When people think of fall foliage, they seldom imagine fields of green. They think of brittle grass and close-to-being-bare brown trees being hugged tightly at the feet by mountains of dying leaves. They think of grey overcast skies, full moons, and brisk air. They may even imagine hayrides, pumpkin patches, the occasional apple orchard, and perhaps a sunflower field, but most of us, don’t anticipate any new luscious green leaves to grow again before next Spring. Though beautiful, the fall leaves we think of are known to be crisp yet dull in color. Usually, one shade or another of orange, yellow, or red, fall leaves begin as vibrant symbols of change gradually fading into lifelessness as entire ecosystems prepare for winter’s arrival.

But what if I told you fall leaves are green too … lusciously, vibrantly, nutritiously green … and homegrown?

It’s true! Although spring and summer are most commonly known for fostering plant and personal growth, the fall and winter months don’t have to be barren. This October, Keys invites you to fall in love with gardening with foods that are healthy, versatile, full of flavor, and perfect for growing outdoors during the fall and sometimes through winter.

Cool-Weather Crops We Can’t Help but Love

  • Kale
  • Onions
  • Collards
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Spinach
  • Chives
  • Asparagus
  • Artichoke
  • Lettuce
  • Turnip
  • Garlic
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Arugula
  • Peas
  • Chard
  • Radish
  • Cauliflower
  • Lettuce
  • Herbs

Do you see any veggies you’d like to harvest from your garden this fall? Before deciding, be sure to research what crops grow best in your local climate during this time of year. Try out one or two this year or begin thinking ahead about what you’d like to plant next year. The success of fall seedlings can be impacted by your summer harvest schedule and maintenance during the off-season, so it could be beneficial to start strategizing now. For tips on how to winterize and protect your garden for a prosperous next growing season, check out this guide from The Old Farmer’s Almanac, a great resource for information on all things gardening.

For those new and experienced gardeners who are up to the challenge of planting some late-season crops this year, keep reading for a few more tips for falling in love with gardening this fall.

Fall Gardening Tips as Love Languages

  1. Words of Affirmation – Sometimes you have to encourage yourself and your garden too! Brag about your hard work and the fruits of your labor. The more positively you feel, think and speak about your garden, the more effort, commitment, and care you will exert into your garden. Thus, the healthier it is likely to grow.
  2. Quality Time – Your budding relationship with your garden is not the place to practice being spontaneous or going with the flow. You must plan and schedule sowing your seed, your harvest, and everything in between according to the day, time, and climate in your location. For best results, it is recommended that you plant your fall vegetables at least 10 weeks before the first frost. Use the Farmer’s Almanac Frost Dates Calendar to find when your city’s first and last frost will be.
  3. Physical Touch – Don’t be afraid to put on your DIY hat (or a sweater to garden in) this Fall. Get hands-on with your garden by installing raised flower beds to improve draining and cold frames to protect your plants from frost while still allowing sunlight in. Check, trim, and treat your garden as needed by cutting back dead stems and leaves to make room for new ones.
  4. Acts of Service – Give your garden an extra boost with some thoughtful gestures you’ll also be grateful for in the long run. After harvest, remove all plants to prevent decay. Move bulbs that are expected to grow again inside until the spring and gather up the leaves from the yard for fertilizer. These are just a few acts of service your garden will appreciate.
  5. Receiving Gifts – After months of successfully tending to your winter greens, herb garden, and perennials like asparagus and strawberries, share all the homegrown love you’ve sown into your garden with one of our recipes. Fall crops can live and continue producing food for you and your family through the winter, just in time for a holiday meal or harvest celebration with your family and friends.