How to Start a Fall Garden in a Hot, Southern Climate
When spring rolls around, millions of people are beyond ready to plant a garden full of lush herbs, vegetables and flowers. However, this is the exact opposite for growing in hot, southern climates!
The grass is truly greener south of the Mason-Dixon Line in autumn.
The trick to growing your own fresh food and flowers in the South, is to avoid the hottest part of the year (Southern-summer has no mercy on a vegetable garden!) and get ready to reap an autumn bounty. Once the heat starts to break (usually around August-September), this is a great time to get a fall garden planted outside.
Here are a few tips for a fool-proof fall bounty:
1. Plant fast-growing Greens & More
All varieties of salad greens, radishes and peas are quick to mature and love the cooler weather. These fast-growing varieties work well even if your region experiences a minor risk of frost mid-winter. Greens can be harvested for salads every few days, and both greens & radishes can be planted every few weeks for a consistent supply to add to smoothies and salads.
Select from these speedy-seeds:
Peas (Dwarf Grey, Petite Snap Peas)
Radishes (French Breakfast, Purple Plum, Valentine’s Day, White Icicle)
2. Grow fall herbs
Harvest your own fresh cuttings of herbs as long as you possibly can. No one wants to go back to wilted, store-bought basil after experiencing what the freshest leaves can taste like.
Herbs grow relatively quickly, with initial harvests in just 3-4 weeks. With good care, all varieties will grow back for weeks, even months on end!
The luxury of having the freshest tasting herbs to pluck is easily attainable with container gardens. This way, you control the quality of the soil, and the proximity to your cutting board for easy-access.
Keep it fresh with these aromatics:
Basil (Sweet, Thai, Tulsi, Cinnamon, Purple)
Bronze Fennel Greens
3. fruiting Plants Love a southern-fall!
Northern climates may have epic fall foliage, but for areas further south with little-to-no risk of frost, you’ve hit the gardening jackpot! It's time to plant fruiting crops along with fall greens and herbs.
Although these wouldn’t have survived the hot summer, autumn is perfect to host your balcony and backyard bounty.
Produce a bumper bounty of these fast-fruits:
Tomatoes (Glacier, Golden Nugget)
Ring-O-Fire Cayenne Pepper
4. Flowers for color & pollinators
Even if it's fresh food you're after, the fruit wont be able to form without help from pollinators. Grow flowers for bouquets, pest-management, and pollinators for both a gorgeous and delicious garden.
Some flowers are also edible, so check out these tips for growing edible flowers:
Add these flowers into the fall garden mix: