The Origins of Fall

Fall is a prime season for planting and harvesting rich and rustic vegetables. With the holiday season in sight, a fresh fall garden harvest makes for the perfect assistant to your favorite holiday meals. From root veggies like the beet and turnip to the summer squash and its famous orange cousin, the pumpkin, there is a cornucopia of plants you can grow during the fall gardening season.

So we get it, Fall is actually a great time of the year to grow a garden. We know the answers to practical questions like what, where, and when to plant, but those are only the top layer of soil in our garden of questions. If we dig deeper into our agriculturally interested minds, we unearth more questions about the why’s and the how’s of fall season…

Why is Fall a great time to garden? Why do the leaves change color?

How did it become a season of harvest?  How did Fall get its name?

All the greats have a backstory. First, let’s start with Autumn.


A Brief History of Fall Autumn

Geoffrey Chaucer, author of The Canterbury Tales and renowned poet of the Middle Ages, first used the word Autumn in 1374. The word is derived from the Latin word Autumnus, meaning “to do good to; satisfy one’s self”. Chaucer was referencing the time of Harvest, a paramount window in agriculture to collect food for the following winter. A bountiful harvest ensured survival through the harsh winter and even led to people worshiping deities in hopes they would be shown good fortune. The word harvest itself has origins in the Old Norse word Haust, meaning “to gather or pluck”. Suffice it to say, the time of harvest became known as Autumn after its initial use in 1374.

cornucopia the origins of fall seasonal education

And as to why we in the good ole’ US of A call it Fall; the colonists in North America simply shortened the phrase “Fall of the leaf” and it had caught on by 1545. “Leaf” it to us to keep it simple!


A Celestial Heritage of The Fall Season

Seasons have their own personalities and it’s our passion as green thumbs to intimately
know each one as if they were a personal friend. Fall is our mature companion wearing its summer effects with pride as it prepares for Winter’s old age. We know Fall is around when daylight fades earlier, the temperature begins its descent, and green forfeits the stage to a variety of colors. Our friend is the finale’ of summer, the bright spectacle before the quiet hibernation, but where does the “talent” come from? How does this performance come to be year after year?

If the seasons are seen as unique siblings, then the father would undoubtedly be the sun. Earth’s position in relation to the sun at different times of the year creates solar events from which the seasons are born. Conception comes in two forms, either Solstices or Equinoxes.

fun facts equinox and solsticeSolstice is when the sun is at its northernmost or southernmost position in the sky, creating uneven days and aggressive climate change, thus creating our Summers and Winters.

Equinox is when day and night are relatively the same length of time across the globe. Obviously there will be outliers, but, generally speaking, it’s a time of balanced weather and equal opportunity for day and night. Spring and Fall are the results of this particular solar event.

Fall begins when the center of the sun crosses the Earth’s equator.

As daylight gives way to longer nights, the vegetation prepares accordingly. In response to the decrease in light, many trees’ leaves will stop producing chlorophyll, the green pigment that helps the trees capture sunlight to power photosynthesis. The green fades and allows subordinate pigments to shine through such as orange, yellow, and red!

Along with Fall and the changing of leaves, we will also see the foreshadowing of Winter through bouts of frost – which can ruin a garden. However, as long as you prepare accordingly, a little frost and winter doesn’t have to mean the end of your garden!


Knowledge is Power, use it to Grow

At we believe in gardening smarter. Gardening doesn’t begin with the soil in a garden bed, it doesn’t end with picking vegetables and it doesn’t thrive through sun and water alone. Being mindful of which season we are in, opens or closes doors to  different planting options!

Countless generations have grown through each season year after year and created the foundations on which we grow with now. Use that knowledge and keep your garden growing all year long! Garden Smarter!

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