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Learn how to start a fall vegetable garden in your backyard so that you can extend your growing season and enjoy harvesting tasty organic vegetables longer!
Would you love to have fresh vegetables from your own garden for your Thanksgiving dinner this year? Start a fall vegetable garden!
Why Should You Plant Vegetables In The Fall?
One of the best ways to get more value from your garden is to not only grow in the summertime. But there are many more reasons to start a fall garden.
- Growing vegetables to harvest in the fall helps to save money on your grocery budget and spread out the canning season a little more too.
- I also find that a fall garden is easier to care for. Most of the garden pests we deal with here in the summer like cucumber beetles, cabbage moths, and squash bugs just aren’t in our garden anymore.
- It’s also so much easier to work outside planting and weeding when it’s not crazy hot and humid like it is during the summer.
- But my favourite reason for growing fall gardens is that the vegetables taste so much better!
See, as the weather gets cooler root vegetables and greens like cabbage, spinach and kale get much sweeter. I’m really not kidding if you want the best-tasting spinach grow it in the fall!
Easy Steps To Start A Fall Vegetable Garden
1. Plan Your Fall Garden
Just like when you start a garden in the spring, starting a fall vegetable garden needs some planning.
Take some time to think about where your garden will be and what you want to grow in it.
Just remember that unlike gardening in the spring and summer, you need to think backwards when planning a fall garden.
Start by finding out what your first frost date in the fall is. Then count backward from there to know how many weeks it will take to grow each plant until it’s ready to harvest.
For most plants, this will be in late July to August if you are in a northern growing zone.
2. Starting The Seeds
Check your seed packages to find out how many days each vegetable variety needs.
Since it’s not easy to find vegetable seedlings for sale in the later summer you’ll need to start your own seeds.
When your seedlings are 3 weeks old start to harden them off outside and plant them into your garden the following week.
You can also direct seed many leafy greens and root vegetable right in the garden.
Not sure when the best time to start your plants for a fall garden? Grab this FREE planting calculator it’s so easy to use!
3. Get Your Garden Ready For Planting
Take some time to get your garden ready for planting for the best growing results.
If the summer growing season has gotten ahead of you your garden will need a little work before it’s ready to plant. But don’t worry it’s not very time-consuming work.
Remove any weeds from the growing bed. You may have thought you got them all during the summer but remember to check under the plants too! Weeds like to hide in your garden and you really want to get them out before they go to seed.
Remove all the spent plants from your garden. You should leave plants like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants to keep producing.
Other vegetables that you planted early in the season like lettuce, and bush beans are pretty much finished now. It’s best to remove them and add them to your compost pile. This makes room for the new plantings.
If the summer growing season has had you behind on garden clean up. Take some time to pick up any fruit that has been dropped on the ground.
Rotting fruit just attracts pests to your garden and spreads diseases.
4. Feed Your Garden
Once your garden has been cleaned of old plants it’s time to get the soil ready for the new crops.
The best way is to add 1 to 2 inches of compost on top. This will help to feed your new plants for the rest of the growing season.
This is also the perfect time to add any slow-acting organic fertilizers like blood or bone meal to your garden.
Related: How To Start A Compost Pile
4. Mulch Your Garden
One of the most important steps in getting your garden ready is to mulch it.
Mulching helps to hold moisture in the soil and suppress weeds. These are both very important when trying to get your fall planted vegetables off to a great start.
It also makes a perfect home for spiders and toads that help to control the pest population in your garden.
Cover the ground with a few layers of newspaper and then top it with grass clips, straw, or wood chips.
5. Frost Protection
Many vegetables that grow well in fall gardens are tolerant of frosts. It’s still a good idea to give them some protection, especially if you are expecting a hard frost.
You can use clear plastic tunnels, floating row covers or even blankets. My personal favourite is the floating row covers because they can be left on all the time without overheating the plants.
Now that you have finished getting ready to start a fall vegetable garden in your yard and have your frost protection already just in case the weather gets cold it’s time to start planting!
The best vegetables to grow in a fall garden are ones that actually grow well in cool weather. This includes most leafy greens, root vegetables, and Cole crops.
Don’t miss this list of the best vegetables to grow in fall gardens plus growing tips.
Kim Mills is a homeschooling mom of 6 and lives on an urban homestead in Ontario, Canada. Blogging at Homestead Acres she enjoys sharing tips to help you save money, grow and preserve your own food.