Zone 8 Fall Planting Guide: September-December - Wilco Farm Stores (2024)

Zone 8 Fall Planting Guide: September-December - Wilco Farm Stores (1)

After the warm summer months, the fall’s cooler air and soil are optimal for many plants. Before the ground freezes in winter, add these seasonal plants to your garden. Our seasonal planting guide can help you determine what to plant in your zone 8 fall garden.

What Is Hardiness Zone 8?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) identified 13 plant hardiness zones across the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Hardiness zones help gardeners determine which plants to sow throughout the year in their region.

Hardiness zones were developed based on the average low winter temperature and are divided by 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Zone 8 is divided into two subgroups: Zone 8a and zone 8b.

  • Zone 8a: Lowest average temperatures are 10-15º F
  • Zone 8b: Lowest average temperatures are 15-20º F

Zone 8 has one of the warmest growing conditions in the country and continent. Warm summers and mild winters provide gardeners with a long growing season. In this zone, the coldest annual temperatures are 10-20º F.

Most of Western Oregon is in zone 8, excluding the coast. Western Washington state is also in zone 8, excluding higher elevations and some coastal areas. A big part of the southern U.S., from Texas to North Carolina, is considered zone 8.

Zone 8 Fall Planting Schedule

Zone 8 Fall Planting Guide: September-December - Wilco Farm Stores (2)

Zone 8’s long growing window with the last frost date as late as April 1st and a first frost date as late as December 1st. Use frost dates to determine your planting schedule. In this environment, you can grow many vegetable varieties late into the season with crop protection or get a head start by starting seeds indoors.

Pro tip: Reduce the risk of plant disease by rotating vegetable plantings. Do not plant related vegetables in the same area year after year.

Vegetables to Plant in September

  • Arugula
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Onion sets
  • Peas
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Turnips

Vegetables to Plant in October

  • Arugula
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Collards
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Radish
  • Spinach

Vegetables to Plant in November

  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Spinach

Vegetables to Plant in December

  • Arugula
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Turnips

Benefits of Late-Season Gardening

Planting late in the year in zone 8 has many advantages over planting in the spring or summer. In the fall, pests are less common but not completely gone. Perennial weeds aren’t as much of a problem, either. During this cooler season, leafy greens, cabbage, and root vegetables can thrive. Best of all, gardeners west of the Cascades can experience a year-round growing season, including in the winter, with the right protection.

What You Need for Fall Planting in Zone 8

Setting up your fall garden is easy with the right tools and supplies, many of which you can find in-store or online at Wilco Farm Stores.

  • Hand pruners
  • Garden fork
  • Gardening gloves
  • Leaf blower
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Hand trowel
  • Leaf rake
  • Hand weeder
  • Leaf scoops
  • Mulcher
  • Extendable tree pruner
  • Hedge trimmer
  • Compost bin
  • Aerator
  • Tool sharpener
  • Soil pH testing

Spring-Flowering Bulbs

Zone 8 Fall Planting Guide: September-December - Wilco Farm Stores (3)

Fall-planted bulbs can add a burst of color to your spring garden. In zone 8, however, winter temperatures may be too warm for spring-blooming bulbs, which require a chill period of several weeks to bloom.

Some spring bloomers like hyacinth, daffodil, and tulip need a dormancy period of 10-14 weeks, which may not be possible in zone 8’s winter climate. Some gardeners will store bulbs in the refrigerator before planting them. If storing in the fridge, keep bulbs away from fruits that produce ethylene gas, which can damage bulbs.

Spring-flowering bulbs usually blossom from early to late spring or even early summer. In zone 8, they are typically planted from fall to winter, between October and December. Zone 8 bulbs should be planted when the soil temperatures fall below 60º F.

Popular zone 8 bulb varieties include:

  • Daylily
  • Canna lily
  • Crinum
  • Gladiolus
  • Tulips
    • Orange Emperor, White Emperor, Burgundy Lace, Rosy Wings, Monte Carlo
  • Daffodils
    • Mount Hood, Ice Follies, Cheerfulness, Salome, Sugarbush, Magnet
  • Hyacinths
    • Lady Derby, Blue Jacket, Jan Bos

Zone 8’s relatively warm winters are not cool enough for some of these bulbs’ dormancy period. If planted in zone 8, they may only survive for a single season before being replaced. These spring-flowering bulbs can naturalize in cooler zones over time, creating a wild and natural look.


Fall and early winter can be optimal times to plant flowers in zone 8 because of the milder winters. Ideally, plantings should be done several weeks before the season’s first freeze. Consider these perennials this fall:

  • Asters
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Dahlias
  • Coral Bells
  • Astilbe
  • Goldenrods
  • Pigsqueak

Lawn Care

Prep your lawn for the cooler months starting in September. Early and late fall are great times to fertilize your lawn with an organic, slow-release fertilizer. During September, aeration can be performed if you didn’t finish your project in the summer.

Cooler temperatures and rain can speed up your lawn’s growth. Stay on top of mowing throughout the season. You can even mow fallen leaves to allow them to decompose over your soil or rake them up and add them to your compost bin.

September is an excellent time to overseed bare patches or seed your new lawn with cool-season grasses, which need about a month before the first frost to become established. Plan to overseed cool-season grasses around early September.

Perennial weeds can be a problem during this time. Herbicides are the most effective solution to remove hardy perennial weeds like ground ivy and poison ivy. Pulling them by hand can work as long as you remove the entire plant and root to prevent regrowth.


If you love to add complex flavors to your cooking and live in zone 8, you can grow many herbs in the fall. Many herbs prefer the winter climate. Some may thrive in direct sunlight, while others may require partial shade.

