Gardening in the fall lets you grow cool-weather crops and enjoy your property as the seasons change. With harvest season just around the corner, now is the perfect time to start planning a lush, vibrant garden to bring life and color to your yard. From colorful ornamental plants to delicious edibles, there are plenty of options for growing a beautiful garden. Here are some tips for preparing your fall garden.

Preparing Your Fall Garden: Start Planting Earlier Than You Think

Fall gardens have a shorter growing season than their summer counterparts, so get your plants in the ground as soon as possible. Check with local nurseries for advice on when to start planting different species of plants for the best success. Plants like acorn squash, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage should be planted in mid- to late-summer so they have time to sprout in the heat and grow well into the fall.

Choose Hardy Varieties

When choosing plants for your fall garden, look for varieties that are known to be hardy and can survive cool weather. Some of the best options include kale, collards, onions, garlic, Swiss chard, and other leafy greens. These vegetables will grow well in cooler temperatures and tolerate frost better than most other plants. Look for heirloom varieties, which are especially well-suited to the shorter growing season of fall gardens.

Mulch Heavy and Often

Mulching your garden is one of the best ways to help protect your seedlings from fluctuating temperatures and keep them healthy through the winter months. Spread a few inches of mulch around each of your planted varieties to help keep the soil at an even temperature and reduce weeds. If there’s been a dry spell in your area, water your plants regularly and add mulch if needed.

Provide Wind Protection When Preparing Your Fall Garden

Fall winds can damage plants, so create windbreaks wherever possible. Plant tall shrubs or trees along your windiest sides to help break up the gusts. You can also build lattice frames around tender plants that need extra protection from strong winds.

Build Hot Boxes to Extend Your Growing Season

If you want to stretch your fall garden’s growing season even further, consider building hot boxes. These are simple devices constructed out of wood and glass (or plastic) that trap heat from the sun during the day and keep plants warm on cooler nights. Hot boxes can be handy in cold climates or areas with shorter growing seasons.

With a little extra effort, you can create a thriving fall garden that will bring beauty and life to your outdoor space all season. Use these tips to help get started, and enjoy watching as your plants grow and thrive into the cooler months.

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