The BEST Vegetables to Plant For Fall
Ready or not, beautiful fall is right around the corner - along with all the gorgeous colors, lovely crackling and baking smells and of course, delicious fall veggies.
We know what you're thinking (because we're thinking the same thing): "But it's a hundred degrees out! Who can think of fall at a time like this?"
Actually, any smart gardener knows to plan in advance of the seasons in order to have plenty of time to order plants or seedlings if they can't be located at your local nursery, to plan the arrangement of your veggie beds and to get the soil and area ready. (We'll have more on fall prep in an upcoming post.)
So while you're harvesting your compost and getting your locale ready, plan for these awesome fall-growing veggie varieties.
Beets are a fall and winter staple. What's even better about them is that they're cold-hardy and very easy to grow.
- Beets do best in well-drained, sandy soil.
- Plant during cool weather but before first freeze.
- Plant seeds 1-2" apart in garden.
- Make sure there is depth room in your soil of 6-9". Beet roots generally grow 3-6".
- Beets are quick growers and are ready for harvest in 7-8 weeks.
Broccoli needs lots of room and plenty of sun, so it may warrant its own bed or section in your garden. Broccoli is delicious roasted, in stews or even munched raw all fall and winter long.
- You can plant broccoli when the soil is as chilly as 40F. This includes germinating the seeds directly in the soil.
- Give broccoli full sun and moist, fertile, slightly acidic soil.
- If possible, plant 85 days before you expect your first frost.
- Plant seeds 1/2" deep and 24" apart and 36" between rows.
- Harvest when buds are high and tight and before flowers appear.
Like broccoli, cabbage plants need plenty of room. If you'll be planting seedlings, harden them off first.
- Germination indoors first is best. Transplant seedlings 2-3 weeks before frost, on a cloudy day if possible.
- Plant 12-24" apart. Heads will be smaller the closer together you plant.
- Add mulch/compost to keep soil moist.
- Because broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower all require lots of nutrients, try not to plant them together. They will deplete the soil quickly.
- Heads will be ready to harvest about 70 days after planting.
Carrots can be grown from spring through winter in some climates but in general are a cold-weather crop. They take up less space than some other veggies, making them ideal for spaces between larger crops.
- There is a huge variety of carrots to accommodate every taste and even visual preference (for example, you can plant purple carrots). Research your taste preference when choosing one or more carrot crops. HINT: a variety looks amazing in stews and as side dishes.
- Plant in deep, loose soil when night temperatures are cool (55F).
- Plant 1-2" apart per carrot, with rows 12" apart.
- Most varieties take about 70 days to mature and be ready for harvesting.
Squash and pumpkins mean "autumn" to many in the Western hemisphere. They're not just delicious, they look great as outdoor decor too.
- Because they're vining, squash varieties take up quite a bit of room. Try a trellis to save space. Train the vines gently upward using garden twine if necessary; don't tie too tightly as the vines will grow in diameter as well.
- There are many squashes that do well in cool to cold temperatures. Choose acorn squash, butternut squash, spaghetti, Hubbard or whatever your tastes dictate.
- Plant seeds in rich, well-drained soil. Create small hills (about 2" high) in the soil and place 2-3 seedlings in each. Thin to the strongest one in two weeks. Hills should be placed 3' apart.
- Different squashes are ready at different times, so check the packet for harvest times.
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