I’ll tell you what. I could not be more excited for fall because here it should be close to fall, at least in San Diego. But literal ash is raining down on the garden right now as we’re dealing with some fires and STILL an incredible heatwave.
Ash all over the car from the fire and the garden is looking a little roasted. But in today’s video, for those of you who are experiencing fall, I’ve got 10 awesome crops that you have to plant for a fall harvest.
Kevin Espiritu here from Epic Gardening where it’s my goal to help you grow greener thumb. Now, I actually don’t have any of these crops planted in my garden right now because I’m still dealing with what feels like this weird, endless summer apocalypse here in California.
But I will be going over 10 of them, including some pro tips for growing them successfully this fall, as well as a couple of varieties I think you might like of each of them. So without further ado, cultivate that Like button and I will personally come to your garden under the cover of darkness and bless it with Epic Harvests for at least 20 to 40 years.
And let’s get into the video. Because I don’t have any of these crops growing in my garden right now, still have summer going, I’m just going to do some gardening chores while we talk about them.
So the number one crop to grow for fall, it’s going to be kale. And if you don’t like kale, turn it into kale chips and I promise you, you will like them. Now, the thing that’s nice about kale is it’s a brassica and many of the ones in this list will be brassicas because they do so well in the fall.
It’s nice for them to mature into the cold where they can get nice and sweet as you harvest them. But also things later on in this list actually prefer cold to mature well. So with kale, you have a frost tolerance down to about 15 degrees Fahrenheit or so, and there are so many different varieties.
You can grow a Lacinato style kale, also known as dinosaur kale. I like a dwarf curly kale. But again, I would highly recommend growing kale. You can perennialize it if you’re in a warmer zone or you’re able to push it through the winter with some sort of frost protection, but you certainly don’t have to.
It’s a beautiful cut and come again style green that does perfectly fine as a fall annual that you harvest out before the winter comes. And boom, you’re good to go. I’m actually preparing the Greenstalk Garden for a crop of kale, but that brings us to our second crop.
And that would be broccoli. Now broccoli, again it’s another brassica, a lot of the ones in fall, sorry to say, they’re going to be brassicas. But broccoli is great. And the reason why is because it really does prefer a colder temperature to form a nice tight, compact, delicious crown, something that you really want to eat.
Now, I can sometimes struggle here in 10b because it’s quite hot, as I’ve mentioned. It’s literally raining ash on my head from fires about 25 miles away. So it’s not time for me to start broccoli yet for me.
I might start it next month and grow it through our winter, which we don’t really have here. But if you’re in a colder area, it’s a great one. And I really recommend a good amount of nitrogen early on in its life.
What you want to remember about broccoli is it throws out these fan leaves that are maybe 18 to 24 inches in their span. And so you want to space your broccoli at least a foot and a half to two feet apart.
But the other thing to remember is it needs all that vegetation to produce the crown. And the crown, you want to harvest it when it is nice, tight and compact. You don’t want them to start opening up a little bit.
That’s a little bit too late. You can still eat it, but it is a little bit too late. Now when you harvest that broccoli, chop it at a 45 degree angle so that water will run off the stem and you can still harvest little florets that will start popping themselves out as like secondary shoots.
And then the other thing to remember about broccoli guys, is that you can actually eat all of the leaves. It’s a completely edible plant. You can throw them in a little saute and it’s a really, really good way to use it.
And you can use Romanesco broccoli. You can grow standard broccoli. All sorts of different varieties in the broccoli world as well. Before I tell you about crop number three, take a look at this luffa gourd guys.
I am so stoked about it. It has taken me quite a while. For those of you who don’t know luffa, you can actually turn into a shower sponge if you dry it out and use the interior fiber, but that’s in another video.
As I prune this out, let’s talk about crop number three, and that would be cauliflower. Again, another brassica, and it might be boring to some of you, but honestly, I find this to be a way more versatile plant than broccoli.
You can do so much with a head of cauliflower that just seems like it’s a little bit less feasible to do with broccoli. You can rice it. You can turn it into crusts. I mean there are so many different swaps out if you don’t want to eat a lot of grains or breads.
So it’s great in the kitchen. And growing wise, it’s more or less the same as broccoli – 18 to 24-inch spacing. The beauty is you can get a white one, you can get a green one, you can get a purple one.
So a lot of color variety. A lot, a lot of flavor in it, despite what some might say. And for the most part, it’s really the same as growing broccoli. So there will be some guides to come on growing all of the ones that I’ve mentioned already.
