At mid-latitudes and in cooler countries most gardens are planted in spring and harvested in fall. You can plan to have a garden year-round even in regions that have distinct growing seasons.
You may need to provide extra space in your garden for crops to be grown during fall and winter, since these plants often start growing before harvest or prior to planting of your spring/summer garden. In cold country, you will need to consider growing your food in containers, cold frames or greenhouses.
Most of your squashes and fruit bearing plants will be harvested in the fall. Any that are lingering will need to be pulled out before you replant frost-resistant winter vegetables. Carefully observe your plants that you pull up for depletion and disease.
It is highly suggested that you don’t add diseased or depleted plants to your compost. Usually tomatoes are best the first time you pick them and then slowly begin to produce less, and are less tasty as time goes on.
You can leave beans and cherry tomatoes in for awhile longer only if they still have good foliage. If you have other tomato plants that are still producing 15-20 tomatoes and looking nice and plump, you could leave those in a bit longer. Otherwise, pick the tomatoes even if they are green and use them in cooking recipes that call for green tomatoes.
Green tomatoes can be ripened after picking, too (see our harvest and preserve page). Be sure to weed and pull everything out that will not be growing in the fall and winter.
More Common Frost Resistant Plants and Growing Times:
Fall gardens: 30-60 days to maturity, plant at the end of Aug. or early Sept.
Winter gardens: plant in Nov. (Remember with winter gardens, you need to consider how cold it gets in your area and consider using containers, beds, cold frames or greenhouses. )
Fall gardens: 60-80-days to maturity, plant at the end of Aug.
Winter gardens: plant in Nov.
Fall gardens: 80 or more days to maturity, plant in June
Winter gardens: plant in Nov.
Plan your garden in the fall and winter taking into account the amount of sunlight your plants can receive. A good 8 hours of sunlight is best. Trees and shrubs will compete for sunlight and rob your vegetable plants of nutrients and water.
Plant at least 6 feet away from them. If you plant where there was grass or sod, don’t fold it back into the earth. It depletes the soil and it will only grow back. Completely remove the sod and then plant your garden.
Double-dig for bad soil by digging a trench that is 24″ deep. Then use a pitchfork to gently lift the soil and break it up some. Don’t go more than two inches with it. Then put the other dirt back on top and do repeat the same action on the surface soil. Microbes need to stay in place in your soil so that you get the nutrients you need.
Please see our link on biointensive gardening tips*F81. These tips help reduce garden space and soil depletion. There you also find tips on the best composts and carbon farming. Biointensive gardening eventually makes for easier gardening. It’s all in the planning.