Tips & Tricks

Don't Stop Growing - Fall & Winter Gardens Are Amazing!

Lettuce, Arugula, Beets, Broccoli & More!

As Summer winds down and Fall approaches, many people stop thinking about their vegetable gardens. However, the Fall and Winter are a wonderful time to grow and there are a wide range of vegetables that thrive as the weather turns cool. 

There are several reasons to keep your garden growing through the fall besides having fresh produce. Many plants that grow in the fall actually add nutrients back into the soil, especially fava beans. Also, having Fall & Winter plants around is good for the ecosystem and keeps pollinators, good garden bugs and birds in your garden, but the biggest factor in year-round gardening is that plants keep your soil healthy. Instead of having to replace your soil each spring, if you add fresh compost and grow plants in your garden each season, you will have soil that gets better and better over time. Soil health depends on thousands of bacteria and organisms working together to process the organic matter in the soil, turning it into accessible nutrition for your plants. If you let your garden go dormant, this ecosystem may die which will make it harder for you to garden each season.

Once your garden is started, you can add fresh produce to your diet through all of the seasons. Even if you’re not interested in eating your produce, there are places nationwide that can process & distribute donations of fresh vegetables (Farm to Pantry is an amazing resource for those of us lucky enough to be in Sonoma County). Fall plants are also beautiful and add a splash of color through the cooler months.

What can you grow in the fall & winter? Many people are surprised by the amount of choice you have, no matter where you live. 

For example, broccolis grow extremely well in the cooler winter climates. There are 3 main types of broccoli, but endless varieties of each type. You can grow purple broccoli, broccoli that produces side-shoots for longer harvests, or longer stems and even fractal-design broccoli! Broccoli dates back to the Roman empire and garden-grown versions have up to 80% more nutrients than what you can get at your local market. Add that to the fact that gardeners naturally up to 3x more veggies in their diet, starting a garden just might be the healthiest thing you can do this year. 

What to Grow

Speaking of Broccoli, The entire Brassica family deserves special mention as it is incredibly diverse and includes all of the following vegetables (and more):

purple sprouting broccoli recently harvested from the garden

Brassicas

  • Broccoli 
  • Cauliflower
  • Arugula
  • Cabbage
  • Kohlrabi 
  • Kale
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Collard Greens
  • Turnips
  • Mustard Greens

Along with these vegetables, many herbs continue to grow from the summer and several that grow better during the cool months. Herbs that are amazing in a fall garden include:

Cool Weather Herbs

  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Parsley
  • Chives
  • Sage*
  • Thyme
  • Oregano*

*These herbs may die back during the coldest temperatures. If you live in an area that experiences deep freezes, you may want to hold off until Spring

Medicinal Herbs

  • Nettles
  • Fenugreek
  • Echinacea
  • Plantain
  • Feverfew
  • Comfrey
  • Hyssop

In addition to Brassicas & Herbs, other popular fall garden vegetables that we recommend are:

purple peas ready for harvest from the garden

Other Fall & Winter Vegetables

  • Radishes
  • Peas 
  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard 
  • Red-Veined Sorrel
  • Beets
  • Lettuces
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Fava Beans

You have help!

As always, feel free to stop by (Northern California) or ping us through our Garden Coaching app (iOS | Android) with any questions you have (completely free). You are not alone and you do not have a black thumb, Avalow has your back for anything you need from the plants, mulch, compost to advice and encouragement!