My oh my, where does time fly?! I can’t believe it’s already time to plan the fall garden once again. It’s something I always look forward to (I love cool-season crops so much!), but this year feels extra special. With our move last summer, we barely grew anything last fall! So this will be our very first fall and winter garden at the new homestead, where we have space to plant and experiment more than ever before!
This week I busted out our trusty seed storage boxes, took inventory of our current seed collection, and browsed our favorite organic seed company in preparation. It’s becoming tradition that I share a list of what we plan to grow each season here, so you can get some fresh ideas and grow along too!
So come along to see what we’re growing in our 2022 fall and winter garden. I’m sharing our tried-and-true cool season favorites and new-to-us varieties we’re excited to try, along with some fall garden tips along the way. This is also a great way for me to keep track of things, refer back to later, and take notes on what worked the best (or not); a garden journal of sorts.
LIMITED TIME OFFER: The wonderful folks over at High Mowing Organic Seeds (our favorite organic seed company) are offering you all 10% OFF your next order of $50 or more! Please use this link and then apply the code “deannacat” at checkout to save. The offer is good through August 5th only, and helps support our small business! (affiliate link)
New to fall gardening?
If you’re new to fall gardening, you’re going to love it! I thoroughly enjoy how fresh and tidy everything feels after the summer jungle is gone. Pests and disease seem to be less prevalent in the fall and winter too!
Just be sure to pop over to our “starting a fall garden guide” to get acquainted. That article covers important tips on timing, selecting the best-suited varieties for your zone, extending the growing season (e.g. using hoops with shade cloth or frost cover as needed), and how to transition from fading summer crops to fall seedlings – including no-till soil prep and fertilizing.
Cool season crops include:
- Brassicas such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, and Brussels sprouts.
- Root veggies, including beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, and parsnips.
- Leafy greens like lettuce, kale, Swiss chard, arugula, spinach, mustard greens, bok choy, tat soi and other Asian greens.
- Others: peas, fava beans, onions, leeks, and garlic
When to Plant a Fall Garden
It may seem early to be talking about fall or winter gardening in July, but it really isn’t! Tender plants need time to get started, grow and produce before freezing weather hits (such as lettuce and peas), while more cold-hardy crops need the time to mature enough to survive frost – like cabbage or kale.
Keep in mind we’re all on different schedules depending on our growing zones. Your Homestead and Chill planting calendars will help guide you, as they show when it’s best to start seeds indoors, direct sow outdoors, and transplant seedlings outside for dozens of crops – and are available for every USDA hardiness zone!
Here in zone 9, we won’t be starting seeds indoors for most of our fall crop for several more weeks (mid to late August), and then transplant seedlings out in late September to mid October. Yet some of you shorter season gardeners will need to get a jump on it NOW!
If you’re up against the clock, check out these 13 fast-growing fall crops that can be ready in 60 days or under. There’s also nothing wrong with growing from nursery starts if you don’t have time to start from seed!
Our Choice Varieties for Fall 2022
For years we’ve centered our fall garden around brassicas, root veggies and leafy greens. While that isn’t necessarily changing, I definitely want to focus more on fall flowers this year too! It won’t be anything like spring and summer, but I hope to keep some pops of color and pollen around as long as possible by planting several cold-tolerant and fall-blooming flowers including calendula, marigolds, snapdragons, pansies, and strawflowers.
I plan to grow most of our favorite calendula varieties (Strawberry Blonde, Orange King, Resina, and Pacific Beauty) along with Tangerine Gem and French marigolds. New for us this fall will be these gorgeous Lion’s Mouth snapdragons and these colorful Roggli Riesen strawflowers. Truth be told, I may be a tad late starting a few of them (and might need to pick up a few at the nursery rather than starting from seed), but it will be a good learning experience regardless!
Related: Here is a complete list of the best 18 flowers to grow in fall.
Peas, Beans & Cover Crop
- Peas – Our spring peas did absolutely fantastic here in the new garden (better than ever before!), so we are definitely planting more in fall. Sugar snap peas are our usual go-to, but this fall we’re also going to try snow peas for the first time, including Mammoth Melting and Oregon Sugar snow peas.
- Fava Beans – I plan to grow A LOT of fava beans this fall and winter. Windsor fava beans are the best, and are fantastic multi-purpose plants. Because of their ability to fix nitrogen and enrich soil, favas are often grown as cover crops. Yet they’re really delicious too – beans and leaves included! We use the leaves to make pesto. Bees also love their unique black and white flowers. Learn how to grow and use fava beans here.