But again, it’s not fall yet. So while I’m waiting and pruning my beautiful luffa, let’s move on to number four. Crop number four is the almighty Brussels sprout. I will confess as a kid, I hated Brussels sprouts.
Like I would sit at the kitchen table and my mom was like, you have to eat your Brussels sprouts. And I said, I’m not going to eat them. She said, you’ll sit here until you eat them. And I said, okay, I’ll just die, die here then.
And honestly, sometimes she’d make me wait like an hour or two, and then she would give up eventually. But I think that was in the nineties when like, we didn’t really know how to cook Brussels sprouts well.
Everyone steamed them. They tasted gross. And now these days you slather olive oil and salt and pepper over them, you roast them and they’re really good. Anyways, that’s the kitchen. That’s how to cook Brussels sprouts.
But as far as how to grow them, they’ll get about three-ish feet tall or so. And they put out about 50 sprouts per stalk. Now the thing about Brussels is, a couple of things you want to remember. Again, they taste better if you harvest them in the cold or they’ve even been through a frost or two, they can take a frost or two.
Now you also want to pull off the yellowing lower leaves as those sprouts mature so they can focus on the sprout formation. And then the final tip I have for you is you want to actually harvest those sprouts as they become mature.
Don’t wait to harvest the whole stalk at once. You can pick them at their peak maturity, so they don’t overripe and some are under, and then you’re in a good spot to actually have a beautiful, delicious Brussels sprout that your mom will NOT make you wait six hours at the table to eat.
Perhaps the most classic fall crop of all, in my humble opinion, would be cabbage. I had an Epic amazing harvest of cabbage, which I’ll put up on the screen, that I actually used as my profile photo for a long time because I was so proud of it.
Like cabbage. It is a super heavy feeder, I would say, maybe even a little bit more than broccoli, cauliflower, et cetera, because remember it’s really just a massive leaf structure that ends up falling up as it starts to mature.
So it really likes that. You’re going to have to watch out for your cabbage moths, cabbage loopers. A tip that really helps me in my climate is I actually grow my cabbage under a floating row cover for about the first month or so to let it get off to a great start with no pest damage or pest pressure at all.
And then I find it’s much healthier and much more able to fight off any cabbage worms or cabbage loopers that I might encounter. So that’s one tip for you. Another thing is, at least in the warmer zones, you can harvest off that initial big ball head of cabbage and then let it keep growing and you’ll get smaller tennis ball-sized heads that just squeezes a little bit of extra yield out.
Now of course you could swap that out with something else, but I find that if you’re just going to let it go into the winter anyways, you might as well get a little bit of extra yield. Crop number six, which is one of my favorites of all time, probably because I’m half Asian and I just love growing mixed Asian greens, would be bok choy.
Now bok choy, you’ve got your bok choy and then you have your Chinese cabbage, Napa cabbage. It kind of encapsulates all of those and can be used interchangeably. It grows well in fall, which is why it’s in this list.
But I find it to be a little bit more hardy than some of the other ones I’ve mentioned. Like I’m not growing kale in the summer here or broccoli or cauliflower, but I’ve actually gotten away with bok choy provided I gave it a little bit of shade.
I think that’s because it just has a thicker main stem that seems to be a little more rigid and can hold up to heat stress. And so if you’re like me and you still are kind of almost waiting for fall, then I would say bok choy is fantastic.
And you can harvest it at a baby stage or you can even buy cultivars that only grow to a certain height, like a dwarf or a baby bok choy, which I find to be absolutely amazing. Fall crop seven is one that, I will confess, I also didn’t like until I went to New Zealand on a backpacking trip and I had this crop mashed up with some parsnips and some carrots.
So if you didn’t already guess, it is the humble turnip. So if we dice all three of those up and sort of mash them up like a potato substitute and put some butter in them, they taste super, super good.
But as far as growing them, I put them more or less in the same level of ease and strategy as the radish. They grow in a similar fashion, but turnips can typically grow a little bit longer. Sometimes they require a little bit more spacing.
I mean, you can really cram most radish varieties in at about 16 per square foot. Turnips you could, but some of those varieties get pretty big, like a purple globe top turnip. You know, you don’t want to be cramming those in super, super densely.
And honestly, eat the bulb or you can eat it as a green. If you’re gonna eat it as a green what I would say is onions, garlic, and a little bit of oil of some kind, maybe an avocado oil. Saute that all up.
Maybe add some mushrooms or something. Super, super tasty. But again, it’s a turnip guys, it’s not too hard to grow. I will do full grow guides on all of these fall crops as fall comes for me, but let’s move on to the next one.
