What To Plant for Fall Gardens

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.Summer is coming to an end but there are lots of vegetables that you can grow well in fall gardens

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.

There are lots of vegetables that you can still plant for a fall garden
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.Cold hardy vegetable

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. Radishes mature in as little as 20 days so they make a great fall vegetable

Swiss Chard

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.

Find out more about growing Swiss chard here.

Swiss Chard is a great vegetable to plant for fall

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.cabbage takes a few months to mature but can take very cold temperatures


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!
Plant garlic in the fall for next year's crop


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.

If you live in warmer zones, plant some broccoli now for fall

Brussels Sprouts

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!
Brussel sprouts are one of the hardiest of fall crops.


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.

Cauliflower is a great fall vegetable since it can take a light frost

Spring Onions

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~Spring onions are super easy to grow and don't mind the cold

Garden peas

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.

Garden peas are the perfect cool weather crop

What are you planning to plant this year for your fall gardens?  Please leave your comments below.Summer is coming to an end but there are many vegetables that you can plant now for fall harvests.

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  19 comments for “What To Plant for Fall Gardens

  1. Mary Coronado
    08/04/2014 at 3:04 pm

    This was helpful for me. No wonder my cauliflower didn’t do well at all. Thank you

    • admin
      08/04/2014 at 3:21 pm

      Hi Mary. Don’t worry…we’ve all done it. I planted Brussels sprouts in the summer once. Didn’t get any at all! Carol

  2. Madge Noble
    08/05/2014 at 9:17 pm

    Do you plant these by sowing seed or plants?

    • admin
      08/06/2014 at 12:34 am

      HI Madge. You can do either with most vegetables (but not all – beans, corn, and some other summer vegetables like to be seed sown.) If you plant seedlings, you will have a few weeks head start. The seeds talk longer to grow into the size of the seedling you might purchase but all can be sown. Carol

  3. 08/13/2014 at 2:46 pm

    This is great! Thanks!
    I have never actually grown garlic before, but I’ve always wanted to. Should it be grown by itself?

    • admin
      08/13/2014 at 3:14 pm

      Hi Dawn. Garlic is a crop that is planted in the fall and left in the ground over the winter, so that it grows the following year. There aren’t a lot of other things you could combine it with in a pot that have those sort of requirements, so I would suggest growing it alone. Carol

    • Monica
      10/11/2015 at 8:59 am

      Dawn, garlic is the easiest thing ever to grow. It is the last thing I put in (and I live in Zone 3-4). Sometimes it even pops some shoots out in the Fall, but they need the winter to do their magic. First thing to show their heads in the Spring.Plant a few inches deep and about 8 inches apart from each other. So wonderful to harvest your own in late summer.

      Here’s a companion planting guide I have found to be invaluable. Don’t plant near peas or beans.


  4. Jessica
    09/03/2014 at 4:35 pm

    So if I was to do Cauliflower, green onions, lettuce, and broccoli in my garden for fall i would just plant the seeds? They dont have to be starter plants? this is my first year growing fruits and veggies. my lettuce grew amazing but did not know that you could replant for the fall. Thanks so much

    • admin
      09/03/2014 at 5:06 pm

      hi Jessica. It is hard to answer definitively. Each zone is different. The best thing to do is find out when the first expected frost date is. Then look at the seed packages and see how long it take for them to mature. But unless you live in zones 9 or 10, it is getting late for most seeds and even some seedlings. I plant in August for a fall crop here in NC since we get frost around the end of October.


      • Rattlerjake
        10/06/2015 at 9:18 pm

        BUT, if you can protect your plants from frost with a plastic “tent” they will do fine well into late fall early winter. You can also plant all of these in cold frames and enjoy them well into winter here in NC.

        • admin
          10/06/2015 at 9:55 pm

          Very true. I’d love to have a cold frame to extend the growing season.

          • Rattlerjake
            10/06/2015 at 10:10 pm

            There’s really no excuse not to have one or more. Window sashes are free, go to a local window-replacement company, they usually have a dumpster full of them. I scrounged 30 6’X 30″ sliding glass doors from a demolition site, then I made 30 raised beds of the same measurement. In the late fall/ early winter I can add the doors to each frame, when we have a very warm day I prop them open with a scrap of wood. I have cool season veggies all winter; I cut back to 5-6 frames because I had far too much, even giving away to neighbors.

        • admin
          10/06/2015 at 10:16 pm

          Thanks for the tips!

  5. Frank
    07/05/2015 at 2:44 pm

    Thanks! Great info! I’m in zone 8 (Pacific Northwest) and a fall/winter garden should work well for me!

    • admin
      07/05/2015 at 7:54 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the article Frank. Gardening in the colder climates can be a challenge. I know. I was born in Maine.

  6. Dona
    07/29/2015 at 9:42 am

    i have just planted some turnips and beets in the middle of July, I hope it’s not too early for a fall crop? I am going to start some cabbage seeds now to plant soon. I planted cabbage in the spring it was the beginning of March I got some good heads and some that didn’t get very big. I have Brussel sprouts growing also, should I plant more of them from seeds now for the fall? I live in northern Arkansas.

    • admin
      07/29/2015 at 11:05 am

      Hi Dona. The best way to tell is to see what the planting to harvest time is on the plant packages or tags, then compare it with the date of your last expected frost. I normally plant now for fall harvest, here in NC. Carol

    09/14/2016 at 7:04 am


    • Carol
      09/14/2016 at 11:38 am

      Hi Jethro. You can use the form on this page to sign up for the newsletter. Carol

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