11 Easy Plants for Your Fall Garden

Reader Contribution by Candi Johns

If your summer garden was a bit of a disappointment, first of all, know you are not alone. It was a wet, soggy, soaking summer around our parts (as well as most of the U.S.) and the gardens grew fungi instead of tomatoes this year.

I have great news if this was your garden … it’s time for fall planting. Squeal!

I have had the most wonderful time the past couple of weeks putting in my fall garden. It’s been cool and refreshing, and I have found complete and utter joy in ripping out my soggy, sad, dilapidated summer plants. Good riddance!

There is nothing like a fresh start, especially in the garden.

This is where I want to be. Right here on my knees, playing in the dirt, planting things and watching them grow. There is just nothing else like it, except maybe milking the cow, or bringing home baby piglets, or a kiss from a calf.

Here are 11 easy plants you can put in right now for a fall harvest:

No. 1: Radishes

Radishes are a quick easy crop. Children love to grow them because it’s almost instant gratification. Simply sprinkle some seeds in the ground and cover with a little dirt. Sprouts will appear in a couple days and harvest comes in four short weeks. Just make sure they get some water a couple of times a week.

No. 2: Onions

We go through bushels of onions. I plant onion sets in spring for a summer crop and again in fall. Onions are great for the novice or anyone who thinks they can’t garden. Onions attract few pests, diseases and troubles. To learn everything about planting, growing, harvesting, curing and storing onions go here.

No. 3: Swiss Chard

I put in some Swiss Chard this fall. It will add some color to my salads (and my garden).

No. 4: Sugar Snap Peas

I have four children who eat sugar snap peas like candy. This is another cool season crop that can be grown in spring or fall. Sugar snap peas like to have something to climb and are another low maintenance crop. To see how to plant them and what we use for a simple trellis go here.

No. 5: Collards

Collards are a must in the South. We eat them as a side dish with vinegar around these parts. We also eat turnip greens and mustard greens, but I decided to give the collards a try this fall.

No. 6: Zucchini and Yellow Squash

If you are like me and haven’t had your fill of squash casserole, zucchini bread and stir fry veggies, it may not be too late to stick another squash plant in your garden.

Here in Kentucky, we can have warm temperatures throughout fall. I stuck some new squash plants in for a fall harvest. It may be too late depending on when the first frost hits your area. Squash plants are simple to grow from seed and if they don’t work out – it’s not a huge loss.

No. 7: Broccoli

I also put some broccoli out this year because I’ve lost my mind and must be in the mood to scream at fat green worms. I have a real cabbage worm epidemic here at my little farm. To read about it go here. I have been using a little diatomaceous earth on the broccoli hoping to keep the cabbage worm army away. We’ll see!

No. 8: Lettuce

My oldest daughter planted a few rows of lettuce in her bed (each of my four children have their own bed – read about that here). To see the full step by step on lettuce go here. Lettuce grows quickly and as long as the slugs haven’t found it you shouldn’t have too much trouble.

I love to eat salad, especially when it’s from my garden.

No. 9: Kale
No. 10: Beets
No. 11: Spinach

I also put in some kale, beets and spinach seeds. There is not much to see just yet, but give them a couple weeks and they’ll be coming along.

In other news:

If your garden is defying the laws of physics and all the rain hasn’t killed your tomato plants, here are some great canning recipes straight from my kitchen:

How to Can Tomatoes

How to Can Tomato Juice

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce (Canned)

Homemade Salsa (Canned)

I have one bed of spring planted tomatoes that I didn’t rip out and toss in the woods. They look pretty sad, but if you can stand to look at the dying branches on the bottom of the plant and restrain the urge to rip them out and throw them at someone, they will continue to produce for you.

As long as you are growing indeterminate varieties, they will produce new growth on top and keep making you wonderful tomatoes. Mine have grown up, over and down the other side of the cattle panels that are holding them up. Indeterminates are still going strong. To see how I’m growing tomatoes go here.

September is a beautiful time. It is out-with-the-old in-with-the-new time. If your summer garden was a bust, a failure, a disappointment – take heart: There’s always fall!

Don’t be afraid to get back on the horse, dig in the dirt and plant something today.

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Happy Fall Planting,

  • Published on Sep 4, 2015
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