series of containers staggered on a porch or balcony to create an impressive garden display.

Plant varieties for Small Areas:

Choose plants that will thrive in a small space. When choosing plants for your fall and winter container garden, opt for vegetables that are compact and will grow well in a small area. Check out this article on the 10 easiest veggies to grow for more information. 

Easy to Maintain:

One of the best things about growing a fall and winter vegetable garden in pots is that it is easy to maintain. You won't have to spend hours each week weeding or watering your plants. Most fall and winter vegetables require very little care. All you need to do is water them occasionally and make sure they receive enough sunlight.

clay pots with plants growing

Easy To Plant:

To get started, choose a pot or container that is at least six inches deep with a drainage hole. You can use a variety of materials for your container or pot, such as plastic, metal, or ceramic. Make sure the container has drainage holes in the bottom so that the soil can drain properly. Fill the container with potting soil. You can find potting soil at your local garden center or nursery. Be sure to choose soil that is specifically designed for containers. Plant your vegetables in the soil. Water deeply.

Easy to Move into the Sun:

 Fall and winter vegetables require plenty of sunlight. Make sure your pots or containers are placed in an area where they will receive at least six hours of sunlight each day.

lady with yellow watering can watering her outside container garden

What can you grow? 

Fall Planter Ideas

Fall is an ideal season for gardening. The cooler weather allows plants to thrive without the risk of heat damage, and the reduced hours of sunlight help to prevent bolting in leafy greens. As a result, fall is an ideal time to plant a fall container garden. In this article, check out how to start a backyard garden successfully. 

All of the fall vegetables below can be planted from seed 6-8 weeks before the first frost or you can buy transplants at garden centers and get them in the ground at the same time you would plant seeds.  Planting before the first frost establishes the roots so that these veggies will survive the colder temperature. Adding new plants to your container garden is easy when you have a list like this to use. Check out this blog post on how to start a garden. And if you want even more ideas of what to grow, check this post out on easy veggies. 

  • Lettuce comes in many varieties. There is loose-leaf lettuce, iceberg, and romaine type of lettuce.

  • Spinach loves cooler temperatures. Spinach can come with thick, dark leaves, or thinner with lighter leaves.

  • Carrots come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. Some carrots are long and thin, while others are short and stout. Some have smooth skin, while others are covered in bumps.

pots with lots of different vegetables and herbs growing
  • Beets come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are large and round, while others are small and oval. Some beets are deep red, while others are more purple. 

  • Chard can tolerate light frost and cool weather. It is hardy & can be insect resistant. Chard can grow and produce for two years.

  • Radishes are small and some are large. Some have red skin, while others have white skin. There are many different tastes of radish, from spicy to sweet. All grow well in containers & cool weather.

  • Kale is a cool weather crop. It needs sun to grow, and it can keep growing & producing for two years.

Which fall herbs are best for a container garden and why?

Herbs are a great addition to any fall container garden. They are easy to grow and are low maintenance. The most important thing to remember about herbs is that they need plenty of sunlight. The best time to plant herbs is during the cool weather months. For more gardening tips for growing in winter, check this post out. 

  • Parsley is an annual herb that thrives in cooler temperatures. It comes in many different varieties with curly or flat leaves. This herb can last for two years.
  • Cilantro is an annual herb that enjoys being in cool weather. It is easy to grow from seed and is fast growing.
  • Dill is an annual herb that loves cooler temperatures. It's easiest to grow from seed and grows quickly and up to two feet tall.
  • Thyme is an evergreen bush & can last for a long time. It is also a perennial and doesn't require much water to grow.
  • Oregano needs less sunlight and enjoys part shade but can withstand cooler temperatures. It also has beautiful purple flower buds.
  • Sage is a perennial and can be used for culinary & medicinal uses.  It has beautiful purple flowers during spring and late fall.
  • Mint is a delicious herb that is easy to grow in a container garden. It thrives in moist soil and partial shade.
  • Chives are a hardy herb that you plant once and enjoy for many seasons

Growing through the Colder Temperatures:

How to protect in cooler months?

Plant cloth or thick plastic

If you are growing fall and winter vegetables in a cold climate, a good choice is using protection over plants from the cold weather. One way to do this is to plant your vegetables with plant cloth. Plant cloth is a material that is made specifically for gardening. It is a lightweight, breathable fabric that will keep your plants warm in the winter. To use plant cloth, place the plant cloth over the top of the soil.

