Planning your fall garden: What vegetables grow well in the fall?
I always start to feel a little bit sad by midsummer, knowing that my gardening season is quickly coming to an end. But the end of tomato season can be just the beginning for other veggies.
Even in climates with long winters, it’s possible to grow a thriving fall vegetable garden beyond your first frost date. In fact, some veggies need a little bit of frost!
Obviously one of the primary considerations for a fall garden is temperature. Some plants, like peppers and tomatoes, will immediately be damaged by temperatures below 50 degrees F.
However, other vegetables thrive in cooler weather and even need frost to develop flavor or fruit. When planning your fall garden make sure to understand your local climate and the high and low temperatures that you can expect during fall months and choose veggies accordingly.
Because sunlight hours are also shorter in the fall, you might want to look for varieties of vegetables that require partial shade to full shade.
Vegetables that are quick-to-mature
Timeline is another big consideration when it comes to planning your fall garden and choosing the correct varieties.
Plants like radishes can be ready to eat in only 25 days, making them a great late-season option, while others, like tomatoes, take 100 days or more to mature.
Here are a few other fast-maturing vegetables that are perfect for your fall garden:
- Salad greens: as little as 20-25 days
- Bush beans: 60 days
- Carrots: six weeks
- Peas: 60 days
- Spinach: as little as 40 days
Get a jumpstart by starting them indoors
If you have a short fall season, you can get a jump on some of your veggies by starting your seeds indoors ahead of time. This is a good idea for things like kale, which can survive colder weather but take up to 75 days to mature.
Other colder weather vegetables, especially root vegetables, should never be started indoors and transplanted.
Veggies that you can overwinter
There are some vegetables that need to be overwintered, and others that you can overwinter if you want to (but don’t require it). Garlic, for example, is typically planted in October or November, left over winter, and harvested in the following summer.
Depending on your gardening zone, the length of your winter, and the low temperatures, you can sometimes overwinter other veggies like kale, parsnips, spinach, arugula, leeks, and green onions.
20 vegetables to try for your fall garden
- Brassica family vegetables — broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choi, cabbage, cauliflower, kale
- Peas, like snow peas or snap peas
- Bush beans
- Green onions
The end of summer doesn’t have to mean the end of your gardening season. Fall is a great time to plan a wide variety of different vegetables. Make sure you take local temperatures and growing times into account, and pick plants that thrive in cooler weather.