Is Fall Vegetable Gardening The Most Difficult Gardening?

Fall vegetables in seed tray: pumpkin, baby spinach, cucumber, romaine lettuce

Fall vegetables in seed tray

I’ve never planted fall vegetables before, but I am doing it this year. Here’s my plan:

Seeds: Acorn squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, romaine lettuce, baby spinach. Based on the fact that these were pretty much the only seed packets for sale at the garden center, they seem to be excellent choices for this time of year.

The seed packets mainly give sowing information relevant to spring gardening, though. For example, they tell me how long after my area’s last frost I should sow. What about how many weeks before the first frost?

The romaine took the early lead with little sprouts shooting up three days after planting. The pumpkins caught up in a big way, though. These plants are enormous, but according to the packet, they’re still not ready to go outside. Half of the baby spinach seeds didn’t germinate. Squash was the last to come up.

Pumpkin 'Cinderella' one week and one day after planting seeds.

Pumpkin ‘Cinderella’ one week and one day after planting seeds.

And I hate having to thin out seeds. Am I going to thin out the seeds that had a better chance of making it?

I ended up pulling information from about four websites per vegetable in order to get all the information that made me feel secure enough to start. That seems like a lot.

Containers: Earth Boxes. I have three. I hope that’s enough for the veggies I’m sprouting. I’m using plant spacing based on square foot gardening. I hope that translates to Earth Boxes.

Pest control: MiracleGro Nature’s Care insecticidal soap. Never used it before. We’ll see.

Still needed: Trellises, fertilizer. Scheduled watering reminders on my phone.

It was difficult to find supplies for a fall veggie harvest this time of year. Seed starting kits are out of season, one local store told me. Vegetable plants available for sale are crispy and burned, or, at other stores, non-existent. That’s why I’m starting with seeds. I saw that one garden center closed for the season on August 1. So no fall gardening there, I guess.

Nature, I am trying to get back to you! Where are you? Questions:

Can you get these fall vegetable plants where you are? Or are your garden centers already hibernating? Do you grow this time of year from seeds? Do you have to buy your supplies for fall crops in the spring? Thank goodness for Amazon, that’s all I can say.

Why don’t seed packets give more information? If not on the packet, then on their websites? Some websites don’t seem to give much more information than what’s on the actual packet.

Why are there so many seeds in each packet? I’m not going to grow 30 cucumber plants. Are most gardeners? Even accounting for a less-than-100% germination rate, I can’t plant all these seeds. Seems like this may have been a good idea in the past, but now I just feel like I’m wasting.

What’s been your experience with fall vegetables? Please share what’s worked for you.

2 thoughts on “Is Fall Vegetable Gardening The Most Difficult Gardening?

  1. Ann-Marie

    I have no experience with fall vegetables, but I am totally with you about the number of seeds in a pack! I didn’t want to waste any of my green bean seeds this past spring, so I ended up planting them closer together than I should have. In hindsight I think it might have been smart to plant some of the seeds in the spring, hang onto the leftover seeds, then once I was done harvesting my first crop, rip out the plants and try planting the rest of the seeds mid- to late-summer. Next year!

    Also, regarding thinning: I didn’t thin my basil enough this year, which has led to a crummy crop. Last summer I was able to make batches and batches of pesto. This summer: zero.

    1. Sara Tambascio Post author

      I’m hoping the thinning is what I’ve been doing wrong. I’ve vowed to be ruthless this year. And what is summer without pesto?


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