Alicia DeVore

First Garden Attempt

My First Garden:

That first summer gardening over 11 years ago was a complete disaster. Everything turned yellow and died. I was so discouraged. Three new garden beds, new soil, and I had managed to kill everything.

But after doing a little investigating, I soon realized that it hadn't been my fault. The soil was missing nutrients. I added some of those missing nutrients into the soil.

I decided to throw in some seeds for fall and see what would happen. And you know what? Everything I put in that garden started growing. Kale, chard, lettuce, beets, greens. It was wonderful. And fall soon became the easiest time of year to plant. 

Here is a list of 12 Time-Sensitive (But Delightful) Fall Garden Plants to Grow to help you start your fall garden. 

growing fall garden

The Next Season

Problems with a Failed Garden

Have failed summer crops been discouraging you from wanting to try a fall garden again? Is the gardening thing starting to feel like a lot of work? Well, let me tell you, now is the time to start planning for your next season of gardening for the fall. My favorite season to plant and I will share my reasons why in this post.

Don't worry, I'm going to make this easy for you because I've compiled a list of 12 time sensitive (But Delightful) Fall Garden Plants to Grow with the easiest vegetable plants to start a fall garden. And with a time-sensitive list of essential tips and tricks to making your fall garden the easiest thing you have done in a long time. 

The Solution is Planting a Fall Garden

Gardening isn't just a a spring and summer activity. By planting some time-sensitive plants before the heat of summer ends, you can extend your growing season and enjoy the fruits (or vegetables) of your labor well into autumn. In this blog post, I will provide a list of 12 time-sensitive (but delightful) fall garden plants to grow in the fall.

12 time sensitive fall garden plants to grow with lettuce in background growing

Why should You plant a fall garden? 

Thinking about planting a Fall Garden? Here are a few reasons why you should:

Reason #1 - Less Work

You don't have to take care of the garden as much as you would in other seasons. Fall gardens are easy to maintain and don't require as much attention as spring or summer gardens. 

Reason #2 - Lower Temperatures

The weather is perfect for gardening in the Fall. The cool temperatures make it ideal for working outside and the maturing of plant growth in the roots accelerates during this cooler season. 

Reason #3 - Winter Health

Growing things that help your health and keep you healthy during the fall and winter months can be easy on your time. Root vegetables, leafy greens, and brassicas are great to grow during this fall gardening time and give you those extra healthy nutrients. 

3 raised garden beds with veggies and yellow flowers

Reason #4 - Less Bugs

A great benefit of the cooler weather is that there are less bugs to worry about. Temperature changes block many common insects from being able to complete their life cycles, so you can enjoy your garden with fewer pests!

Reason #5 - Less Water Needed

Watering is less in the fall and winter months and will cut down on those water bills. A fall garden is only getting 4-6 hours of sunlight a day compared to 6-10 plus hours in the summer in the Western Hemisphere. This reduces the need for lots of water due to cooler temperatures and less evaporation. 

Reason #6 - Plant Now, Eat Later

Starting your plants or seeds in the garden in the fall early in the season, ensures your plants will survive the winter because you have given the plants time to establish their roots before the cold sets in. By taking care of your plants now, you can enjoy food through the winter. If you want to know when to plant out seedlings, check out this blog post. 

What do I do with my vegetable garden to prepare for a fall garden?

Now that you know some great reasons to have a fall garden, it's time to start thinking about what you need to do to prepare for your fall garden. There are some things you can do now to set yourself up for success later on and some resources to help. Keep reading for tips on how to get ready for autumn planting. To know 10 of the best veggies to grow throughout the entire year, check out this blog post. 

Summer is over and it's time to clear out the old plants. Removing these plants will allow room for new growth. Take the time to clear the area and make room for fresh beginnings or learn how to plant new seedlings HERE.

Decide what you want to keep growing from the summer that is still producing.  This includes anything that is no longer producing fruit or leaves, or anything overgrown. The cold will eventually damage plants that are not adapted to being in 65 degrees or fewer temperatures. 

If you want to know more about how to start a garden successfully. Check out this post HERE. Or if you want even more ideas of things to grow, check out this list

clean up garden with wheel barrel

What do I do with the leaves or old vegetable plants?

Things that are left over from your summer garden can either be added to your waste bin if you have one or added to compost. How do you know which to use?

Leaves that are diseased need to be thrown out into the greens bin. Do not put these infected parts of your old garden in with your compost because you don't want to bring disease next year.

Other leaves that fall from trees & summer crops that aren't diseased can all be composted. I add all of the vines and branches from summer crops to the compost pile so they can help provide food for next year's crops. These things decompose and break down during the fall and winter months. 

Prepare the soil for Fall Gardening

  1. 1
    Add 2-3 inches of organic compost to the top of your garden
  2. 2
    Add a light layer of blood meal to add nitrogen 
  3. 3
    Add an organic starter mix that helps plants to grow
  4. 4
    Add a light sprinkling of Azomite, a volcanic ash
  5. 5
    Then mix the top layer of the compost with the nutrients lightly before planting your seeds or next seedlings. 

When should I plant my fall vegetable garden?

The perfect time to start a fall garden is in the middle of summer. It takes time for seedlings to grow and be ready to go out into the fall garden. Planting seeds such as broccoli and greens indoors gives these seedlings the time needed.

Once the seedlings have had a chance to grow strong, get them used to being outside a few hours each day, increasing their sun exposure. This prevents your seedlings from going into shock with the natural environments. 

