There are myriad upsides to growing cool-season vegetables in fall, but too many gardeners miss out on this opportunity. The fact is, the vegetable gardening season is far from over when summer ends. To give you the knowledge and confidence you need to grow a fall vegetable garden successfully, this week I’m sharing an updated encore presentation of my comprehensive primer on how to do just that.
Fall is my favorite of the growing seasons. Arugula, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, peas, radishes, Swiss chard and more — there are so many cool-season vegetables that can liven up your dinner plate in fall. The trick is to learn your first frost date and work backward from there to pick the right time to start seeds indoors and transplant them into the garden.
Chief among the benefits of vegetable gardening in fall is that pest and disease pressure is significantly lower, and even the weeds slow down a bit. It’s also more enjoyable for gardeners themselves to work in the cooler, milder weather of fall than the heat and humidity of July and August.
This timely encore presentation will get your raring to go to plant cool-season vegetables. For the complete show notes with details on starting and protecting fall seeds and seedlings, and my top crops for fall gardening, be sure to refer to the original post from episode 122.
I also suggest you check out my fall garden video walkthrough. If you aren’t already excited about growing a fall vegetable garden, this video will get you going. And while you’re at it, you’ll also find it helpful to review my blog post on the best plants for a fall vegetable garden.
Some information that you won’t find in the original post because it is brand new to this week’s encore presentation is how to prime spinach seeds. Spinach seeds are viable for two or three years, and even three years is pushing it. And even the freshest seed can give you a hard time when you want it to germinate. That’s where priming comes in.
Amy Prentice, my Director of Marketing and Communications, turned me on to these instructions by Barbara Pleasant of GrowVeg. It starts a week before you plan on sowing spinach seeds. Take the seeds and soak them in room temperature water for 24 hours, then place the wet seeds on a paper tower and give them a day or two to dry out. Place the dry seeds in an airtight container and store them in a cool place until it’s time to sow. The primed seeds should germinate in five days, cutting germination time by half or better.
For those of you who have already listened to this week’s podcast, there are two other links I promised you’d find here. First, here’s where to find green plastic snow fencing. This temporary and reusable fence will come in handy to protect your crops from digging pests. Second is my video and accompanying written instructions and how to build a DIY cold frame. For more related podcasts, blog posts, videos and products that will help you along in your fall gardening journey, see the Links & Resources section below.
If you’re looking for a resource on growing vegetables in fall and year-round, do I have the book for you! My new book comes out next month and is available for pre-order now. The title is “The Vegetable Gardening Book: Your complete guide to growing an edible organic garden from seed to harvest,” and it’s chock full of insider tips and new-to-you information that will help you step up your gardening game and tackle challenges.
If you pre-order “The Vegetable Gardening Book” before September 5, I will send you a signed bookplate as a token of my thanks. Just go to joegardener.com/bookplate after you place your order and before September 15 to claim your free bookplate.
And on tap for 2023 is my new Online Gardening Academy™ premium course, Organic Vegetable Gardening. Sign up for the waitlist here.
I hope you enjoyed my tips on growing cool-season vegetables in fall. If you haven’t listened yet, you can hear this episode now by scrolling to the top of the page and clicking the Play icon in the green bar under the page title.
What cool-season vegetables do you grow? Let us know in the comments below.
Links & Resources
Some product links in this guide are affiliate links. See full disclosure below.
Episode 022: The Year-round Vegetable Gardener with Niki Jabbour
Episode 045: Succession Planting: Practical Tips For Growing More Food
Episode 048: The Simple Science Behind Great Gardening, with Lee Reich
Episode 106: Livestock Panels: Top 10 Uses in the Garden for This Versatile Material
Episode 110: Why Mulch Matters in Every Garden: What You Need to Know
Episode 122: Fall Vegetable Garden Success: Best Plants and Tips for Cool-Season Growing
Episode 220: Fall Succession Planning and Planting Tips, with Meg Cowden
joegardener Blog: The Numbers on Fertilizer Labels, What They Mean
joegardener Blog: The Best Soil Temperature for Seed Germination
joegardener Blog: What to Grow in a Fall Vegetable Garden
joegardener Blog: How Do I Grow Beets?
joegardener Blog: How Do I Grow Broccoli
joegardener blog: How Do I Grow Brussels Sprouts?
joegardener blog: How Do I Grow Cabbage?
joegardener blog: How Do I Grow Cauliflower?
joegardener Blog: How Do I Grow Lettuce?
joegardener blog: How Do I Grow Peas?
joegardener blog: How Do I Grow Spinach?
joegardener blog: How Do I Grow Swiss Chard?
joegardener blog: The Complete Guide to Growing Garlic (Everything You Need to Know)
joegardenerTV YouTube: Easy Edibles for Every Fall Vegetable Garden
joegardenerTV YouTube: How to Amend Raised Bed Garden Soil for Continued Health
joegardenerTV YouTube: Starting Beet Seeds in Containers for Better Results
joegardener IGTV: How to Micro-Irrigate Your Seeds for Better Germination Success
joegardener free resource: Fall Garden Edibles Checklist
joegardener free resource: Cool Flowers Planting Guide
joegardener free resource: Seed Temperature Chart
joegardener Online Gardening Academy™: Popular courses on gardening fundamentals; managing pests, diseases & weeds; seed starting and more.
joegardener Online Gardening Academy Organic Vegetable Gardening: My new premium online course membership opens in 2023. Sign up for the waitlist here.
joegardener Online Gardening Academy Beginning Gardener Fundamentals: Essential principles to know to create a thriving garden.
joegardener Online Gardening Academy Master Seed Starting: Everything you need to know to start your own plants from seed — indoors and out.
joegardener Online Gardening Academy Growing Epic Tomatoes: Learn how to grow epic tomatoes with Joe Lamp’l and Craig LeHoullier.
joegardener Online Gardening Academy Master Pests, Diseases & Weeds: Learn the proactive steps to take to manage pests, diseases and weeds for a more successful garden with a lot less frustration. Just $47 for lifetime access!
joegardener Online Gardening Academy Perfect Soil Recipe Master Class: Learn how to create the perfect soil environment for thriving plants.
GGW Episode 125: Thomas Jefferson: Organic Gardener
GGW Episode 605: Starting Seeds; A to Z
Author-signed bookplate for “The Vegetable Gardening Book”
Rain Bird® Drip Irrigation System
Almanac First & Last Frost Date Finder
Aerogarden – Our podcast episode sponsor and Brand Partner of joegardener.com
Earth’s Ally – Our podcast episode sponsor and Brand Partner of joegardener.com
Corona® Tools – Our podcast episode sponsor and Brand Partner of joegardener.com
Disclosure: Some product links in this guide are affiliate links, which means we get a commission if you purchase. However, none of the prices of these resources have been increased to compensate us, and compensation is not an influencing factor on their inclusion here. The selection of all items featured in this post and podcast were based solely on merit and in no way influenced by any affiliate or financial incentive, or contractual relationship. At the time of this writing, Joe Lamp’l has professional relationships with the following companies who may have products included in this post and podcast: Rain Bird, Corona Tools, AeroGarden, Milorganite, Soil3, Greenhouse Megastore, PittMoss, Territorial Seed Company, Earth’s Ally and TerraThrive. These companies are either Brand Partners of joegardener.com and/or advertise on our website. However, we receive no additional compensation from the sales or promotion of their product through this guide. The inclusion of any products mentioned within this post is entirely independent and exclusive of any relationship.