Fall Plantings Help You Eat into Next Spring

Fall plantings can help you eat from the garden through fall/winter and into early next spring. How much you plant and when you plant it can make a difference.

For the most success:

stagger plantings of the same crop several weeks apart. This can make a big difference in how long you enjoy eating from your fall/winter garden.

Fall Plantings of Lettuce

As mentioned in other posts I plant lettuce  at least 4 times from September through November to insure a steady supply into next spring.

The seedlings of Winter Density started in September (my seed from 2017) will be the first I’ll enjoy this fall. Most of that planting will either be gone or look pretty shabby by next spring.

Transplanted to the garden Sept 20.

winter garden crops

This is what it should look like in about a month.

Started more Winter Density at the end of September. (Used this year’s saved seed. It germinated in two days!)

Winter Density seedlings ready for second fall planting.

Planted several new varieties of lettuce. (Every year I hope to find another favorite.) Germination was poor in EVERY ONE of the new varieties.

In spite of the poor germination, at least a few plants from that first planting will make it. Around mid  or late October I’ll start more of all the varieties again.

But to date Winter Density ( good for all seasons) and Sierra Batavia (especially good for spring and early summer) outperforms all the many lettuces I’ve grown over the years.

Honorable mention goes to Reine des Glaces because it’s so delicious especially when coupled with Winter Density and Sierra Batavia in a salad in spring and early summer.

Black Seeded Simpson gets a nod only because it’s dependable for a long period of time into summer when you may not have any other lettuces.

As usual it looks like the bulk of my winter lettuce will be Winter Density.


First planting of parsley didn’t germinate. Seed was too old or maybe not kept in the best of conditions. (Mine from 2012). Just planted some yesterday that I harvested this season. Hoping for good germination.

Although parsley performs a bit better in spring plantings, it’s worth getting a few started for winter. They don’t get really large in cold weather. But in addition to giving me a taste of parsley in winter, they also serve as an early start for parsley when they “take off” in the spring.


Planted seed harvested this season. Didn’t germinate. That was disappointing because it came from some of the best looking chard I’ve ever grown.

Will plant again tomorrow.


Mache is a must have. So delicious and needs no protection from the cold.

If you do give it some protection in the cold it’ll grow more.

I allow it to self-sow in my garden each spring. But I still sow some new seed here and there each fall just in case.

The self-sown usually shows up in my garden about  mid November or later.


Planted Sept 21 and came up in 4 days! Can hardly wait to start adding them to my daily fare of veggies.

Fall planting of radishes.

A few white icicle radishes given to me by a friend were planted yesterday (Oct 7th).  They’re new to me and I’m excited to see how they do.


I’d need more room than I have to grow the amount of carrots I use.
There’s another reason I don’t grow many. I’ve never grown any that I thought tasted good. Am still trying.

Last spring I planted carrots 3 times and none of them germinated.  Seed was newly purchased.  (Having trouble with germination of purchased seed is getting worse each year. Makes saving our own even more important.)

Probably a bit late to plant carrots, but I planted anyway on Sept. 21. Only one has germinated.

The variety (Blanka) is new for me.

We’ll see what happens.

Fall Plantings of Cabbage are New for me This Year

Growing cabbage this fall has me more excited than I’ve been about growing anything in a long time. Several reasons account for that:

# 1 – Raw cabbage (along with carrots) is a big percentage of my diet. With all that’s going on in this country and with so many indications of food shortages soon becoming more severe, I’d hate to be without either of those two vegetables.

#2 – Cabbages like cool temperatures and cabbage pests don’t.

#3 – I’m growing four varieties:

(a) January King variety is new for me. It’s a winter cabbage which has been cultivated in England since 1867. Leaves are blue green blushed with purple or red. The heads are said to be small at 3 to 5 lbs. I like smaller heads but 5 lbs sounds big to me. Anxious to see for myself.

It’s said to survive hard freezes without cover. Another “Yeh!”
Less work for me.

(b) Early Jersey seedlings look good.
Planted eight seedlings in the garden and six are doing good. Have backups still in the pot to transplant tomorrow. (picture below)

Fall planting backup seedlings for Early Jersey cabbage.

(c) Columbia – They’re the ones that did so well for me this summer and were so delicious. (See picture below.)

Seedlings look puny, but that’s exactly how they looked in the spring. It took a month for them to really start to flourish.

Columbia cabbage Harvested on July 31st.


Note: Keep in mind, that’s why Miracle Grow is so popular with conventional gardeners. It gives quick growth. That’s not always the way of nature — but most gardeners think it’s grand and don’t give any thought to the harm it does.

Over my 42 years of gardening, I’ve found in an organic garden that works with nature, seedlings might take longer to get started, but they usually go a lot longer, produce a lot more, and are healthier overall.


(d) Volunteer seed from a store bought organic cabbage that I dug into a bed with other kitchen scraps last winter:

I’ve been disappointed with how the seedlings look. But you never can tell.

IMPORTANT CONCEPT: Seldom can you go by how things look at any given time in the growth process especially if you’ve never grown the variety, or grown at this time, or had experience with the particular vegetable.

Planted twelve of these seedlings on the other side of the garden from the Early Jersey variety.

Eight made it. Only two look fair. Something is eating the others.

The seed was the from the store bought cabbage core that I dug into the bed with other kitchen scraps last winter.


Have never grown broccoli in fall/winter before.

Wakefield is the variety I chose.


Will plant some time this month or early to mid November.

Am closing down part of a flower border. Had tight rolls of weeds decaying in this area during the early summer. (You’ll recall my private letter to subscribers entitled – Don’t Waste Your Weeds.)

As a result the soil is so nice that I decided to plant my garlic here rather than close the border.

After planting I’ll mulch with straw. When the leaves fall I’ll add some on top for more nutrition/organic matter.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve never gardened in the fall for winter and next spring, you’re missing something special.

Started your fall garden?  I’d love to know what you’re growing.

Wishing you an abundant fall/winter and spring harvest!


Suggested Reading:

Mache – Why Grow It and Secrets to Having Enough

Six Reasons to Grow Mache

Growing Garlic – When to Plant and Why

Still Eating Lettuces from Your Garden in January – or Not?


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