Planning a Fall Garden | What to Plant & When

Carefully planning a fall garden is the key to gardening success. Discover what you can plant & when to get your fall garden growing.

Planning a Fall Garden

Spring isn’t the only time to garden. Fall is our favorite ‘secret’ growing season. In fact, some vegetables actually taste and grow better if they’re planted in the fall. These vegetables are called fall crops, and we can’t get enough of them.

The kinds of vegetables that grow in fall create some of the best dishes in the kitchen and they’re also some of the simplest to grow. From radishes to leafy greens to cauliflower, you just can’t go wrong with fall vegetables.

Whatever you choose to grow, you need to start planning your fall garden. This guide will help you with your garden planning. We’ll cover what to plant and when, so you can start growing your fall treats ASAP.

WHAT TO PLANT

Mother & Daughter Planning Fall Garden
Little child looking on bunch of freshly picked up red radishes in mother’s hands – in vegetable garden

When grown during the fall, certain plants like greens, root veggies, and brassicas actually do their best. With the cooler weather, they’re more likely to grow easy and develop the tender taste they’re known for. Below is a list of our favorite fall crops to plant, sorted by type.

Whatever you choose, be sure to understand their growing needs, from soil to timing. Some varieties thrive in cooler weather and some need to be moved around with the threat of front is coming.

Greens

  • Arugula
  • Green Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Bok Choy
  • Collard Greens

Brassicas

  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts

Root Veggies

  • Parsnips
  • Celeriac
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Turnips
  • Radishes
  • Rutabaga
  • Potatoes (depending on your area)
Woman Tending to her Fall Garden

FALL-FRIENDLY COMBO CONTAINER OPTIONS

Container gardening is a great option for fall growing. The mobility of container gardens means you can bus them indoors if the weather gets too chilly at night or you can chase the sun if you’re having especially shady days. Additionally, it’s a lot simpler to create fall coverings and watch your specific plants, since they’re generally smaller than your garden plot.

You’ll need to be aware that your container gardens will hold less heat than the ground. So be especially careful of frost and check the soil temperature to make sure it can still host your plant.

For fall, Gardenuity has a host of container combo kit options that will set you up perfectly for fall planting. They’re carefully curated plants that will love fall weather, grow well together, and taste delicious with each other.

To see the plant combos available for you to grow right now (Matched specifically to you & your climate with our unique algorithm), click the “add to cart” button on the Veggie Garden Kit.

Taco Toppings

The Taco Toppings garden contains all the veggies you to celebrate Mexican cuisine. A variety of fall-friendly lettuce and herbs are specially curated to match your specific climate.

Asian Greens

Asian Greens grow extremely well in cooler temperatures. This garden is easy to grow and an exciting fall-friendly flavor to add to your growing repertoire.

Antioxidant Salad Garden

This combo of immune system boosting greens and veggies will only Match to you if they’ll grow successfully. Grown in fall, they’ll taste crisper, more tender, and more flavorful than when grown in the spring.

Fall Culinary Herb

This Culinary Herb combo is perfect for fall-themed cuisine and fall-friendly growing. It contains 4-6 herb seedling plants that you can harvest and use in your culinary adventures throughout the season.

Fall Cocktail Herb

Cocktail herb gardens are a garden must. This fall variety herb garden contains 4-6 herb seedlings you can plant, harvest immediately, and use to create your fall cocktails.

Impatient Gardener

This Impatient Gardener combo kit is especially successful for fall growing procrastinators and growing beginners. The fast-growing plants included in this garden are easy to grow and mature quickly — before the frost arrives. Included is a combo of veggies and herbs curated for your climate.

Wellness Tea Garden

The Wellness Tea Garden contains 4-6 fully rooted, sustainably grown herb plants that are perfect for tea and wellness lovers out there. Once the seedlings are planted and adapted to their new home, they’re immediately ready to harvest. Also known as the aromatherapy garden, these herbs are perfect fresh, dried, or pressed into oils.

Roots & Herbs

Roots are some of the best fall growers, and beets are particularly good at withstanding the chilly temperatures. The Roots & Herbs garden contains exactly what you would guess, herb and root plants! These plants support each other in the grow and pair well on the plate.

Simply Lettuce

This combo contains an entire lettuce garden that’s full of varieties that grow well in fall and make perfect salads.

Planning a fall garden is the first step to growing a successful, happy harvest. Find a garden that works for where you are, when you are, and what you want.

DIRECT SOW VS. SEEDLINGS

Planning a fall garden means choosing what you’re growing — and this includes more than just what kind of plant you’ll grow. You can direct sow seeds or use plant transplants. Both options work, but direct-sowing can be a little trickier in fall than in spring.

GARDEN HACK: If you want to grow from seed, soak your seeds and leave in the fridge overnight. The next day, plant them in your soil. This will help speed up germination and is especially useful if you’re planting later than you expected.

Gardenuity Fall Lettuce Garden

Transplants are a really great option for fall gardens. To cultivate your own transplants, start your seeds indoors by growing in a citrus peel, eggshell, or mini pot. Transfer seedlings outdoors when they’re about 3 weeks along and soak immediately. It will take about two weeks for your seedlings to feel at home.

Alternatively, you can buy seedlings from a reliable source and plant directly into your garden. In this method, you’re avoiding the riskiest part of the grow (the beginning). Again, soak with water and watch your garden carefully as your transplants adapt to their new home.

WHEN TO PLANT

The key to a successful fall garden is finding the right time to start your garden — discovering when to plant is arguably the most important part of planning a fall garden. So how do you do it?

Our favorite way is to avoid the research by using Gardenuity Match. Gardenuity match tells you what you can plant and when based on your current location and climate. All you have to do is go to the Gardenuity home page and enter your zip code (or let our technology find your location).

If you want to do all the research, keep reading below!

Find Your First Frost Date

The first step if to learn your first frost date. This is the average yearly date that the first killing frost of fall occurs in your current location. The time left in your fall growing season is your plant time until the expected first fall frost. You can use this handy First and Last Frost Calculator on The Farmer’s Almanac.

Once you have this date, check the days to maturity on your chosen seed packets. If your plant can grow to maturity before your first frost date, you’re good to grow! Otherwise, you probably need to look at a different crop.

If the seed package doesn’t specify fall planting, add about two weeks to generate your fall maturity time. (There is less direct daylight and lower soil temperatures in fall than spring.)

*Sometimes, you’re having an abnormally warm year and your first frost date average will not match your actual first frost date. During these years, look at your projected weather predictions and feel free to take the risk! Container gardens are really great for this situation, as you can roll your garden indoors if your first frost surprises you.

General Timing Options

Below we’ve included general timing for cool weather, fall planting. Each date is weeks out from the first frost date in your region.

12-14 Weeks Out

Direct sow parsnips, rutabagas, lettuce, and radishes. Start brassica seedlings and kale indoors.

10-12 Weeks Out

Direct sow beets, carrots, collard greens, leeks, radishes, and lettuce. Transfer your brassica and kale seedlings to your outdoor garden.

8-10 Weeks Out

Direct sow Chinese cabbage, lettuce, turnips, spinach, Asian greens, and arugula. You can still plant lettuce and radishes (they’re fast growers!).

6-8 Week Out

Final chance to sow spinach and lettuce.

Container Garden