- Cover crops – A few of our garden beds get a lot of shade in winter, so we’ll likely plant cover crops instead of edibles in some of them. In addition to fava beans, we’ll probably plant this Peas and Oats cover crop mix that Aaron likes to use in our no-till cannabis grow bags.
- Carrots – I like to grow several carrot types with varying maturation times, giving us an opportunity to harvest a handful a week over many months. Some favorites include Dolciva, Cosmic Purple, Naval, Scarlet Nantes, and more.
- Beets – Our Boro beets absolutely kicked butt this spring! It’s my new favorite beet variety, by far. The beetroots were beautiful, uniform, nearly blemish-free, and stayed tender despite getting very large. This variety was perfect for extended harvests at varying sizes over several months. We have a lot of leftover beet seeds from past seasons we’ll likely plant too (Chioggia, Golden, and Formanova) but will definitely prioritize Boro.
- Radishes – This year we’re sticking mostly to our tried-and-true favorites: Pink Beauty (top choice!), Sora round red, White Icicle, long white Daikon, and gorgeous purple Bravo daikon. We’ve grown Watermelon radishes in the past with varying success, but decided we’ll give them a go again this year.
- Turnips: We grew some beautiful Purple Top White Globe turnips in spring and will plant them again in fall. Turnips aren’t necessarily my favorite root veggie, but I really enjoyed grating them with potatoes (half and half) to make low-carb hashbrowns!
Broccoli & Cauliflower
I’m lumping these two heading brassica together since they grow fairly similarly. Both take about two to three months from seedling to harvest. The key for us has been finding heat tolerant varieties that won’t bolt during our warm fall days. Fall is hotter than summertime here!
- Broccoli – We grew both Covina and Belstar broccoli this spring and will do the same in fall. They’re both reliable, bolt-resistant, and have good side shoot production once the main head is harvested. New to us this season is De Cicco broccoli. It produces a smaller central head (but quickly!) and prolific side shoots thereafter, providing for a long harvest window.
- White cauliflower – With its huge dense heads and reliable productivity, Goodman has been our go-to classic white cauliflower. It’s also known to mature earlier than some other varieties. However, we only have a few seeds left so we’re also going to try Adona white cauliflower this fall. It’s said to be reliable, disease-resistant, and doesn’t get as fuzzy or “ricey” as others.
- Colorful cauliflower varieties – We grew ‘Lavender’ cauliflower for the first time this spring, and it performed far better than any other cauliflower variety despite the crazy temperature fluctuations we had! Also on the list: Flame Star (an orange-yellow cauliflower, similar to the popular “cheddar” variety but more heat tolerant) and Vitaverde (a chartreuse green variety).
- Romanesco – Veronica romanesco is like a cross between broccoli and cauliflower and is super unique! The fractal chartreuse green heads are one of the most trippy, beautiful, and fun things we grow.
Cabbage & Brussels Sprouts
Did you know that Brussels sprouts are essentially baby heads of cabbage growing along a stalk? We’ve only grown Brussels once before and they did quite well, so I’m excited to experiment with more varieties this year – along with more types of cabbage than ever! Note that cabbage and Brussels sprouts both need a long growing season to mature (up to 3 months), but will also both tolerate frost and light freezes once they’re established.
- Brussels Sprouts: We grew Dagan Brussels sprouts in fall 2020 and totally loved them! Despite being in less-than-ideal conditions (a partially shaded bed in the corner of our old garden) it produced very well for us. Dagan also matures earlier than other varieties. This year, I’m really excited to try Nautic Brussels too. The sprouts are spaced further apart on the stalk, and the plants are tall and less dense in general, leading to less disease and an easier harvest of individual sprouts.
- Cabbage: In addition to our trusty, classic Integro cabbage (mid-size red) and Expect cabbage (large round green heads with notable heat tolerance), we’re playing with a number of fun and new-to-us cabbage varieties this fall: Caraflex (small conical green heads), Deadon (large sage green heads kissed with purple streaks, extra cold-hardy), Megaton (massive 10-17 pound heads!), and Emiko Napa cabbage(a compact, bolt-tolerant Napa cabbage variety).
- Kohlrabi – We have seeds for Kordial, Kolibri, and Kossak kohlrabi leftover from spring. We enjoyed them all, so they’ll likely all be repeats for fall. (These didn’t fit elsewhere on the list… but they are part of the cabbage family!)
