It’s time to prepare your garden for autumn so you can continue to enjoy fresh homegrown produce
Gardening may seem like a summer sport, but did you know that you can plant crops now to feed you through the fall? First, you’ll want to make room in your garden, especially if you have a smaller bed or space. This is a great opportunity to enjoy that end of summer harvest with fresh veggie recipes, or you can dehydrate and can produce to enjoy through the cooler months.
With the newly freed up room in your beds, you’ll be able to practice “succession planting”, which is the art of maximizing your garden space and planting a crop in a spot once another crop is finished. The best part? That soil will be nutrient-dense because it’s had a different crop in it all summer, has absorbed those vitamins, and will help your fall crops grow even stronger!
Make sure to add a nice even layer of compost to the top of your garden to give it a boost. Soil tends to compact and move further into the ground over time, so it’s good practice to replenish that top layer.
Next, draw out a rough plan of where certain crops should go and what they pair well with. This is called “companion planting”, which means that the neighbouring crops won’t take from each other’s nutrients because they absorb different vitamins. Some companion planting will actually help repel certain insects that feed on your garden nums!
Finally, get planting! You’ll want about 6-8 weeks pre-frost to plant these to feed yourself well into the fall and early winter.
Photo by Gabriel Gurrola on UnsplashCarrots are one of my favourite fall and winter veggies. They’re great in soups, to munch on raw, or if you have too many, you can always pickle them and eat them through the cold months.
What they grow well next to: Beans, garden peas, lettuce, onions, tomatoes
Avoid planting next to: Dill, parsnips, parsley
Photo by Adolfo Félix on UnsplashLettuce loves the shade and cooler temperatures, so just like in spring, fall can bring you crunchy, leafy greens to add to your plate. I encourage you to schedule different planting times since you can get about five cuts from each head, so it’s good to have backup.
What it grows well next to: Corn, pumpkins, radishes, squash
Avoid planting next to: Cole crops (aka brassica: Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower)
Photo by Dan-Cristian Pădureț on UnsplashWe all know that as soon as we see squash, it’s fall! Summer squash loves that end of summer full-sun heat, and you’ll be surprised at how much of it will pop up for you to be able to live out your autumn dreams to the fullest.
What it grows well next to: Beans, corn, garden peas, radishes
Avoid planting next to: Potatoes
Photo by Dimitri Houtteman on UnsplashRadishes also love the cooler temperatures, so you can bring these back into your garden for the fall. If you don’t know what to do with radishes, I’m a big fan of throwing them into a potato salad with asparagus, dill, potatoes, vinegar, lemon, oil, salt and pepper.
What they grow well next to: Peas, leaf lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, onions, nasturtium
Avoid planting next to: Pole beans (sweet peas), brassicas, hyssop
Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on UnsplashYes, this leafy greens can make a comeback after the heat! Fall isn’t just for your root veggies. You can absolutely enjoy some autumn salad with spinach as your base, topped with all of your favourite fall squashes.
What it grows well next to: Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, eggplant, tomatoes, dill, lettuce, onions, peas, peppers, radishes, strawberries
Avoid planting next to: Does well with everything, but best with those above
Photo by Jay Jay on UnsplashI tend to plant dill in succession so that I always have fresh dill. Dill is an essential for pickling and I love freezing it in cubes or in a baggie to use in my winter cabbage dishes.
What it grows well next to: Asparagus, corn, cucumbers, onion, lettuce, basil, cabbage family
Avoid planting next to: Peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, cilantro, lavender
Photo by Immo Wegmann on UnsplashYou won’t be able to just throw seeds in the ground for this one. Leeks need to be transplanted from a seedling this late in the season, but it's well worth the effort! Leeks are so hardy and frost-tolerant; last year I had leeks in my garden well through the winter. They’re part of the onion family so you can use them the way you could an onion: in stews, or my mom makes a mean Polish leek salad with leek, carrot, apple, sour cream, apinch of salt and pepper, and lemon juice! *emphasis on the sour cream.
What they grow well next to: Carrots, strawberries, cabbage, tomatoes, beets, lettuce
Avoid planting next to: Beans and peas
Photo by Emma-Jane Hobden on UnsplashLast but not least, the very fast growing and versatile beet. I find that I can make beets sweet or savoury: roasted with drizzled honey or in potato soup. You can also enjoy some beety flavour sooner; once you thin them out, you can use the baby leaves in a soup too.
What they grow well next to: Lettuce, onion, cole crops
Avoid planting next to: Pole beans, field mustard, charlock (wild mustard)