Summer has come to a close and I find myself mourning the end of a beautiful summer harvest of tomatoes, peaches, peppers and strawberries (just to name a few of my favorites). In many locations if you plant now, you can get in a nice harvest before the colder weather comes.


The hardest part of gardening for me was the process of choosing what to grow. Start by analyzing your grocery bill. Notice that you buy a package of chives for $2.99 each week? Buy a package of chive seeds for the same price and grow your own with an unlimited supply. I found I was spending more money than I should on organic bell peppers, so I decided to grow them myself. It also helps to use a site like this one to see what is best to grow in your area for the fall.


Why not allow each member of the family pick one vegetable, fruit or herb. This will help ensure they feel invested in the care and success of the garden.  Each person is responsible to tend and harvest whatever variety they choose.

In addition to the money saving benefit, gardening can also be a great lesson for children in horticulture (I admit this can also be a learning opportunity for adults, knowing the male and female flowers on a squash plant is more difficult that you would guess). Take time to learn about photosynthesis, germination and how much fun it can be to grow your own produce (links to lesson plans here).


Do not be discouraged if you do not have an outdoor area for a garden, you can easily plant outdoors in containers, or use decorative pots with plants indoors. Some vegetables that are good candidates for indoor growing (they do not get too big): peppers, carrots, salad greens, onions, tomatoes, and beans.


Here are some helpful links to get you started on building a garden:

Plant a compact vegetable garden
Plant a large raised garden
Seasonal guide by zip code about what to plant now
Gardening suggestions for fall by zone


Have you planted a successful fall garden? Share your photos, tips and what you are growing in the comments.