19 Fall Garden Ideas, Projects, and Tips to Extend Your Harvest

CC BY 3.0. Alison Christine

The end of summer doesn't have to mean the end of gardening for the year. Extend your harvest with these projects, tips, and ideas for your fall garden.

For many novice gardeners, the coming of cooler weather is often a sign to turn their attention away from the yard and garden, as it's usually too late to start growing any more of the classic summer garden vegetables, but fall gardens can also be productive, whether you're growing vegetables, greens, or flowers. Fall is also an excellent time to prep your garden for springtime and set up the conditions to build healthy soil over the winter, which will pay off in spades in the spring, or to build greenhouses, cold frames, compost bins, or raised garden beds.

19 Fall garden ideas, tips, and projects

It's Not Too Late to Plant a Fall Garden! What to Plant in Your Region Now: If you've been thinking that it's too late to put in a garden, rest assured there's still time to grow plenty of fresh food before the gardening season ends.Grow a 1% Fall Container Garden on a 99% Gardener Budget: While you and I may not be able to afford to have landscape architects and a landscaping crew on retainer, there’s no reason gardeners in the 99% can’t plant spectacular fall container gardens.5 fall projects for the lazivore gardener: The fall is, in many ways, the perfect time to roll your sleeves up and get some actual work done. Here are some projects to get you started—and don't worry, you're unlikely to break a sweat doing any of them.How to grow and harvest "cut and come again" lettuce, for perpetual salad greens: If you're an impatient gardener, or want to extend your salad harvesting season, you might consider planting a bed or two with leaf lettuce that can be cut over and over again.4 DIY Compost Bins You Can Build in One Day (VIDEO): Depending on the type of compost bin you choose, you can build a compost bin in a matter of minutes - for little money - and be on your way to reducing the waste you send to the landfill.How to Use a Raised Garden Bed as a Compost Bin: Instead of building a compost heap and then carting the finished product over to your garden beds, why not compost in your garden beds themselves?3 Things You Can Plant in Your Garden this Fall: Summer is officially over but fall is as good a time as any to start a garden. Take advantage of the cooler weather to get into the garden and get your hands dirty.How to build unheated greenhouses for winter harvests & year-round gardening (Video): For those of us living in more northerly, cold climes, small-scale food production can vary widely to adapt to shorter growing seasons and to boost production, whether it means using hoop houses, low tunnels, coldframes, or even underground greenhouses.Nice shades: 7 Fast growing shade trees to slash your electric bill: Because most of us are very impatient, one of the most common requirements that people have in choosing varieties of shade trees is that they be fast growing.Spring Blooming Bulbs You Should Plant this Fall: Garden bulbs that bloom in the spring are usually planted in the fall. Summer may seem like an odd time to start thinking about spring bulbs, but it’s actually a great time to start planning for next spring.Plant these 6 perennial vegetables once, and reap their harvest year after year: By dedicating a garden bed or two to perennial vegetables, especially in a polyculture with other perennials, you can pack a lot of food production into a small area.Build a $300 underground greenhouse for year-round gardening (Video): A much more affordable and effective alternative to glass greenhouses is the walipini (an Aymara Indian word for a "place of warmth"), also known as an underground or pit greenhouse.3 Easy DIY Greenhouses for Under $300: If you want to grow indoors and realize you don’t have enough windows space, or don’t want to raise your electrical bill by installing grow lights, building a greenhouse from recycled and salvaged items might be the solution you need.How to build a self-watering raised garden bed from scavenged materials: One effective method of gardening in a spot with subpar soil is to build a raised bed, and as these videos show, they can also be built from scraps, and in a way that allows the garden beds to water themselves.How to Build Irrigation-Free Raised Beds with Hugelkultur: Hugelkultur at its simplest is a process of piling up logs, brush and other carbon-dense biomass, and then building up raised bed gardens over the top of those piles using top soil and compost.6 Steps for Planning Next Year's Garden: When it comes to growing a productive, attractive garden, planning is essential. It helps you with everything from figuring out which seeds to order to deciding if you can really afford the space that growing 15 varieties of heirloom tomatoes would require.5 Creative IKEA Hacks for the Garden: A look at using discarded IKEA furniture to upcycle the pieces into something useful in the garden.DIY Leaf Mold to Improve Your Garden's Soil: Instead of raking leaves and setting them on the curb to be picked up and added to a landfill, turn them into leaf mold. The dark, crumbly finished product is a great soil amendment and conditioner.5 Ways to DIY Gorgeous Fall Harvest Decor: The vibrant red leaves, deep pumpkin oranges, layered chocolate-brown branches, and crisp green apples of fall make decorating your home (inside and out) an exercise in creativity, reuse, and natural elements.Whether you're trying to extend your growing season, build soil health, put in some garden structures, plan for the spring, or decorate your home and yard, fall is a great time to be in the garden.