Lettuce & Leafy Greens
We’re allll about the leafy greens here. They’re delicious, nutritious, easy to grow, and start producing quickly – making greens an excellent choice when you have a limited timeframe for a fall garden. And if your climate allows, they can last for a really long time too! Especially if you use the cut and come again harvest method to perpetually harvest from the same plants for many, many months like we do.
- Kale – Kale is ideal for the fall and winter garden, since it actually gets sweeter after a light frost! Many varieties can survive through snow. Our favorite varieties are Dazzling Blue, Lacinato, Red Russian, and Scarlet kale, though curly varieties like Dwarf Green Curled kale and Meadowlark kale are even more cold tolerant. You can learn more about growing kale here.
- Bok Choy – Joi Choi is my favorite leafy green (and one of my all-time favorite crops), period. We also really enjoy Prize Choy. Both have large thick stems and an open plant structure, perfect for prolonged cut-and-come-again harvesting. I only recommend smaller baby bok choy varieties if you have a short growing season since the whole head needs to be harvested at once.
- Swiss chard – Peppermint Swiss chard is stunning, prolific, and slower to bolt than rainbow varieties. Sunset is my favorite golden yellow variety, and stays nice and tender even as it grows large. We have leftover seeds for Pink passion we’ll likely grow too.
- Mustard Greens – Red Giant mustards are a classic zesty, spicy, and very beautiful variety of mustard greens. Green Wave mustards (prolific and cold tolerant) and Red Splendor (spunky mustard flavor, frilly, slow-to-bolt) are other varieties we really enjoy.
- Lettuce – We loved all the lettuce varieties we grew this spring (Nevada, Freckles, Magenta, Red Mist, Black Seeded Simpson and Muir), so we’ll likely plant most of them again in fall. They’re all heat tolerant (slow-bolting) which is great for our warm fall days, and have an open head structure, perfect for prolonged cut-and-come again harvests.
- Spinach – I have my sights set on two new-to-us bolt-resistant varieties that sound spectacular: Space spinach and Renegade spinach. Cold-climate growers should take a look at exceptionally cold-hardy Giant Winter spinach too. We also have some old Flamingo spinach seeds left from years prior that I really enjoyed, so we may grow some of that as well.
- Arugula – I can’t decide between this unique Esmee arugula (more nutty than spicy, exceptionally cold tolerant) or Astro arugula (moderately spicy, excellent heat and cold tolerance, and good for cut-and-come-again harvest). So knowing me, we’ll probably grow both! Lol.
- Other Asian Greens – We will also be planting Yukina Savoy (an absolute favorite! It’s similar to tatsoi but much larger), Mizuna Asian greens (new for us), Vitamin Green, and Komatsuna.
- Garlic – We’ll definitely be growing garlic but I haven’t chosen varieties or sourced seed yet. I need to get on it though! Garlic seed always sells out really fast during the summer in anticipation for fall planting. (Garlic is planted in fall, overwintered, and harvested the following late spring to early summer.) Learn more about choosing the right garlic varieties for your climate here.
- Leeks – There is a round of King Richard and Runner leeks in the garden currently (slowly) maturing now. We picked up some Tadorna leek seeds to try this season to plant as a succession crop to the ones already growing. Here is our leek grow guide.
- Onions – Spring is the best time to plant onions in most places. However, gardeners with mild winters like ours can also plant them in late summer for a fall or winter harvest. We’ll probably sow another round of Walla Walla, Rossa Di Milano red onions, and Calibra – what we planted this spring (they’re still out there growing beautifully!) and still have seeds left. Get tips on growing onions from seeds, sets or seedlings here!
That’s the plan, and I’m sticking to it… maybe
Well that was both equally exciting and overwhelming, wasn’t it? Lol. Please remember we’re known for being a bit “extra” over here, and again, have more room than ever before this fall – so I’m going big! Grow what feels reasonable and sounds most tasty to you. More than anything, I hope this gave you ideas for a few new things to try and grow!
Next, I need to organize and map our where I’m going to plant everything using our handy plot plans (shown above). Doing that in advance helps SO much come transplant time, especially if we slowly transplant or direct sow things out over a couple weeks. Thankfully I still have a month or so to figure it all out. Thank you so much for tuning in today!
These articles may also help:
- How to Amend and Fertilize Garden Bed Soil Before Planting
- Seed Starting 101: How to Start Seeds Indoors
- Transplanting Seedlings Outdoors: Tips for Success
- Using Hoops and Row Covers for Shade, Frost Protection and Pest Control
- 13 Fast-Growing Crops for the Fall Garden
- 7 Ways to Protect Garden Plants from Frost Damage