Growing your own fresh produce doesn’t end with the start of autumn. In fact, SO MANY healthy and delicious vegetables grow well in the cool fall weather.
Choose from this list of 15 fall vegetables to add to your garden for a fresh autumn harvest.
This fast-growing, hardy, frost-tolerant plant is a happy camper for your fall vegetable garden. Arugula seeds will germinate within a few days and be ready for harvest as soon as 4 weeks after planting. For ongoing production of arugula throughout fall, continually sow new seeds every 2 – 3 weeks.
2. Brussels Sprouts
Growing your own brussels sprouts is well worth it—the brussels sprouts we grew were the BEST flavor of any I have eaten!
Brussels sprouts grow best in cool weather, even tolerating a light frost.
If you live in warmer climates, plant your brussels sprouts from mid-to-late summer for a late fall/early winter harvest. For those in colder regions where winter comes quickly and fiercely, plant brussels sprouts in spring for an early fall harvest.
We recommend starting your brussels sprouts seeds indoors before transplanting outdoors within 4 – 6 weeks of sowing. Depending on the type of seed, plants mature between 3 – 6 months.
Broccoli is a true cool-season vegetable, enjoying moderate temperatures between 45° – 75°F. These good-for-you greens can even tolerate temperatures as low as 20°F.
For those in warmer climates, sow seeds 85 – 100 days before your first frost. Generally, you’ll be able to harvest your broccoli 70 – 100 days from sowing.
Beware planting broccoli next to pole beans, strawberries, or tomatoes, as they tend to compete for the same nutrients, hindering plant production.
Beans of all varieties grow quickly and produce all the beans you could want. Pole beans are ready for harvest within 60 – 90 days after sowing; bush beans take less time: 50 – 60 days after sowing. Pole beans will need a trellis to grow tall on, whereas bush beans do not. Most bean varieties can be sown directly into the soil, even in the summer heat.
Live up north? Beets are your friends. These hardy fall crops can survive frost and near-freezing temperatures.
You can begin planting beets now up until 6 weeks from your area’s average first frost date. Seeds will germinate within 5 – 8 days in soil that’s 50°F and above. However, beets can grow in soil below 50°F, germination will just take longer: usually between 2 – 3 weeks.
Go rad for some radishes. These quick-maturing fall vegetables are ready within four weeks of sowing, making them ideal candidates for late-summer to fall vegetables. Plant them beneath tall summer crops to provide shade from the hot sun.
Let’s turn out for some turnips. Turnips can easily be grown in the fall, and even into winter, since they can tolerate light frosts. Did you grow onions, squash, or sweet corn this summer? Turnips are sometimes known as a “mop up” crop, since they use the soil-borne nitrogen left behind from these previous summer veggies. You can also grow turnips next to radishes. Sow turnips directly into the soil in late summer.
8. Collard Greens
Pass the fried collard greens, y’all. Sow your seeds about 80 days before your first frost. Collard greens prefer loamy, easily-drained soils with a pH balance of 6.0 to 6.5. Like all leafy greens, collard greens are nitrogen lovers. Test and amend your soil as needed at least 7 days prior to planting. Collard greens are ready to harvest about 40 – 65 days after sowing.
A hearty stew with carrots included is always a fall menu staple. Carrots are root vegetables, which means soil quality is the difference between a stew-ready carrot, or a misshapen or stunted carrot. Carrots need loose soil without objects like rocks which could impede its growth. Once the soil is ready to go, plant your seeds about 10 weeks prior to your zone’s first frost. The smaller the carrot, the better the taste, and a frost can add to the tastiness, too.
10. Green Onions
Green onions are the immature versions of regular ‘ole onions. These can be sown in late summer, with plants ready for harvest within 3 – 4 weeks after sowing.
Let us discuss lettuce. A cool-weather crop, lettuce looks great as an ornamental next to fall flowers, and also tastes great as the base of a crisp autumn salad—for those crisp autumn days, of course. Lettuce grows easily from seed, maturing within 6 – 8 weeks.
It’s the power of cauliflower, y’all: high in fiber, B vitamins, and cancer-fighting antioxidants, this fall vegetable should be in your garden and on your plate. Not too hot, not too cold, but juuust right, cauliflower prefers mild temperatures, so begin your cauliflower as seeds indoors, then transplant outdoors until after temps are consistently in the 70s F and below. From seed, cauliflower matures in 70 – 120 days.
Peas, please. Choose a short season pea variety for your fall garden, like “Snowbird” snap peas which reach maturity within about 55 – 60 days from sowing. Plant peas after corn and other crops that leave behind nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the soil. Sow directly in the soil once temperatures have dropped into the 70s F and below.
Kale is a true autumn-loving vegetable, tasting better when grown in cooler weather—and just like carrots, kale’s taste improves after a frost or two.
Plant your kale 6 – 8 weeks before the first frost in soil temperatures between 60°F – 65°F. Kale is ready for harvest about two months after sowing. Kale will grow happily in cold temperatures—even as low as 20°F. However, a snow or a particularly heavy frost will cause the plant to collapse under the weight.
There are hundreds of varieties of pumpkins, and each variety has its own timeline for reaching maturity. However, pumpkins generally take about 100 days to reach maturity. You want to ensure your pumpkin plant produces fruit prior to your first big frost, depending on which zone you live in.
Pick your variety depending on your pumpkin dreams. Are you growing them for ornamental gourd decor? To make jack-o-lanterns? To bake up a fresh pumpkin pie? You’ll need to choose your pumpkin variety accordingly.
Happy fall planting from Olin and I (Leigh) at Stoney Creek Farm!