Fall can be the most invigorating time in the garden -- for many vegetables as well as gardeners! Cool-loving crops like lettuce, spinach, kale, broccoli, and chicory take on their best flavor as the nights get chilly. And who among us doesn’t enjoy a few hours outside in beautiful weather, tending plants?
Fall gardening is not without challenges, though. Getting plants started at a time of year when the weather is still hot and insects are still hungry can be the biggest obstacles. Here are some tips for success:Water well before you plant and then daily until plants are well established. You want to have moist soil below the surface so that young roots will grow down without being stunted by dry soil. And you need to keep adequate daily moisture at the soil surface where the seeds are germinating or young plants are settling inDon’t worry about the soil temperature as you plant for fall. Almost all seeds will germinate when the temperature is warm. The art to fall gardening is scheduling your plantings so that plants mature when the weather is cool but before a hard freeze. Because the days are getting shorter in fall, you should plan for an extra 14 days to maturity, compared to what you would expect from a spring planting.Be prepared to protect plants from a sudden cold snap. Usually you’ll get plenty of good growing weather later. You also may need to protect young plants from insects such as grasshoppers and shield bugs at this time of year. We love our season extension fleece and insect netting products -- We couldn’t have a fall garden without them. Handle them gently, put them away when no longer needed, and they will last for years.With a little coddling, many plants will grow even after a freeze. Try spinach and mache for salad greens well into winter. For a complete list of vegetables to grow in fall, click here.