As Summer winds down and Fall approaches, many people stop thinking about their vegetable gardens. However, the Fall is a wonderful time to grow and there are a wide range of vegetables that thrive as the weather turns cool. Check out our latest episode of The Social Garden.
There are several reasons to keep your garden growing through the fall besides having fresh produce available. Many plants that grow in the fall actually add nutrients back into the soil, especially fava or green beans. Also, having fall plants around is good for the ecosystem and keeps pollinators, good garden bugs and birds in your garden.
If you have the space, you should be able to grow and find new ways to enjoy adding fresh produce to your diet through all of the seasons. At the very least, there are always places that would happily accept your donations of fresh produce if you don’t enjoy the fall vegetables. Fall plants are also beautiful and add a splash of color through the cooler months.
With all those reasons to garden, what can you grow this fall? Here are some of the delicious vegetables you can plant from mid-August through the end of September in Sonoma County. You can find your hardiness zone here and modify your planting schedule accordingly.
The Brassica family
The Brassica family deserves special mention as it is incredibly diverse and includes all of the following vegetables (and more):
Along with these vegetables, there are a number of herbs that continue to grow from the summer and several that grow better during the cool months. Herbs that grow better in the fall include:
When planning your fall garden, think about the ways in which plants grow together in order to optimize space and production. You can sow seeds or add starts alongside your existing summer plants in order to minimize downtime. For example, Kale grows quite big, but you can sow it next to cucumbers, lettuces or pollinating flowers that are winding down. Around the Kale, you can also plant beets, celery, dill or garlic which won’t grow as tall and can handle the additional shade from the full-grown Kale plant. Cabbage could also be planted next to cucumbers, and optimal companion plants would be beans, celery, arugula, spinach, onions, sage or thyme.
When you add your fall plants, keep in mind the spacing and any incompatibilities. Kale & cabbages grow well together, but broccoli and cabbages do not. Try to think about the plants in four dimensions, factor in how long they will take to get to maturity and their size at full-growth in order to avoid overcrowding. It’s a fine line between optimal spacing and too close together, so it pays to err on the side of allowing too much space and fine tuning for the next season.
As your summer plants start to wither, prune or remove them to make space for your growing fall harvest. You’ll need to be careful when removing the plants, so as to not disturb the other plants. It may be best to cut the plant down to the base versus pulling it, as not to disturb the roots of neighboring plants.
As summer turns into Fall, adding plants and seeds into your existing garden before summer plants fade will lessen the transition and make your garden more enjoyable and productive. Not only will you have non-stop fresh produce, you will also be adding amazing nutrition into your diet.
More gardening fun is yet to come on the next episode of the Social Garden. Eat Well. Garden Often.