Start a Fall Vegetable Garden with these Easy Steps

A fall vegetable garden is a great way to extend your growing season and to produce more of your own food. Learn how to start your own fall vegetable garden with these easy steps! Welcome to Tuesdays in the Garden. This week, we’re talking Fall Gardens so read on for great tips and tricks to produce your best fall garden ever!

Start a fall vegetable garden with these easy steps.

Start a Fall Vegetable Garden with these Easy Steps

A fall vegetable garden is a great way to extend your growing season and production capabilities.  Lots of people are gung-ho about gardening in the spring and early summer, but as it gets hotter and hotter and weeds start taking over the garden, fall gardening just goes by the wayside. And that’s sad, because a lot of vegetables grow really well in the fall. This year, I’m really looking forward to delicious crops of cool weather vegetables. Here’s how to grow your own vegetable garden this fall!

  1. Know your first frost date. I say this in almost every post, but it’s really important to know you first and last frost dates. Plug you zip code in here and it will tell you. My average first frost date in Eastern Iowa is October 10th.
  2. Choose vegetables that grow well (and quickly) in cooler temperatures. Items you would plant early in spring are also the plants for the fall. Brussel Sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, kohlrabi, green onions, spinach, lettuce, radish will all grow well in the fall.

Challenges with fall veggie gardens

farm to table carrots

  1. One challenge with planting in the fall is the heat. Make sure you mulch any seedlings very well to help retain moisture and also keep the plants well watered if the weather is dry. You can also plant your seeds a little bit deeper than you would in the spring as the dirt will be cooler and moister lower down.
  2. Another challenge is actually finding seedlings. Most nurseries sell out in early summer and don’t restock. If that’s the case in your area, you’ll want to start your own seedlings for fall crops of broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower.
  3. Another challenge with fall gardening could be a weedy garden. Honestly, this has been one of my biggest challenges too. This year, I have a very nicely mulched and weed free area where my potatoes grew. The potatoes are harvested and their patch will now become my fall garden area.

Know when to plant what

fall broccoli

This all depends on how many days your plants need to produce. You should be able to look at the back of a seed packet and determine the number of days a particular plant needs to reach maturity.

  • Brussel sprout seedlings will need the longest to produce, about 90 days. You’ll need to plant seedlings for a fall crop mid summer!
  • Broccoli seedlings should be planted 10 weeks before your first frost date.
  • Cabbage and cauliflower seedlings should be planted 6-8 weeks before your first frost date.
  • Peas and carrots can be directly sown 6-8 weeks before your first frost date.
  • Spinach can be directly sown 5 weeks before your first frost.
  • Radishes and leaf lettuce can be directly sown 4 weeks before your first frost.

Don’t forget the herbs!

Several herbs also do well in cooler weather. When you’re planning your fall garden, consider adding cilantro, chives, rosemary, thyme, sage, and parsley. Again, count backwards from number of days the herbs need to reach maturity and plant accordingly.

Steps to Growing a Fall Garden

To summarize, here the steps you need to grow your best fall veggie garden ever!

  1. Select fast growing, cool weather crops.
  2. Use your calendar to determine when to plant by working backwards from first fall date and number of days to maturity.
  3. Direct sow seeds deeper than you  normally would to give them cooler soil in which to germinate.
  4. Mulch very well.
  5. Keep seedlings nice and moist.

That’s it. I hope you will give fall gardening a chance this year and I’d love to hear how it goes if you do! Now it’s time for Tuesdays in the Garden. Keep reading for more tips and tricks for fall gardening from my gardening blogger friends.

Tuesdays in the Garden

homemade food junkie

Fall Garden Chores from Diane @ Homemade Food Junkie

an oregon cottage

Pruning & Deheading for Fall Color from Jami @ An Oregon Cottage

Frugal Family Home

10 Plants to Grow this Fall from Shelly @ Frugal Family Home

the freckled rose

Transitioning the Garden from Summer to Fall from Angie @ The Freckled Rose

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Comments

  1. Great tips Michelle! We will be growing a fall garden this year and hopefully, it will go well. We have until November for our first freeze so I have a little time to plan.
  2. Thank you for mentioning herbs in Fall! I'm going to hunt around in my seeds and replant some of my favorite herbs for Fall. I never thought of trying to extend them! We love fresh herbs in our winter dishes! I love your tips on Fall Planting. Nice lists! Happy Gardening :)
  3. Every year I think I'm going to have a big fall garden, but most of the time I'm lucky to stick a few starts in the ground I find at the home store. :) Luckily, most of my summer plants keep producing into November! Thanks for the reminder to check my seeds - I always want more lettuce.
  4. I totally agree that fall gardens are overlooked by many. Most people think the growing season in done come September. Sometimes my most successful crops are grown all the way into October! You share such great tips :) Hope you have lots of successful harvests in the next few months!
  5. Hello Michelle, starting a fall vegetable garden is good idea. We can grow a lot of vegetables that grows really well in the fall. Thanks for sharing such important steps to grow a fall garden.

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