Fall Planting 101

Categories: Garden

When one thinks of fall, their mind drifts to a wonderland of crisp air, colorful leaves, football and pumpkin spice. Unfortunately, activities like planting and gardening do not come to mind, as they are overlooked in autumn and categorized as a spring activity.  But it’s time to set the record straight and let you know that fall is not the gardening “off season” — instead it’s a perfect time to plant, harvest a hearty yield and prep for winter and spring.

Here are some fall planting basics to keep your garden growing:

Existing Garden:

If you are using an existing garden, then you’ll need to pull out all pre-existing plant material, crop remains and weeds. Such matter is compostable — but if left in the garden will interfere with fall crop growth.  

What to Plant: 

Whether you’ll be sowing seeds or kicking off with starters, you’ll need to plan ahead a bit.  Fall planting can be categorized into two buckets long-term crops (a.k.a frost tolerant crops) and short-term or frost susceptible crops

Long-term crops:

These crops can be planted in the fall (October and November) then harvested early spring. In fact, these crops have a defense mechanism to ensure survival during the freezing months. The over-wintering causes the crops to “chill-sweeten” and taste even better come harvest time. 

  • Brussels sprouts
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Kale

Short-term crops:

These quick growing crops thrive in the fall, but aren’t likely to survive a frost. The below crops can go from seed to table in as little as four to six weeks:

  • Radishes: 25 Days
  • Baby Carrots: 30 days
  • Lettuce: 30 Days
  • Spinach: 30 days

But wait, there is more:

Fall is the perfect time to time to plant bulbs (like tulips, irises and crocuses), which need a winter-freeze to start their growing process. 

Also if you’ve been putting off lawn landscaping, fall is the time to do it as shrubs and trees thrive when planted in the fall. Check out our blog for a few recommendations.

Benefits of Fall Planting:

There are too many to count, but here are our top three favorites:

  • Cooler weather means you can enjoy the outdoors without fear of sweating through your garden garments, and extend gardening season to be year round.
  • In the fall, the soil still holds summer’s warmth, which encourages root growth up until the ground freezes.
  • Fall is the perfect time to use starters. Not only will they help you harvest before the frost, but they’ll be more affordable in the autumn as nurseries mark their prices down during the fall months to prevent from having to water them during the winter.