For many of you, vegetable gardening is coming to an end. My beans are almost done, tomatoes are long gone (thanks to my squirrels) and lettuce bolted long ago. Fall Gardens often look bare, but there are plenty of vegetables that will actually produce if planted in late summer.
There are still a few flowers that we can plant in fall gardens. Both annuals and perennials have a few varieties that love the cold weather.
Plant Now to Harvest in Fall Gardens
As far as vegetables go, gardeners should not despair. Now is the perfect time for many to plant for a fall harvest. Just clean out the old vegetable vines, till up your soil a bit and amend with some fresh compost. Then you can plant a variety of seeds in mid summer for a wonderful harvest at the very end of the summer and even in to the fall.
What to plant and when depends very much on where you live and when the first frost is expected for your area, but for my zone 7b garden, I can plant a huge variety, many of which will keep me going even in November. The Farmer’s Almanac has a page that you can use to determine your first frost in the fall. Enter your area and check the date of the first frost. From there, just look at the seed packets to find out the days to harvest and then plant those which will fit into the time frame you have left until the frost.
Vegetables that you plant in the fall can often also be planted in early spring. See my list of the best cold hardy vegetables and when to plant them for best harvests.
Vegetables that like the Cold
Planting cold weather loving vegetables is just one of the items of things to do on my fall gardening checklist. There are lots of others, too.
Here are some vegetables that should work well for most zones. They like the cold and some don’t even mind the frost. If you plant them now, you’ll be enjoying fresh garden veggies in a few months, even when the temperatures are much colder.
Radishes and spinach
These veggies can take as little as one month (or less in the case of radishes) to mature. They will also survive a light frost, so they are a great choice for fall.
Coming in second place are lettuce, Swiss Chard, Kale and collage greens. They take about 40 days, so there is still time to plant these in most zones. Kale and collard green will keep going even after the colder weather, so these are a sure bet. I discovered the taste of Swiss Chard for the first time last year and it’s one of my very favorites now.
Beets and Cabbage
Beets and cabbage take two months to harvest but the will take temps down to the 20 degrees F which makes them perfect for fall gardens.
You won’t get a crop this season by planting now, but garlic is best planted in the fall. It loves the cold and you will be very glad you planted it now when next summer rolls around and it matures!
Broccoli doesn’t mind the cold at all and seems to really thrive in the fall especially in warmer temperature zones. Get another batch of it by planting it now.
I used to hate these as a child, but love them now. Brussels Sprouts take about three months until harvest but is very hardy down into the 20 degrees F. (mine went right through the winter last year and did not die.) This photo makes me jealous every time I look at it. These are from my sister’s garden in Maine. I can not for the life of me get them to grow here in NC, no matter when I plant them but your experience my be better!
I use this veggie all the time to make recipes like cauliflower rice. The plant takes 40 – 60 days to mature but will also survive a light frost so it the perfect choice for fall gardens.
Easy to grow green onions take 60 – 70 days and will survive into the high 20 degrees F so they are perfect for fall gardens. I had a patch of them in my garden here in NC that grew for four YEARS before I finally dug them up. They went right through the winter just fine~
And finally, my favorite vegetable to plant for fall gardens is Peas. They take 70 to 80 days to mature and survive into the high 20s. We get them for sale at the farmer’s market here in NC in April and October.
What are you planning to plant this year for your fall gardens? Please leave your comments below.