Last Updated: 8/28/2023
Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes
When you think of vegetable gardens, you might think of summertime planting and warm-season vegetable harvests. But did you know that there are plenty of delicious and easy to grow vegetables that can grow in the fall? Planting a fall vegetable garden is a great way to enjoy garden-fresh produce in the cooler months without having to worry about the sun sapping precious nutrients from your veggies.
If you’ve never thought about having a fall vegetable garden, now is a great time to start. Follow these easy steps to achieve a beautiful and bountiful fall vegetable garden!
Know About Frost
When it comes to fall gardening of any kind, not just vegetable gardening, knowing when the first hard frost, or killing frost, will pop up in your area is the key to proper planning. The first killing frost in Maryland usually occurs between November 28th and December 4th. The first frost date is important because the first killing frost of the year will do a number on your vegetable garden. It’s good to plan when you will plant your vegetables by counting backward. Use the time it takes for your vegetables to mature from the hard frost date, and plant the seeds or seedlings then. You can plant later if you purchase plants that are further along in the growing stage.
Prepare Your Soil
If your planting space has already been used for summer crops, it is essential to clean out your gardening beds before you begin planting your fall garden. Take the time to pull out old plants, dig out dead bulbs, and till the soil to revitalize and refresh it a bit before your autumn planting takes place. This is an excellent time to introduce an excellent nitrogen-based fertilizer to your garden to help replenish nutrients that your summer plants may have used up and to remove any rocks or debris that may have found its way to your garden. If you don’t want to plant a garden in your yard, don’t worry – you can use large pots to grow your veggies. If this is your first garden, keep in mind that soil quality is essential. Try organic compost or a nitrogen-based fertilizer, and make sure that you till the soil before planting!
Choose Your Veggies
There are so many different varieties of vegetables that grow well in the fall. It boils down to your climate and personal taste when it comes to picking out which plants to host in your garden. When planting vegetables, make sure that you are choosing plants you enjoy. There is no use in having beautiful carrots or squash if you don’t like them.
Start Your Seeds
Although you can buy vegetable plants already started for you, one of the most gratifying things about gardening is watching something grow from a tiny seed into fruition. In addition, creating your garden from seeds allows you to have a lot more control over the plants. Be sure to use a high-quality seed-starting mix to get your seeds ready to grow strong and healthy. Having a healthy start is the most significant step you can take to having a beautiful and bountiful fall garden this year.
How to Start Your Seeds
How to Start Your Seeds
When it comes to planting your fall vegetable garden, it is essential to understand which plants are best to plant directly in your garden and which ones are best to start in containers or greenhouse. Check out the list below to see where your favorites fall.
Vegetables to start in containers:
- Brussels sprouts
- Kale (often tastes sweeter after the first frost!)
Vegetables to start directly in the ground:
- Mustard greens
Just because it isn’t summer anymore doesn’t mean your vegetable garden won’t get dehydrated. In the fall, your veggies must stay hydrated, so water them well throughout the growing season. However, to avoid drowning your plants, water deeply and less frequently rather than more frequent, shallow waterings. Your veggies will require about an inch of water per week.
Remove Pests Promptly
The same pest problems that plague spring and summer gardens can also cause issues with fall vegetable gardens. Check your plants regularly throughout the growing season for holes in the leaves, burrows in stalks, and individual insects and other pests around your garden. If you see signs of pests, it is vital to take care of them quickly before they do any irreparable damage. If you don’t have pest control expertise, give the professionals a call to take care of them for you so your fall vegetable garden can be beautiful and bountiful!
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