Your Ultimate Guide to a Bountiful Autumn Harvest

Your Ultimate Guide to a Bountiful Autumn Harvest
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Your Ultimate Guide to a Bountiful Autumn Harvest

Autumn is a season of vibrant colors, cozy sweaters, and delicious, hearty meals. As the leaves change and the air grows crisp, our gardens can become a source of inspiration and sustenance for the festive months ahead. Whether you're looking to adorn your home with autumnal decor, prepare seasonal soups, or set a Thanksgiving table straight from your garden, planning starts in the summer. Here's your guide to sowing in the summer for a bountiful fall harvest.


Vegetables for Hearty Soups and Stews      

Pumpkins: No autumn garden is complete without this quintessential fall vegetable. Sow in late spring to early summer for a Halloween and Thanksgiving harvest. Varieties like 'Sugar Pie' are perfect for pies and soups.   

Butternut Squash: This sweet and nutty squash is a soup favorite. Plant in late spring and harvest in early autumn.  

Kale: This hardy green gets sweeter after a frost. Sow in mid-summer for a continuous fall harvest.  

Carrots: Sow in mid-summer for a crunchy, sweet fall harvest. They're perfect for soups, roasts, or even raw in salads.     

Fruits for Pies and Preserves      

Apples: While apple trees take years to bear fruit, if you have them, autumn is the time for pies, ciders, and jams. Varieties like 'Honeycrisp' and 'Granny Smith' are fall favorites. 

Pears: Another tree fruit, pears like 'Bartlett' or 'Bosc', can be harvested in early to mid-fall.

Cranberries: For those with boggy or wet areas, cranberries are a Thanksgiving must-have. Plant in spring and harvest in fall.  

Dried Flowers and Autumn Foliage for Fall Decor Flowers Perfect for Drying  

Statice: Known for its papery flowers in shades of purple, white, and pink, statice dries beautifully. Plant in spring and harvest in late summer for drying.

Lavender: This fragrant herb not only adds a calming scent but also looks beautiful when dried. Harvest just before the buds fully open in summer and let dry.

Globe Amaranth (Gomphrena): These globe-shaped blooms come in vibrant shades of pink, purple, and white. Harvest in late summer and hang upside down to dry.            

Strawflowers: Their name says it all! These flowers have a straw-like texture when dried and come in a range of colors. Harvest when fully bloomed and hang to dry.  

Flowers for Autumnal Decor      

Chrysanthemums (Mums): These vibrant flowers come in a range of autumnal colors. Plant in late spring and enjoy their blooms from late summer to frost.

Asters: These starry flowers are a pollinator favorite and bloom in rich purples and pinks. Sow in spring for fall blooms.

Ornamental Grasses: Add texture and movement to your garden with varieties like 'Feather Reed Grass' or 'Japanese Silver Grass'. Plant in spring and watch them sway all autumn long.  

Sunflowers: For a late summer to early fall bloom, sow sunflower seeds in late spring. Their golden hues are perfect for fall bouquets.  

Autumn Foliage for a Rustic Touch      

Oak Leaves: Their lobed leaves turn a rich bronze in autumn. Gather branches and let them dry for a classic fall look. Japanese Maple: Known for its fiery red and orange leaves in fall, these can be dried and used in arrangements or wreaths.

Ferns: While green in summer, many ferns turn a golden brown in fall. Harvest fronds and press them for framed botanical art.

Ornamental Grass Plumes: Many ornamental grasses produce seed heads or plumes in the fall. Harvest and let dry for a feathery addition to arrangements.  

Tips for Drying Flowers and Foliage

Harvesting: Always harvest flowers and foliage during a dry day, preferably in the morning after the dew has evaporated.

Air Drying: The simplest method. Bundle your flowers or foliage and hang them upside down in a dry, dark place for several weeks.

Pressing: For leaves and flatter flowers, place them between two sheets of parchment paper within the pages of a heavy book. Leave for a few weeks until fully dried.

Storing: Once dried, store in a cool, dry place. Dried flowers can be delicate, so handle with care.  

More Cool Season Veggies to Grow in Fall      

Brussels Sprouts: These mini cabbages are frost-tolerant and perfect for roasts. Plant in early summer for a late fall harvest.  

Beets: Sow in mid-summer for a rich, earthy fall harvest. They're perfect for roasting or pickling.  

Broccoli: For a late harvest, sow broccoli in early summer. The cool autumn weather produces sweet, tender florets.   

Tips for a Successful Fall Harvest 

Mind the Frost Dates: Know your area's first expected frost date. Some plants, like kale, improve in flavor after a frost, while others need to be harvested beforehand.

Mulch: As temperatures drop, mulch around your plants to retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.

Watering: Even as the weather cools, ensure your garden gets adequate water, especially in the dry late summer months.

Pest Control: Keep an eye out for pests that might want to feast on your fall harvest and take preventive measures.  

As you snuggle into your favorite chair for winter garden planning, dream of the rich hues and flavors of autumn. With a little planning and care, your garden can be a source of nourishment and beauty throughout the fall season. So, get those seeds in the ground or start them indoors, and look forward to a bountiful and delicious autumn harvest!