lettuce and carrots in raised beds

Recently, we cleaned out most of the raised beds and planted some cool weather crops in the garden. I won’t be planting a very large Fall garden this year. I think it would be good to take a step back and focus my efforts on other areas around the home during the cool winter months.

If this will be your first year trying, there are a few things you need to consider when planning a Fall garden.

Know The Right Timing

When you plant your Fall garden is key to its success. If you plant too early, cool weather crops may suffer under higher temperatures than they prefer. And if you plant too late, the weather might get too cold for the seedlings to germinate and sprout.

It really doesn’t have to be complicated, it just takes a little bit of researching. Each plant variety likes to be put in the ground at a certain time of year. Most Fall crops like to be in the ground a few weeks before the first frost or up until the first frost. When that is depends upon where you live.

Also, when you buy a pack of seeds, it usually says on the back of the seed pack when you should plant them. If it doesn’t give you any help on the pack of seeds, you can usually find that information online.

Know Your Frost Dates

Each region can predict a general idea of when you can expect a first and last frost for your area. Use these predictions when doing any garden planting. Decide which plants you’d like to grow in your Fall garden, determine how long before the first frost they need to be planted, and then estimate a planting date according to your region’s weather habits. {Click here, type in your zip code, and learn about your area’s expected frost dates}

Know Your Zone

Certain plants grow in certain hardiness zones. You must know which zone you live in in order to determine which plants will grow where you live.  {Click here to see a map of zones}

Know What To Plant

Generally, Fall gardens are comprised of cool weather crops. These are plants which do not do well in hot weather, but thrive instead in cooler temperatures. Some are even able to withstand frost and snow. You can plant warm weather crops, such as tomatoes and peppers, under a row cover, in a cold frame, or greenhouse (they just need to be protected from temperatures at-or-below freezing.)

Examples of cool weather crops:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Bok Choy
  • Kohlrabi
  • Rutabaga
  • Kale
  • Mustard
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Collards
  • Salad greens
  • Carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Peas
  • Turnips
  • Radishes
  • Beets

Definitely brassicas, leafy greens, and root crops.

Once you know when to plant and what to plant, the next step is to get out there and get to work!

Do you plant a Fall garden? What do you have growing this year?

You might also enjoy: Grow Your Best Fall Garden Vegetables; What, When and How