Fall Gardening Hints

Beautiful broccoli, luscious kale, flavor-enhancing leeks, exotic winter radishes, and other cool season vegetables are all signs of fall!

Cool season vegetables, especially those with longer days to maturity (time from sowing to unnamedharvest) are better when grown in fall, because the weather is reliably cooler than spring, which can heat up fast. Even though the garden soil in late summer can still be too warm

Beautiful broccoli, luscious kale, flavor-enhancing leeks, exotic winter radishes, and other cool season vegetables are all signs of fall!

Cool season vegetables, especially those with longer days to maturity (time from sowing to harvest) are better when grown in fall, because the weather is reliably cooler than spring, which can heat up fast. Even though the garden soil in late summer can still be too warm to germinate some cool season crops, you can still start them indoors and transplant them out when it’s cooler.

Tips for fall sowing planning:
  • Mark your average first fall frost date on a calendar.
  • Look on your seed packet for “Days to Maturity” or use our Outdoor Sowing Guide for Late Summer/Fall. Soils may be hot, and quick to dry in summer, so you may consider starting some fall crops indoors or creating some shade over the garden bed. Some cool season crops like lettuce and spinach will not germinate in soils over 80°F or 85°F respectively, so you may want to start them inside if the soil is still too warm. However, root crops should always be direct-sown.
  • From your average first fall frost date, count backwards the number of days to maturity, which will bring you to your ideal sowing date. Move your sowing date up 1 to 2 weeks to accommodate cool growing temperatures and shorter days that may slow growth, unless you plan to use season extension techniques like row covers. Most cool season varieties have a sweeter flavor after a frost, as cool weather increases the sugar content in these varieties in order the help them survive cool temperatures.
  • Mark your calendar with variety sowing dates, and use it year after year to germinate some cool season crops, you can still start them indoors and transplant them out when it’s cooler.