Our next fall crop, and I promise we are out of the world of brassicas, are beets. Now, I guess every fall crop I used to hate, and now I love or find tolerable in some way. And that would be the same with beets.
You know, I find that the beet root actually isn’t my favorite part of beets. I like the beet tops. They’re currently my favorite salad or saute style green. They still have a little bit of that beet flavor, but something about them just feels very nutrient dense, I guess, is the best way to put the flavor on them.
But again beets, if you’re in a warmer zone you can succession sow them maybe every three weeks or so. Lot, a lot, a lot of varieties. Detroit dark red, bull’s blood, some of the classic beet lookin’ beets, if you will.
But you can get white beets and you can even get golden, beautiful yellow beets, like the badger flame beet. So a lot of variety here. And then just again, a crop that’s not too difficult to grow.
It might need a little more phosphorus than other plants as most root vegetables do. But again most of our soils, provided you’ve prepared it correctly, aren’t really lacking in phosphorus. So again, a really easy plant to grow and don’t neglect those tops, they are really tasty.
Next up on the list are carrots. Carrots again, the color variety is insane. You can get purple, yellow, red, orange, maybe even a little bit of a pink. You can get purple with yellow on the inside. Look up purple Gniff carrots, G N I F F carrots.
Those are an amazing, amazing variety that I’ve had a lot of success with. But carrots, really the key on carrots is you want to grow in a sandy but nutrient rich soil. So it doesn’t want to have a lot of clay, not a lot of rocks because we want that beautiful taproot to just be going straight down and not forking out all over the place.
Now that’s really the key to carrots. But if you want a germination tip, because I find most people myself included, sometimes will struggle in that germination phase – is sow your carrots in a bit of a furrow.
So make a little indentation in the surface of the soil. Carrots are very delicate seeds. So you want to just sprinkle them down the furrow, let them all germinate and then thin them out from there to about two to three inches apart or so.
Depends on the overall size of that carrot. Now another thing I’ll say there is, cover it up. If you’re having trouble with the soil drying out, cover it up with a little burlap or a little extra top coat of mulch, just to make sure that it does not lose moisture.
Because after that carrot seed germinates, as soon as it dries out, boom, it’s done and you will not have a carrot of course, because the seed is dead. So those are just a few little tips on carrots.
Again, once you master the soil and the germination, they really do seem to grow themselves and do not forget about carrot tops. You can make an amazing pesto out of those. Your next fall option is going to be the pea.
Now pea is a classic spring crop, but you can also squeeze out a crop in fall. And if you’re in a warmer zone, you can actually grow them fall, winter and spring. And they only really start to suffer as you get into summer.
But I’m standing under this beautiful, beautiful arbor that is probably going to remain where it is here at the Epic Homestead. I’m very excited to get some fall peas going up. And the reason why I have this here is because again, peas are a climbing crop.
They’ve got tendrils, so they’ll attach themselves, but you need to provide them with something to attach themselves to. So this is a very extra extreme version called the Gracie Modern Arbor.
But you can create very simple bamboo trellises that are extremely, extremely cheap, which I’ll be coming out with a video on very, very soon. So peas again, this deserves its entire full video because there are so many different varieties of peas.
If you really are cramped for space you can try a bush pea or just look for one that the seed packet says dwarf. If you’re really looking for a stunner, I recommend Desiree Dwarf Blauwschokker peas.
I have a lot, a lot, a lot of success with those here in Southern California. And I suspect if I can do them here, you can do them pretty much wherever you live. One more quick tip on peas is as they get ready to pick, as they’re ripe and ready, pick them.
So you’re gonna want to go out daily and just pick, pick, pick, pick, pick. Plant a lot of pea plants so you’ll get a good amount of harvest every single day because that’s going to spur the plant to create even more pea pods so you get bigger, bigger yield.
All of these fall crops are super fun to grow – nutritious, delicious, and require a decent amount of water. So if you’re not getting rain in your area consistently, you do have to make sure that you’re giving them an ample amount of water.
And they will all benefit from a healthy dose of compost early on in their life, especially those brassicas that we covered earlier on. So again fall, not a time to stop gardening. In fact, a time to experiment until the season forces you to stop in the winter.
Or if you’re in a warmer zone, again, just keep on growing and experimenting because the more things you try, the better you get at gardening, and then the more Epic your garden becomes. So if you Like this video, you can subscribe right here and you can check out some other awesome tips over here.
But until next time, good luck in the garden and keep on growing.