Sunflowers reepresent fall to me. Of course ,the vibrant, beautiful colors of mum deep as do the burgundy and rust and bronze blooms from fall garden flowers as they make their appearance. I took this picture at a flower market in the Marina District on my first trip with my husband when we were just starting to date. It was September and the color of these sunflowers made me smile. They have reminded me of the fall ever since. This particular bloom had all of the fall colors blended into each petal.

As a gardener, fall is a time for reflection. Noting the successes and challenges of the growing season. I go back through my plantings to make notes about what worked well and what I’d like to improve next year.

Especially for me this year. I have not mentioned, but i had some surgery in the Spring and the recovery was quick but I have been less that perfect in maintaining my gardens this summer.

To be better next year, I am going to plan ahead for my next summers garden, including selecting new plants, designing layouts, and ordering seeds.

Planting a fall garden in Zone 4 can be a rewarding endeavor, as the cooler temperatures provide optimal conditions for certain crops to thrive. While the growing season is shorter compared to warmer zones, there are still several vegetables, herbs, and flowers that can be successfully planted in a Zone 4 fall garden. Here’s a list of plants you can consider for your fall garden:

1. Leafy Greens:

  • Lettuce: Varieties like butterhead, romaine, and leaf lettuce can be planted in late summer for a fall harvest. Consider using row covers or cold frames to extend the growing season.
  • Spinach: Spinach is a cold-hardy green that can withstand frost. Plant it in late summer for a continuous harvest into the fall.

2. Cruciferous Vegetables:

  • Broccoli: Start broccoli seeds indoors in early summer and transplant the seedlings outdoors in late summer. They thrive in cooler temperatures and can produce heads before the frost arrives.
  • Cabbage: Cabbage varieties such as green, red, and savoy can be planted in mid-summer for a fall harvest.
  • Kale: Kale is incredibly cold-tolerant and actually becomes sweeter after exposure to frost. Plant it in mid-summer for a nutritious fall crop.

3. Root Vegetables:

  • Carrots: Carrots can be sown directly in the garden in mid-summer for a fall harvest. The cooler temperatures enhance their flavor and sweetness.
  • Beets: Plant beets in mid-summer for a late summer to fall harvest. Both the roots and the greens are edible.

4. Herbs:

  • Chives: Chives are hardy perennials that can be grown throughout the fall. Their onion-like flavor adds a delightful touch to various dishes.
  • Parsley: Plant parsley in late summer for a fall harvest. It’s a versatile herb that can be used in a variety of culinary creations.

5. Flowers:

  • Pansies: Pansies are cold-tolerant and can add a pop of color to your fall garden. Plant them in early fall for blooms that can last well into winter.
  • Mums (Chrysanthemums): Mums are classic fall flowers available in a range of colors. Plant them in early fall for vibrant blooms that can withstand cooler temperatures.

6. Garlic:

  • Garlic: Fall is the perfect time to plant garlic cloves. They will establish roots before winter and produce a harvest the following summer.

7. Onions:

  • Onions: Certain onion varieties can be planted in late summer or early fall. They’ll establish strong root systems before winter and resume growth in spring.

8. Peas:

  • Peas: Some pea varieties, known as “fall peas” or “winter peas,” can be planted in late summer for a fall harvest. These peas are hardy and can withstand cooler temperatures.

9. Radishes:

  • Radishes: Radishes have a relatively short growing season, making them ideal for fall planting. They mature quickly and can be harvested before the first hard frost.