The seasons may be changing, but you don’t have to put away your gardening gloves and trowel just yet! Shorter days and cooler weather don’t signal the end of gardening season – all you have to do to keep your garden growing throughout the fall is plant the right plants.
If you already have an indoor garden like a Minigarden, you can plant whatever you want whenever you want as long as your garden gets the right sunlight throughout the cooler months. Instead of packing up your garden for the winter, keep your homegrown herbs and veggies thriving all year long, or even replace your edibles after you harvest with bright, sunny flowering plants or ornamental grasses.
Why Garden in the Fall?
Gardening in the autumn may seem a bit counter-intuitive – after all, there’s less sun, the weather is cooler, and we’re usually busier at work or making sure the kids settle in to the new school year – but there are a number of compelling reasons why you should continue gardening throughout the autumn:
- It’s cooler. In the fall, there’s no need to worry about excessive heat, which can be harmful to both yourself and your plants.
- There are fewer pests. With cooler weather comes fewer garden pests, so you can rest easier knowing your autumn garden is safe from the blights of summer.
- You can get good deals. Garden centers often offer end-of-season sales, so take advantage of these deals and find yourself some great fall plants for your cool-weather garden.
- You can grow different plants. Refresh your produce store by growing cool-weather tolerant plants that may not otherwise thrive during the warmer months of summer. Keep reading for a list of suggestions!
Autumn Growing Conditions
Cool-weather tolerant plants are hardy enough to survive the autumn, but there are still a few growing conditions you should consider before planting your autumn garden:
- Frost. The fall planting window ends about six weeks before you expect the first hard frost to hit. If you’re expecting frost within six weeks or less, try moving your autumn garden indoors. Here’s a great resource on approximate frost dates, if you aren’t sure when to expect the first frost in your area.
- Temperatures. Choose plants that can tolerate temperatures in the 20s and high teens (that’s about 60-70 in Fahrenheit).
- Water. It’s important for autumn gardens to stay moist, especially if fall precipitation in your area is low. Water your autumn garden frequently, or add a thick layer of mulch (try using straw or grass clippings) to keep the moisture in.
What To Plant
There are a number of cold-tolerant vegetables you can grow in the autumn. Here are four of our favorites:
Kale will fare better as a transplant, so try sprouting the seeds indoors before transferring them to your Minigarden. Make sure your kale gets the best start possible by giving it direct sunlight a couple of hours a day for a week before transplanting it.
You can grow lettuce all year long, but the cooler autumn temperatures will help prevent it from bolting and becoming bitter.
This green grows well in the cooler autumn months. The green and yellow varieties are best suited for cold weather.
Arugula prefers shorter, cooler days, which is why it often grows better in the autumn.
Keep Your Cool
The heat of summer has passed, but you don’t have to wrap up your growing season! There are lots of delicious, healthy things you can grow and harvest throughout the cooler months of fall, and what better time to refresh your produce store than after you’ve harvested all those tasty herbs and veggies you grew all summer?
For more information on what to plant in the fall and when to plant it, check out this guide.