Summer is quickly coming to an end, which means it’s time to plan a fall garden. What is a fall garden? How do you plan for it? What goes in it and when do you plant it? I’m always surprised by how many people don’t know how to grow a garden in the fall, so we’re going to answer all your questions in this post.
Gardening in the fall may feel a bit intimidating to many gardeners, but we promise there is nothing to be nervous about. What is a fall garden? It’s simply a way to get more produce and extend your growing season.
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Why Start A Fall Garden
It’s the end of July and here at Rosevine Cottage, we’re busy getting our fall garden planned and our succession crops planted. Why plant in the fall?
- Having gardening in the fall means cooler temps! Which is good news for those who can handle the hot summer temps, but still want to grow a garden.
- Fewer bugs, because it’s later in the season many of the bugs we struggle with over the summer’s life cycle has come to an end. Already most of our Japanese Beetles have disappeared [having trouble with them still? Check out our natural methods to get rid of Japanese Beetles]
- A fall garden is a chance to get some more of those veggies that can’t handle the heat.
- Planting a garden in the fall extends your garden season, so you have a chance at way more produce.
Fall Gardens For Beginners
Now that you are feeling confident about starting a fall garden, what’s the next step? It isn’t complicated at all, but there are some basics you need to know when planning and planting your garden.
The first thing you’ll need to know when planning your garden is the first frost date for your area. Here in middle Tennessee, our average first frost date is October 28th. Now you need to know how many days you have until that first frost date, you can either count or simply google “how many days until [insert frost date]” and it will tell you. We have around 95 days before our first frost. Make sure you write that number down so you have it handy when picking out what you’ll be planting.
Now that you know when your first frost date is, it’s time to plan what you are going to plant in your garden. Look at your seed packets, look for the ones that take less than the number of days you have left. Pro tip: the number on the seed packages isn’t how long from seeds but from when you transplant them into the garden. Need a little help figuring out just when to plant? Almanac.com has a great resource that tells you when to plant your veggies to hit that sweet spot before your first frost.
You are going to need a calendar of some sort, this will help you keep track of what needs to be planted when. We like to do this with things like lettuce and root vegetables so that they aren’t all ripe at the same time. We just put together a beautiful garden planner with a calendar, you can snag your copy right HERE.
When Should I Start My Fall Garden
When you start your fall garden is really going to depend on where you live, here in the south, July to August is when we start the seeds for our fall garden. To figure out when you should start planting your fall garden count back 12 to 14 weeks from when you normally get your first fall frost.
If you are running late consider stopping by your garden center for some started seedlings. Pro tip: July marks the end of the window of time where you can plant cabbage in northern regions. August is the perfect time if you live in warmer southern climates. If you set cabbage out after your temperatures have cooled it will stunt its growth.
What Vegetables Need To Be Planted In The Fall?
So what goes into a fall garden anyway? You can plant anything you want! As long as it falls in the time frame before your first frost. Some veggies like Brussel Sprouts and radish will taste better after the first light frost. We’ll be planting:
- Green Beans
- Brussel Sprouts
You can even try pulling out spent pepper or tomato plants and replace them with fresh, you’ll want to do ones that are already started and can be transplanted straight to the garden. Learn more about what to plant in a fall garden in this article.
How To Plan A Fall Garden
Grab your planner or calendar and markdown your first frost date, now figure out the maturing date on your seed packets. If you are going to do succession planting, count down the mature date on your calendar to figure out when it should be ripe. Make sure that it falls right around the time of your frost date, but with enough wiggle room, you have time for more than one harvest of produce. A great way to plan your succession planting is a countback from your frost date several weeks and then count down your days to harvest from the seed packets. Plant your seed in your fall garden accordingly.
Still, have plants producing? Don’t worry, start your new seeds in growing trays or pots inside where it’s cool and transplant out to the garden once your plants have died back. Make sure you snag our Fall Garden Checklist & Garden planner!
Are you going to start a fall garden this year? Tell us in the comments!
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