Plan Your Fall Garden


With a seasonal shift on the horizon, now is the time to start preparing your garden for fall. Here, Diane Burns, horticulturalist at Charlottesville, Virginia’s Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards, shares her expert tips for how to prep and plant for a fall harvest.*

Set your sowing schedule. Beets, carrots, Swiss chard, kohlrabi, turnips, and radishes can all be sown by seed directly into the soil in late summer, while broccoli and cabbage can be started in cell packs now to transplant in the near future. When the weather cools down a bit, plant lettuce, greens, kale, and peas by seed. Garlic can be sown in October for an early summer harvest next year.

Keep your (soil) cool. Provide shade with a row cover, and on hot days, water down your soil with a soaker hose or watering wand (but don’t get the foliage wet!).

Look ahead to winter. Kale and broccoli taste a little sweeter when hit by a light frost, so there’s no need to cover this crop early. However, you do want to provide a low tunnel with a row cover after October 30th to extend the harvesting season of kale and cabbage through December.

Take notes. Keep a gardening log where you record which crops worked well, which ones failed, details about the harvest, and information about the weather and amount of rainfall. Map out the current plantings in your garden, and note where you want to plant things next year, being mindful to rotate your crops every three years to prevent soil-borne diseases.

TSG Tip 173 from Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards horticulturalist Diane Burns, who has been caring for some of the country’s most renowned gardens for 20 years. Learn more about Diane here. Located in Charlottesville, Virginia, Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards is a six-acre vineyard, boutique wine producer, tasting room, and event venue situated along the Monticello Wine Trail.

*Recommendations are based on climate and growing conditions in Central Virginia. Contact your local plant nursery or gardening professional for recommendations specific to your area.