Fall gardening is not exactly a popular choice among gardeners thanks to the fear of early winter frost. But the truth is that fall gardening is capable of producing a good crop of vegetables and will let you have crops long after the summer-spring crops have been harvested. It has also been observed that the fall vegetables taste milder and sweeter than the summer vegetables. You get to eat the same vegetables but a tastier version.
You need consider only two things when deciding what to grow. First how much space you have and secondly what you would like to eat. Summer crops like sweet potatoes, pepper, okra and tomatoes are good choices as they will produce till the frost hits. For the southern states this could mean till much later in the year. Some summer plants like cucumber, snap beans and summer squash stop producing as the summer ends. If these are planted during the mid-summers you can hope to harvest them till the first frost. Fragile and weak vegetables may grow even when there is light frost, but the tougher lot can flourish till the temperature reaches 20 degrees. Don't panic if the tops of your tuber plants happen to freeze, you can still salvage the edibles with the use of plenty of mulch.
When choosing your fall crop, be sure to choose vegetables with really short seasons, so that you can have grown plants ready for harvest before the frost strikes. You need to look for seed packets marked "early season" or you could go for seeds which lay claim to early maturity. It would be wise to buy the seeds for your fall gardening in the spring or latest early summer. Most stocks dry up by late summer. All you need to do is store them in a dry cool place, and they will be ready when you need them for your fall gardening.
Consult the farmer's Almanac to find out when the first frost is expected. The dates they give are rarely off the mark. You can use this information in order to calculate exactly when you need to plant for fall gardening. Of course you need to know precisely how long your plants are going to take to mature too.
You first need to clear your garden of nay leftovers from the previous crops and also get rid of weeds. You don't want any infections or diseases for your fall crop. You could use a few inches of mulch or compost to revitalize your soil. It may not be necessary though if you have used a lot of fertilizer for your spring-summer crops. Wet your top layer of soil after tilling it and let it set for a day or so. Soon you can start planting.
Moat gardeners avoid fall gardening as they don't want to fuss with frost. If you choose to plant tough and sturdy vegetables you van hope to harvest them till after a few frosts and also get better tasting produce in the bargain. Fall gardening lets you enjoy the vegetable garden a little longer.