Cover the plant in the pot completely to keep the warmth inside. You may need to add hoops so that the plant cloth does not lay on the plant. The plant cloth will help to insulate your plants and protect them from the cold weather. check out this blog post on protecting your plants in freezing temperatures. For hard frosts, use thick plastic to cover and protect your container garden. Check out this post on growing in winter. 

close to the house or structure of your living space

 The plants will be more protected when sheltered with a barrier against wind and rain.

Mini Cold Frame

If you want to go the extra mile in protecting your fall and winter vegetable garden, you can add a mini cold frame. A mini cold frame is a small structure that is used to protect plants from cold weather. It is made of wood or plastic and has a glass or plastic lid. The mini cold frame will keep your plants warm in the winter and protect them from frost.

Watering Insulates

Make sure to continue watering your plants even through the cold. You just won't have to water more than once a week, depending on how dry it is in your area. The water acts as insulation for your plants and helps to keep them warm.

Sunny Location

Place your container garden in a location with full sun to help warm up the plants. Cool-weather plants need 4-6 hours of direct sunlight to grow.

colorful buckets with veggies growing inside a greenhouse

What kind of containers to use? 

Depends on what you want to grow, but I would always choose a pot or larger container that would give my plants enough room for their roots to grow. For perennial herbs, a great choice would be large because their roots continue to grow. But for annual plants, you will be taking them out at the end of the season & starting new roots.

  • Look to see the space that you have for your container garden. Start small in the area and then add to your container garden as you grow in confidence as a gardener.

  • Drainage hole in Fall pots: It is also important to choose containers with drainage holes, as this will help to prevent root rot. 

  • When choosing containers for your fall garden, it is important to select ones that are large enough to accommodate the roots of your plants. Fall vegetables tend to be bulky, so you will need containers that are at least 18 inches wide and deep.

  • Suggestions- add amazon pots and containers.

Planting Tips for Growing in Pots and Containers: 

  1. 1
    Once your containers are filled with soil, it is time to start planting. When selecting fall vegetables for your garden, consider what you would like to eat and use the list above to know what plants like cooler weather.
  2. 2
    After planting your fall vegetables, water them well and place them in a sunny spot where they get sun exposure. Be sure to check your plants regularly and water them as needed; fall gardens require less water than summer gardens due to the cooler weather. Your plants will need little water.
  3. 3

    Depending on the type of plants you have chosen, you may need to provide additional support, such as stakes or cages.

  4. 4
    Use great organic soil that is also well-drained soil in the pots to give the nutrients your plants will need to grow. Adding a layer of compost with organic matter for each season, gives the plants in your container protection and more nutrients.
  5. 5
    To continue to help your container garden to grow, add organic water-soluble fertilizer once a month.
  6. 6
    Growth will slow down the colder it is, but everything is still growing.  And you can still harvest, just not as much.
  7. 7
    Pro Tip: Check on plants once a week for watering and harvesting.

In Conclusion, you could grow lots of things in containers and pots at this time of year. From late summer, to fall planting, to winter containers, to early spring, you could have a great way of growing the best plants in pots and containers.  I often see ornamental grasses or ornamental cabbage in containers outside of peoples' homes on the front porch.  Don’t get me wrong, they are beautiful, but not useful if you want your containers to grow your food and use your space to help your garden throughout the year. For more information and tips for growing in winter check out this article or to access more resources from the home page, check out this LINK. For more information on what to grow in summer, check out this blog post.

With a little care and attention, your fall container garden will soon be producing delicious fall vegetables that you can enjoy all season long! And to learn more about what easy things to plant in your garden in Summer, check out this blog post HERE and HERE.

What Does This Course Include?

  • 5-Part System to growing greens & lettuce with these online video lessons, you will make great strides towards growing a cool season garden.
  • Workbook/ eBook where I'll show you what to plant and when for your greens & lettuce garden
  • Step by Step Instructions to help you follow along with all the steps so you can finally see success and start your greens & lettuce garden.
  • Bonus - Recipes to use with Greens & lettuce

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About the Author

Alicia has been teaching her whole life from elementary teacher to workshops for beginning gardeners.  Go HERE to read Alicia's story into gardening from plant killer to pro grower and garden coach.  If you want to send Alicia a quick message, then use her contact page HERE.

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