In Rita's Blog

At Rita’s Roots, Fall is our favorite time to garden. Summer’s heat and humidity have passed, and bugs are less prevalent. And in the Lowcountry, we can actually grow throughout the ENTIRE Fall and Winter.

Another benefit of Fall gardening: Vegetables such as lettuce, parsley, collard greens and fennel are so hardy that even novice gardeners can feel instant success.

fall garden

Ready-to-Harvest Fennel

When to Start, What to Plant

We don’t plant anything before the end of September because of Hurricane Season. While you wait, be sure to prepare your garden for Fall planting

You can find all of our favorite vegetables to plant in September at Rita’s Roots annual plant sale, Saturday, September 21 at Local Works. Be sure to arrive on time because the best ones go early.

Seeds versus Transplants

Typically, root vegetables are started from seeds as they do not like to be transplanted. Their roots will become stunted or split. Peas and legumes prefer direct seeding as well. 

Plants that need greater spacing are typically done from transplant — brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale etc), lettuce. Or seeds that are more difficult to start, such as fennel, strawberries, onions. With our narrow planting windows, using transplants ensures that the space in your garden will be planted with the veggies you want before the window closes.

fall garden

Brussels Sprouts plants as seen growing in a field or garden. They get to be quite large – the bigger the better!

Another advantage to Lowcountry weather is that most vegetables will last all winter, even throughout the cold.

If we are expecting an exceptional freeze, beds can be covered with frost fabric.

To Plant ONLY in Fall

Fall is a repeat of the cool season Spring, but we add in:

  • Onions and Garlic (October/November planting)– super cold hardy, we plant short day varieties. They need long cool winters to develop a strong root system.
  • Strawberries (Mid-October planting) — Everyone’s favorite!Fall Garden Crop
  • Collards — packed full of vitamins and taste great in stir-fries. These hearty greens taste best after frost exposure.
  • Brussels sprouts — a vegetable favorite of many of our garden clients. While they do take a long time to grow, they are worth the wait! We only plant in the Fall. There are many different varieties of Brussels that have different climate needs and maturation times. It is best to visit Rita’s Roots Fall Plant Sales to get a variety that was chosen specifically for growth in the Lowcountry.
  • Celery – Need long, cool winters to produce. The heat of Spring planting causes them to become stunted, bitter tasting, or sprout to not form.
  • Spinach + Cilantro (October planting) – hold far better in cooler weather, which offers the gardener a much longer growing season.

All of the above can be planted in Late September unless otherwise noted.

Would you like Rita’s Roots to fast-track your gardening success? Learn more about how we can help this season be your most productive ever.

Lowcountry organic gardening, Rita and crew