A fall vegetable garden can produce a bounty of vegetables that will please any farmer-to-table grower if you have the right knowledge and planning. You can expect a bounty of late-season produce, depending on where you live and when the frost date is. Some plants may even yield vegetables in as little time as 21 days.
Fall Flowers to Plant in Autumn
How to plant a fall vegetable garden
Growing cold-season crops has many benefits. It is a great way of extending the life of your garden. Also, the cooler temperatures can bring out their best, making these vegetables extremely sweet and delicious.
There are more benefits Gardeners won’t have to water as often during fall because there are fewer days that are cooler. Fall’s cooler temperatures also make it less attractive to diseases and pests.
Bolting is a problem gardeners may encounter when planting fall vegetables. Bolting occurs when temperatures rise, which causes the plant to stop maturing, and instead produce flowers and seeds. Bolting is most common in leafy vegetables, but it can also happen to root vegetables. This makes the edible parts bitter and unpalatable.
Calculate the frost date for your area and subtract the harvest days. This will help you determine which vegetables you can grow. Add two weeks to account slow-growing times due to shorter days.
Fall Vegetables to Plant
These fast-growing plants for fall gardening will help you get vegetables in a hurry if time is tight.
- Mustard: This leafy green is best suited for full sun and moist soil (not too saturated). It can be harvested in as little 21 days.
- Spinach: This prolific and hardy plant thrives in cooler climates, making it a great fall garden choice. You should aim for two months before the first frost. Full or partial sun is best. Water regularly.
- Turnips: These cool-weather, quick-growing vegetables can be harvested within 60 to 90 days of germination. They require full sun and regular watering.
- Radishes are ready in three weeks. They prefer sunny areas and moist soil.
- Beets can be eaten whole (the roots and the leaves are edible), they are extremely hardy and can withstand repeated light frosts. They are ready to harvest in less than two months. You can grow beets in Zones 9-10. You should plant in full sun. Water regularly.
- Swiss chard: This fall vegetable is ready about 60 days after it was planted. It likes lots and sun, but can also tolerate light shade or frost. Regular watering is required.
- Lettuce is a satisfyingly hardy and quick-growing vegetable. It thrives in full sunlight and needs consistent watering. You should plant six to eight weeks before your first frost.
Slower-growing Fall Vegetables
These fall vegetables take a little longer, but they are worth it.
- Arugula: The plant will be ready for fall six to eight weeks after it has been sown. You should get six hours of sunlight each day and water regularly.
- Broccoli: You should plan to harvest your crop at least 100 days prior to the first frost. This nutrient-rich vegetable likes full sun, moist soil and prefers full sunlight.
- Brussels sprouts: They are slow-growing and prefer full sun. They need four months to reach their peak. If you want to harvest a fall harvest, plan ahead.
- Cabbage: This hearty vegetable can be planted in the middle to late summer. It takes approximately 70 days for it to mature. Cabbage likes full sun and constant watering.
- Carrots are easy to grow and frost-tolerant. Carrots can take up four months to mature. Make sure to get plenty of sun and water.
- Cauliflower: This slow-growing, fall vegetable needs to be well-drained and sun-drenched for at least six hours. It should be planted six to eight weeks before it gets its first frost.
- Collards: This cold-loving perennial can be grown in winter depending on where you live. It is often found at Southern tables in Zone 8 or higher. The rest of the country should plant collards 6-8 weeks before the first frost. Give it full sunlight for at least 5 hours per day and water frequently.
- Leeks: To reach maturity, these members of the onion family require at least three months. Some may need four to five months. Ideal conditions are moist soil and six hours of sunlight.
- Kale: Kale should be planted six to eight weeks before the first freeze. However, kale, just like collards can still be grown in warmer climates well into winter. Kale requires full sun and frequent watering, but can tolerate shade.
- Kohlrabi: This cold-loving, sun-loving plant needs full sun and regular watering. If sown 6-8 weeks before the first frost, it will produce a healthy harvest in fall.
- Rutabaga: To reach maturity, this root vegetable requires ten to twelve more weeks. Plan on full sun and well-drained soil.