Spring draws all the attention when it comes to gardening. Fall, however, may be the best time of year to plant and spend time outdoors getting your hands in the dirt.
The weather in autumn offers moderate temperatures in most places, lots of sunny days and occasional rainfall – ideal conditions for people and plants. Whether you want to grow food, flowers, or both, the steps you take this fall will pay off for the next gardening season and for years to come.
Bonus: Being outside and getting exercise while gardening is the perfect activity to aid your weight loss goals! on Food system, we recommend 30 minutes of physical activity a day.
Check out these 12 simple tips for success in the fall garden:
Many delicious and nutritious vegetables grow best in cool temperatures rather than the summer heat. The fall weather also allows trees, shrubs, and perennial flowers to settle down and take root. If you can, wait an overcast day before lightly raining with planting.
1. Leafy vegetables, including spinach, arugula, and kale, do great in the fall. You can start with seeds or with small grafts that you can buy at the garden center. In all but the coldest regions, these plants produce a few ready-to-harvest leaves in the fall, go into dormancy in winter, and then begin growing new leaves when the weather warms up again in the spring.
2. Radishes pop up quickly, and the flavorful roots are ready to add to your salads just five to six weeks after sowing.
3rd Carrot seeds germinate more slowly, but they also thrive in cooler temperatures. In fact, you can leave carrots in the bottom until they freeze hard. They taste sweeter after a cold.
4th garlic grows like many flower bulbs: you plant individual cloves of garlic in autumn and each one becomes a completely new onion over the winter. When next spring turns into summer, they’ll be ready for you to dig up and eat.
5. Fruit trees and shrubs have a chance to settle in and put down roots when you plant them in the fall. Even if you have a small garden, consider placing a dwarf apple, cherry or peach tree. You will enjoy it fresh fruit for years after that. Raspberry bushes need a little space to spread out, but they produce abundantly season after season and require almost no maintenance.
6th Flowering bulbs bring bright colors to your garden in the spring, but they start in the fall. Tulips, daffodils, crocuses, and hyacinths come in a variety of sizes, colors, and patterns so you can find something that suits your landscape and tastes. Plant a mixture so that flowers bloom every month.
Bring it in
7th Cooking herbs, like thyme, rosemary, and chives, thrive both indoors in winter and outdoors in the warmer months. Before the chilly temperatures finally set in, dig up small pieces of your favorite culinary herbs and plant them in containers of potting soil. Place the pots on a windowsill (ideally facing south or west where the sun is strongest in winter). Cut off leaves and add them to your meals whenever you want. You can also store freshly cut herbs in a dry, dark place for a couple of weeks, and then store the dried leaves in clean jars for use when needed.
8th. Indoor plants, including cacti and other succulents, thrive when they enjoy long summer sunshine. However, when the temperatures drop below 50 degrees F overnight, they are ready to step in. First rinse them off briefly to wash away any pests that may be hanging around.
Preparing for spring
9. You can instantly propagate many of the most popular perennial plants, such as daylilies, peonies, and hostas, by dividing them in the fall. Simply dig up clumps of the plants and break them into smaller pieces with your hands or a sharp spade. Then transplant the pieces in new places, water them well and wait until they reappear in spring.
10. You may find the falling leaves on your lawn a nuisance, but it really is a treasure. Use a lawnmower with a grass catcher to shred leaves, then distribute them to your flower and vegetable patches. The leaves create a blanket that insulates the soil and prevents it from being washed away in severe storms. As the leaves slowly decompose over the coming months, they release nutrients that the plants absorb in spring.
11. Charge your garden and get ready for spring by mixing fertilizer into the soil in autumn. You can buy nutrient-rich manure in bags at local garden centers or obtain it from a local farm, whether from cows, horses, sheep, or chickens.
12. Keep your power tools like mowers and lawn trimmers working well by draining their fuel tanks after the last cut of the season. Put some fresh gas in when you start them up again in the spring.