Plant these seedlings into the garden space 6-8 weeks before the first frost arrives so that they will have time to establish their roots.

For lettuce, spinach, and root vegetables like carrots, beets, and radishes you can plant seeds directly in the ground 6-8 weeks before the first frost.

fall planting guide promo

You want to start a fall garden, but you're not sure how to get started?

It can be tough to know where to start when it comes to gardening, especially if you're new to it or have never grown a fall garden before. There are so many things to think about - what vegetables or herbs should you plant, when is the best time to plant them, do you start from seed in the ground or add transplants to the garden?

I've got you covered with the free Fall Garden Start Guide

This guide will take you through what you need to know about starting a fall garden, from choosing the right plants to knowing when to put those plants in the ground for fall.

Here are 12 vegetables for fall garden

Here are 12 Time-Sensitive (But Delightful) Fall Garden Plants to Grow.

Some Root vegetables for FALL

Beets

Beets are a type of root vegetable that is easy to grow. Beets come in a variety of colors, including red, yellow, and white. They are a good source of vitamins and minerals and are low in calories. Beets can be grown in any type of soil, but they prefer well-drained, sandy soil. 

Radishes

Radishes are quick and easy to grow, and they add a splash of color to your garden. Radishes are also a great way to get your kids interested in gardening. 

Carrots

Carrots need full sun and well-drained soil. The cooler weather results in sweeter, more flavorful carrots. Water regularly until they sprout. Then water less frequently. 

Leafy Greens and Brassicas for the FALL

Lettuces

The cool weather is perfect for this leafy green, and you'll be able to enjoy fresh salads all season long. Plant by spreading out seeds. As the seeds sprout, thin out the seedlings so that there will be enough room for growth. 

Spinach

Spinach is a cool weather crop, so it's ideal for fall planting. There are two types of spinach that you can grow: savoy (crinkly leaves) and flat-leaf (smooth leaves). Savoy spinach is best for fresh eating, while flat-leaf spinach is best for cooking.

Swiss chard

Swiss chard is beautiful and nutritious to grow. The stems can come in many different colors. It can be easily grown in the fall and can last for two years even through the summer heat.

Kale

Kale is a hardy plant that will withstand colder temperatures. It's also a nutrition powerhouse, providing plenty of vitamins and minerals.

Bok Choy

Plant Bok choy in late summer or early fall for a tasty winter garden addition. This unique vegetable thrives in colder weather. Harvest a few leaves at a time to keep continuous growth happening for the whole season. 

Broccoli

Broccoli can tolerate cooler temperatures and will provide you with a bounty of fresh, nutritious produce. Start this indoors for the best results. Use this blog post to know how to start growing broccoli from seed indoors. 

Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a cool weather crop, so it thrives in the cooler temperatures of fall. Start indoors then transplant outside when the plant is strong. Cover the cauliflower head with its leaves to protect the cauliflower from changing its color. 

Cabbage

Cabbage is a low-maintenance crop that doesn't require much attention once it's in the ground. Start indoors and then transplant outdoors. Cover at the beginning of the season with plant cloth to protect from insects like cabbage moths. 

Peas

Peas are easy to grow and will produce a lot of peas in a short amount of time. Plant directly into the soil and use a trellis to support the vines. 

fall gardening with veggies

Can you plant tomatoes and peppers in the fall?

You can't start a new tomato or pepper plant in the fall. These warm weather plants don’t like it under 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

But you can grow tomatoes and peppers in pots, then bring the plants close to your house when it's cold or covers them for protection. If there isn't enough sunlight throughout winter though (which happens more often than we think), these veggies will need some extra love!

A greenhouse can provide an excellent environment because of its heat source - making sure that all types of sun-loving warm weather plants.  

For more help with growing summer veggies at the right temperature and season, check out this blog post.  

Tips for Fall Planting

step 1

Direct Planting of Seeds

Water your seeds that you've sown directly into the garden daily, especially when it's hot outside. By doing this, you're helping your plants grow and develop evenly. As the weather cools down and as the seeds sprout, then lessen the watering. 

step 2

Keep Moist

To ensure successful germination, keep carrot seeds slightly moist. Check on them frequently and be sure to water them if the top layer of soil begins to dry out.

step 3

Cover With Shade Cloth

Cover seedlings with shade cloth when planted out in the garden when the temperatures are over 80 degrees to protect the tender seedlings. Protect your seedlings from the heat.

step 4

Warm Weather 

But if you live in an area where the weather is typically warm to hot throughout most of the year then planting cool-season crops will be more difficult.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do you know what to plant?

Your average high and low temperature of each month is the indicator of what plants will live well during that time. Hot, warm, cool, and cold weather conditions determine what you should plant. 

Where do you buy your seeds?

I go online and pick seeds that will work well for my area. Many seed companies will send a catalog once a year (around Dec.). I use these catalogs to help me determine what kind of plants I can grow from season to season. 

In Conclusion:

Why not give a fall garden a try? With less work and cooler weather to work with, it's the perfect time to start growing your food.

Use these reasons, the list of vegetables, and tips to help you grow a fall with confidence and ease. Just like me with my first fall garden, the easiest thing I could have done was with results that lasted through a few growing seasons. Your garden could be growing, even when life is busy. 

Let me know me in the comments how your fall garden is growing. And to get ready to plant out 10 easy veggies for summer, check out this blog post HERE.  And if you want more tips and help with growing in winter, check out this blog post. 

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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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