What Seeds Can I Plant in the Fall?

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Many of the crops you grow in spring can be replanted in the fall.
Many of the crops you grow in spring can be replanted in the fall.

There are many seeds that are ideal for planting in the fall. Some of these will self-seed in the garden once they are established. The earlier in the fall the herb and vegetable seeds are planted, the sooner you will get a harvest. Sometimes that harvest may occur late in winter, sometimes in early spring. Fruit and flower seed that is planted in the fall may begin to establish roots over the winter, or it may wait until spring to germinate.

  1. Herbs

    • Sow parsley seed in the fall.
      Sow parsley seed in the fall.

      Numerous herbs will self-sow in the garden; these are ideal for fall planting. Once they are established, simply allow them to set seed and drop it at the end of the growing season. Chamomile, celery, basil, dill, parsley and cilantro are just a few of the herbs that self-sow. Planting parsley in the fall will guarantee you have some to harvest come spring. Last year's parsley plants will bolt and set seed come spring. Sweet woodruff and sweet cicely as well as any of the perennial herbs are good choices to sow in the fall. Perennials are plants that come back from their own root system year after year.

    Vegetables

    • Plant seeds of quick-maturing crops such as radish in the fall.
      Plant seeds of quick-maturing crops such as radish in the fall.

      Sow seeds of spinach, turnips, radish, lettuce, kale, carrots and other cool-weather vegetable crops in early September. As temperatures drop, cover these plants with a cold frame or other protective structure to keep them alive and producing through the winter. In October, make successive plantings of the crops, preferably in a cold frame. In late September or early October, sow winter wheat seeds. Winter potatoes are planted in the open ground at the end of November and can continue to be planted through the end of December. Mulch the tops and keep any new growth covered with soil or straw. Other vegetables that do well when planted in the fall include beets, collards, mustards, parsnips, pumpkins, winter squash, rutabaga and arugula.

    Flowers

    • Hollyhock seed sown in the fall will produce plants that flower the following year.
      Hollyhock seed sown in the fall will produce plants that flower the following year.

      A variety of annual and perennial flowers are recommended for sowing in the fall. An annual plant is one that grows, flowers, sets seed and dies in a single growing season. In late September, sow seeds of perennial poppies, Sweet William, daisy, snapdragon and bachelors buttons. Once October arrives, direct sow larkspur, sweet asylum, winter sweet peas, calendula, viola, nasturtiums, annual poppies, celosia, cosmos and sunflowers. Continue to sow seeds of any of these plants for the remainder of fall and into winter. Some of the perennial seeds may start to germinate and overwinter as young plants.

    Fruits And Nuts

    • Fruit seeds are typically found inside the fruit.
      Fruit seeds are typically found inside the fruit.

      A variety of fruit and nut seeds are sown during the fall months by squirrels, chipmunks, mice and other critters. If you have perennial fruit or nut trees in your yard, any of the seeds you collect from them can be sown immediately. Set aside a bed for doing this so the young seedlings are not accidentally removed or damaged. Place a marker with the name of the fruit or nut seed written on it in permanent ink near the seeds so you remember what they are come spring. Fruit and nut seeds often take a long time to grow into large plants and typically do not resemble the parent plants. They will produce the same type of fruits or nuts but may not taste or look the same. This is due to cross-pollination.

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