  • Sage: Sage prefers rich and well-draining soil and full sun. Seeds can be planted 18-24 inches in soil temperatures between 50º and 77º F. In the fall, it can grow as a hardy perennial but be an annual in higher zones.
    • Lavender: Most lavender varieties can be planted in the fall, two months before the first frost in zone 8 and flower throughout the year. Lavender prefers well-drained soil. You may need to prune lightly in this zone, or it can become too woody.
      • English lavender varieties: Vera, Sachet, Jean Davis, Hidcote, Munstead, Miss Katherine
      • French lavender varieties: Goodwin Creek Gray, Alladari, Provence
      • Spanish lavender varieties: Purple Ribbon, Larkman Hazel, Kew Red
      • Wooly lavender
  • Rosemary: Rosemary can be planted in well-draining soil in an area that gets a lot of sun. It does not like temperatures below 30º F and prefers temperatures around 70º F. Rosemary can grow 4 feet tall and wide, so space them appropriately. Seeds can take 2-3 weeks to germinate.

Vegetable Garden

Zone 8 Fall Planting Guide: September-December - Wilco Farm Stores (4)

Cool-season vegetables can be planted in early fall through the zone’s mild winter. Fall vegetable gardening can include arugula, beets, broccoli, peas, radishes, and much more.


Beets prefer cooler weather and deep and well-drained sandy soil. The best soil temperature for planting beets is 50-85º F with a pH between 6.5 and 7. Beets require moist conditions to germinate. Plant seeds 1-2 inches apart and 3-6 inches deep and cover them with loose soil. They can be harvested 7-8 weeks after planting. Beet greens should be harvested when young.


Broccoli is a cool-season plant that can germinate in 4-7 days in soil temperatures as low as 40º F, but it prefers warmer soil. In the fall, plant seeds outdoors 85-100 days before the first fall frost. Sow them ½ inch deep and 18-24 inches apart. Recommended broccoli varieties for fall include the Flash and Calabrese varieties.


Cabbage prefers fertile soil and sun with partial shade. Cabbage seeds can be planted outdoors in early fall and germinate in 10-14 days. They prefer to be planted at soil temperatures between 41º F and 64º F. Seeds should be planted about ½ inch deep and 12-24 inches apart.


Carrots like being in a sunny area with 6-10 hours of sun daily and free-draining soil. Sow them about 2-3 weeks before the first frost. Seed germination occurs when soil temperatures are between 55 and 65º F. Seeds need at least 40º F and no more than 75º F to germinate.

Sow your seeds ¼ inch deep and 2-3 inches apart. Plant rows 2-3 feet apart. They can take 1-3 weeks to germinate.


Cauliflower is a cool-season vegetable that loves full sun exposure. Cauliflower seedlings can be easier to grow than starting them from seed. Plant them 6-8 weeks before the first frost date and after temperatures in the day are below 75º F.

Sow seeds 3-6 inches apart and plant them ½ inch deep. Seed rows should be 18-24 inches apart. Various stressors, such as temperature fluctuations and pests, can cause the head to bloom prematurely.


Kale loves cool temperatures and full sun/partial shade and can grow from fall through spring the following year. It takes about 3 months to fully mature from seed. Plant seeds ½ inch deep and space plants 1 ½ to 2 feet apart. Zone 8 varieties include Red Russian kale and Lacinato kale.

Onion Sets

Short-day bulb onions need 11-12 hour days and include Tough Ball, High Ball, Early Grano, and Texas Grano varieties. These should be planted starting in mid-November and as late as mid-January for a spring/summer harvest. Intermediate-day onions require 13-14 hours of daylight and include Sweet Winter and Willamette Sweet varieties.


These hardy root veggies can be planted in the spring and fall and be ready for harvest in just three weeks. Planting should be done when temperatures are below 70º F. Higher temperatures cause bolting where they flower prematurely.

Plant radishes in a sunny area that gets at least 6 hours of sun per day. Too much shade can cause too much leaf growth. Sow seeds 4-6 weeks before the first fall frost. Sow them about ½ inch deep and about 1 inch apart. Space rows 12 inches apart.

Thinning radish leaves is an integral step in successfully growing radishes and can be performed once they are 2 inches tall. Seedlings that are too crowded won’t develop properly. Cut the greens at the soil line and use them in a salad.

Garlic Cloves

In zone 8, garlic can be planted in November or December after chilling for about 8 weeks. Break apart the cloves while leaving the outer skin intact, and soak them for a couple of hours before planting.

They love well-drained and rich soil. Plant them 2 inches deep and space rows about 18-24 inches apart and seeds 4-6 inches apart. Some mulch cover such as straw can help. Winter garlic growth can slow down and speed back up in spring.

Snail and Slug Control

Zone 8 Fall Planting Guide: September-December - Wilco Farm Stores (5)

Regularly check your fall garden for signs of pests that can thrive in cooler temperatures, although pests are not as active during this time.

During this wet and cool season, you may see an increase in slugs and snails, which can feed on tender plants. Slugs can lay eggs right after the rain starts in late September and early October. Reducing their numbers before their eggs hatch can keep your fall-to-winter vegetable garden healthy. Look for slug slime and poop traces, which look like a green or brown pellet.

Since they prefer to feed in the early morning or evening, you can remove the slugs during these times. You may need a flashlight to identify them in low-light conditions. Sluggo is an organic snail and slug pesticide that is safe to use around pets.

Get Ready for Fall Planting with Wilco Farm Stores

Ready to start planting your favorite vegetables and herbs this season? Enjoy the crisp fall air and cool soil temperatures, and start planting your dream fall and winter garden. Wilco Farm Stores have a wide range of fall gardening tools and supplies. Shop online or in-store today!

Zone 8 Fall Planting Guide: September-December - Wilco Farm Stores (2024)
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