In this video, we demonstrate how you can select plants for your fall garden by choosing vegetables which like to be planted at this time of year, as well as how you can use the Garden Planner to work out the best position to help each plant grow to its full potential.
Learn more about our Almanac Garden Planner (free trial).
Fall Vegetable Garden Planning – Choosing the Best Plants for Autumn Growing
One of the best ways to make your garden more productive is to keep planting to make the most of the space you have. As gaps appear when you’re harvesting, fill them with vegetables that will grow well into the fall. Follow our 3 simple groupings and you’ll be harvesting tasty vegetables right into the winter.
Group 1 – Warm Soil Sprouters
When grown as fall vegetables, these crops will germinate rapidly in surprisingly warm soil as long as they are kept moist. Sow seeds directly into the ground, just before a period of wet weather is expected if you can. Crops to sow in this group include: peas (make sure that you choose quick-growing dwarf varieties), beets, collards, kale, leeks (which sown in fall may only reach pencil size before winter comes), and radishes.
Group 2 – Start Cool and Transplant
These crops sprout best when soil temperatures stay below 70ºF, but if you wait until the soil cools to plant them, they may not have enough time to mature. Start seeds indoors or in a shady place outside and set out the seedlings as soon as they show their first true leaf. Try growing Chinese cabbage (such as bok choy), endive and escarole, radicchio, lettuce, parsley and spinach, which can be sown indoors in early fall, and later to be grown through winter beneath a protective frame for harvesting in early spring.
Group 3 – Sow When Soil Cools
Signs of autumn are often apparent by the time the soil cools enough to grow the leafy greens that define many fall vegetable gardens. Cool temperatures tame flavors, so many gardeners wait until after a frost or two have passed to harvest some of the crops in this group. Arugula, cilantro, winter varieties of lettuce, mache (also known as lamb’s lettuce or corn salad), mizuna, and turnips, which produce both greens and crunchy roots.
Using the Garden Planner for Fall Planting
Try our garden planner for free. Then use the Garden Planner’s filter to find plants which are suitable for growing in your area in the fall. Click the Filter button (to the left of the plant selection bar), and check the ‘Suitable for Fall Planting/Harvesting’ button. You can then choose the plants you want, and add them to your garden plan. The Garden Planner can also help you to work out where to grow your fall crops with the Succession Planting feature. Set the dates that your crops will be in the ground by double-clicking on a crop to show the Plant Edit box. Then select the months that your plants will actually be in the ground. By viewing your plan for a particular month, you can now see where there will be gaps left behind after other crops have been harvested. It’s then easy to add crops to these areas to grow in the fall.
Alternatively, if you have very hot summers and would like to create a whole new plan for fall, just click the New Plan button, select the Follow-on Plan option, alter the plan name, and roll back the year to this year.