Fall officially begins on September 22 this year. Historically, the autumn season is synonymous with pumpkins. They dominate harvest images and are an essential part of both Halloween and Thanksgiving. But Americans apparently don’t want to grow pumpkins this fall. What are they growing instead?
Gardening experts at All About Gardening analyzed Google Trends data to establish the fall crop with the highest search volume for the search term ‘How To Grow’ in each American state in the past five years.
This research revealed the crop each American state wants to learn how to grow, and surprisingly, garlic was the most popular.
The analysis revealed that garlic had the highest number of states searching for it the most out of any fall crop. Twelve states, including Delaware, Wyoming, New York, and Hawaii had the most searches for “how to grow garlic.”
Organic vegetable specialist Logan Haily AllAboutGardening.com commented on the best environment to grow garlic. “Garlic is a true lover of cold weather. Most varieties actually need a prolonged period of chilly temps (called vernalization) to develop hefty, easy-to-cut bulbs. Northern growers should opt for hardneck varieties that can chill under the frost and snow of winter. Southern growers should opt for softneck varieties that don’t need the cold treatment of vernalization. Alternatively, you can pre-chill your seed garlic in the refrigerator.”
Broccoli is the second most popular fall crop, with eight states searching for how to grow them more than any other vegetable, including Michigan, California, Georgia, and West Virginia.
Logan says that if you want to grow broccoli, “The seeds require 85 to 100 days to mature into full heads. You can extend the harvest after cutting the initial head by harvesting side shoots throughout late autumn.”
A total of seven states searched for how to grow onions the most out of any fall crop – the third highest number of states in the research. States with residents searching for how to grow onions the most include Oklahoma, Indiana, Texas, and Alabama.
When considering how to grow onions and scallions, Logan has some expert tips. “Whether you prefer green onions or full-sized bulbs, these pungent alliums readily tolerate the cold. Onions are fairly hardy and can withstand temperatures down to about 20°F. You can use row cover or deep mulches to encourage them to go dormant over the winter and re-sprout in the spring.”
Lettuce was the most searched for crop in six states – Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia, making it the fourth most popular fall crop.
To best grow lettuce, Logan advises, “Lettuce seeds can germinate in soils as cold as 40°F and do not do well in hot soil temps above 75°F. Therefore, in most climates, September and October are the ideal times to start getting fall lettuce off to a great start. Then, you can “cut and come again” if you leave the center growing tip intact.”
Carrots were the fall crop with the most searches for how to grow them in Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Washington, and North Dakota.
To achieve flavorful carrots, Logan advises, “Most people don’t realize that carrots get their characteristic sweetness from cold weather… If you want to enjoy the most deliciously candy-like carrots, plant them in the fall and harvest them throughout the winter! Carrots prefer to be out of the heat and thrive in the cold. As one of the most versatile garden veggies, you can grow carrots in zones 2 through 11. When planted in October through November, they can establish during the cooler weather when there is typically plenty of rain to keep them evenly moist.”
Radishes, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, and Collard Greens
Four crops tied for sixth, with two states each interested in information on cultivating – radishes, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and collard greens.
The states that wanted to learn how to grow radishes more than any other fall crop were Idaho and Kansas.
A quick tip Logan has for anyone wanting to learn how to radishes: “Radishes aren’t particularly frost-hardy, but they grow fast, making them perfect for sneaking into the empty spaces of your fall garden. These red roots also come in purple, white, pink, yellow, and black. Northern growers may prefer to harvest autumn radishes before hard frosts, remove the greens, and store them in the refrigerator for winter use. Southern growers can hold them in the garden and pull as needed (just don’t let them get too oversized!).”
The states of Arizona and Connecticut searched for how to grow cauliflower more than any other fall crop.
Logan points out that, “Cauliflower prefers to grow at a mild 50 to 60°F and complete 60-70% of its vegetative growth before the cold sets in. Then, you can use a cold frame to protect cauliflower that you plant later.”
Brussel sprouts were the most searched product to learn how to grow in Missouri and Ohio.
The secret to perfectly grown sprouts, Logan reveals, is to space them out. “You can plant brussels sprouts in the first cool days of fall in an area with plenty of space and direct sunlight. Then, prepare seedlings indoors in late summer or direct seed into the garden about four months before the expected first frost. Each plant prefers at least 18-24” of space and plenty of fertilizer to fuel their growth.”
The states of Massachusetts and Minnesota searched for how to grow collard greens more than any other crop.
Logan advises the following for anyone looking to grow collard greens: “They have the same amount of nutrition as their ‘superfood' kale cousins, and they handle the cold like champs. You should start seedlings in June or July for fall harvests. Transplants can be set out from August to October in northern zones and reliably overwintered in mild regions.”
Four different vegetables were the most popular crop in just one state each: spinach, peas, beetroot, and cabbage.
Spinach was the most searched-for fall crop in Wisconsin.
Logan says spinach can actually be sweeter in the Autumn: “Autumn spinach has more sweetness and bolt-resistance than spring and summer greens. Plus, it can be harvested just 30 days from the time of seeding!”
Meanwhile, peas were also the top searched fall crop to learn how to grow in Arkansas.
To ensure you get the best type of peas, Logan suggests planning ahead: “Whether you prefer sugar snap, snow peas, or shelling peas, these legumes love chilly weather. Once they’re rooted in place, they can handle temperatures slightly below freezing. However, they prefer the 45 to 65°F range for optimal growth. You should plant peas 8-10 weeks before your first frost so they have time to flower and start “podding” up. The time frame is typically between August and October. Light frosts and snows won’t damage the peas, but heavy freezes will.”
Beetroot was the most searched for produce to grow in the state of Utah.
Logan warns not to let beets freeze: “You can seed beets (or even transplant them) throughout the fall until about ten weeks before your first heavy freeze. If the ground freezes too hard, you may risk the roots splitting or rotting. However, light frosts are just fine and even yield sweeter roots.”
Last on our list is cabbage, most popular in South Carolina.
Logan adds, “While some fall cabbages need to be established in late summer, you can still get away with transplanting cabbage seedlings as late as September in most growing zones. This will give them ample time to develop robust leaves and root systems that will fuel the growth of the central head as the trees change color around them.”
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Robyn is a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. She has her MBA and has been studying Personal Finance on her own for as long as she can remember.
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