While summer might be a busy and abundant season for many gardens, autumn boasts wonderful growing conditions of its own. From fast-growing greens to traditional fall favorites, there’s plenty to enjoy before the ground freezes!
Besides the bounty of fresh produce beyond the summer season, there are several other perks of gardening in the fall: cooler working conditions, fewer insects and diseases, and fewer watering requirements! All in all, autumn is the perfect time to grow and indulge in some of your favorite vegetables.
So, how do we get started? Well, the real secret to maintaining a prosperous fall garden lies in the timing. Contrary to summer gardens, you’ll have to plan backward for success, which may sound confusing, but it’s actually quite simple. All you have to do is start with your area’s average first frost date and then locate the number of days to harvest for planting fall vegetables (usually listed on the seed packet). Using that number, count back from the first frost date and then add two weeks to account for shortened days and slower growth – Voila!
If your garden lies in a warmer climate, such as zones 8-10, your planning is typically defined by heat rather than cold. During the hottest summer months, there may only be a few plants able to thrive, leaving the colder months as the most prosperous. This type of climate is an advantage for fast-maturing crops as they can be planted and harvested twice in one year!
Read on for some of our fall-time favorites for square foot gardening in zones 8-10! (Don’t know your zone? Click here to find it.)
Fall Plants For Your Square Foot Garden In Zones 8-10
Warmer soil towards the end of summer and the beginning of fall is the perfect environment for proper spinach germination. Spinach is the most cold-tolerant salad green, and by the time it matures, cooler temperatures enhance the flavors, bringing tender, tastier leaves! Every square can handle 9 spinach plants, so get ready to go green come harvest time!
Similar to their underground pal beets, carrots that mature in cooler fall soil develop a sweeter flavor. You can plant 16 per square, and as long as they receive enough time to mature, you’ll have plenty to compliment your choice fall cuisines. Oh, and impressively, carrots store up to 3 months in the refrigerator, so a good harvest could last you all winter!
Despite being a familiar spring veggie, peas deliver remarkably well in cool weather, making them great additions to the fall garden. I mean, what’s better than the refreshing, crisp ‘snap’ of a pea straight from the garden? Nothing, that’s what. Choose a short season variety for early autumn harvest, plant 9 per square, and delight in the splendor of these tasty green legumes!
Broccoli is a tried-and-true favorite for many, so adding it to the fall garden should be a no-brainer. These heads of green goodness can handle a little frost but should be harvested before the first hard freeze. Start the seeds indoors a tad earlier as they take a little longer to mature (or plant transplants), and give one head it’s own square to thrive.
Despite its misleading name, this squash variety performs just as well in fall as it does in summer. With the first harvest happening only 40-55 days after planting, these antioxidant-rich vegetables are a must-have in your fall garden! One summer squash plant requires 2 squares in order to grow to its full potential without disturbing its neighbors.
Turnips are a fantastic addition to many favorite fall recipes, so it’s wise to grow your own stock to have on hand. Plant 9 per square and wait 40-60 days before the first harvest for your bountiful stash of this classic root vegetable. Mash em’, roast em’, grill em’, or toss em’ in a hearty autumn soup!
Cabbage might not have been your favorite growing up, but it made a comeback. This classic vegetable has been a staple in many Western diets for hundreds of years, and for good reasons too! It’s nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich, and presents a handsome rosette of foliage that looks every bit as good as it tastes. Plant one head of cabbage per square and get ready to add it to your fall feast!
When cultivated in the fall, cauliflower performs exceptionally well, producing dense, tender heads with a complex, nutty-sweet flavor. This cold-tolerant cauliflower goes great in soups and pairs perfectly with our fall pick, mashed potatoes! Give them a little extra time to mature and 1 square to themselves to flourish.
Summer is great and all, but cooler soil temperatures make for sweeter beets, and we can’t argue with that! These root veggies come in many different forms and are capable of growing all the way up until the first hard freeze. Plant 9 beets per square, and don’t worry about growing too many – They store well so you can pickle, can, or refrigerate them!
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