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Every year we make a mental note to remember to plant all of the wonderful veggies that are happy to produce in later summer and fall. Unfortunately, most years, we get around to planting about 1/3 of them at best because we lose track of what we wanted to put in and haven't planned it out to remind ourselves.
But this is the year of "doing what we always neglect to do" and so I'm writing this article so that we (and you) can create an easy to follow plan to make the most of your fall garden potential.
The idea is simple. First, you'll need to know a bit about your specific area, including your hardiness zone and your average first date of frost:
Find your average date of first frost from the Farmers' Almanac here.
Find your USDA Hardiness zone by zip code here.
Then, you can calculate when to plant by figuring out the number of days needed before your average first frost using the method suggested in the Mother Earth News Guide to Vegetable Gardening: planting date = first frost date - (number of days to maturity + 10 days to account for shorter days in the fall).
In the graphic below I've used this calculation to plan out four "phases" of fall garden planting, including the approximate date and what to plant, for our zone (5a) where our average date of first frost is around the last week of September. I've used the average date to maturity for typical examples of each veggies, but remember to read your seed packets and do the calculation to make sure your variety fits the average.
BONUS: Click on the graphic to download a Printable PDF for yourself!
EVEN MORE BONUS: Don't live in Zone 5a? Click on the image below to download a Free Printable to fill in your zone and dates using the calculator above!!!
Fall gardening season is like an opportunity to plant a whole new bonus harvest. Don't let those precious last few months go to waste!
Looking for more great gardening advice? Check out some of our favorite resources from Chelsea Green Publishers (note, these are affiliate links).