Three Tips for Planting a Fall Garden

Summer crops: Should they stay or should they go? Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and other summer crops may produce a second harvest in fall. Yet these plants take up considerable space, which could instead be devoted to cool-season vegetables. Would you rather produce another round of tomatoes or a new plot of peas? If you can’t decide, try starting fall crops like lettuces and carrots under your sprawling summer plants, or allow the tomatoes etc. to stay in place until it is time to plant late crops like broccoli and cabbage.


A little lettuce or a lot? Which fall crops do you most love? How many family members or friends do you want to feed, and how often? Does your household need enough spinach for a daily salad? Is one handful of radishes per person per season enough? These are the types of questions to ask when planting time arrives. Otherwise you may end up with an overabundance of one crop and too little of another.


How does your garden grow? Two gardens of the same size—with identical inputs of soil, water, and seeds—may produce different harvests in the course of a season. One plot may be partly shaded by a nearby wall, while another is constantly exposed to sun. Wind and rain patterns, elevation, neighboring trees and structures, visiting critters, not to mention people, all impact a garden’s development. So, what to do if you love strawberries, but don’t have much luck with them? Some gardeners tinker with their environment to create a better strawberry-growing scenario, while others accept their site as-is, allowing it to produce garlic instead. In either case, patient observation pays off. Over time, it will become possible to predict which crops are likely to perform best in your space.

FallVanessa PortilloTips, Fall