13 Seeds to Sow this Labor Day Weekend

We here at Epic Gardening are preparing our gardens for some beautiful cool weather flowers and vegetables. Here, Gardening expert Melissa Strauss tells you what Kevin and the crew are planting this Labor Day weekend.

A garden filled with meticulously arranged plant beds, showcasing an array of lush greenery. Each bed boasts a diverse collection of verdant plants, creating a harmonious tapestry of textures and shades.

Contents

Labor Day weekend is a great time to spend quality time in the garden. While the point of the holiday is to take time off work, gardening can be a relaxing leisure activity for those who love being outdoors. If you want to make the most of the long weekend, you may wonder what seeds you can sow for your fall garden this Labor Day.

In most North American climate zones, September marks a notable shift in the weather. The edge comes off the summer heat, and plants that would have wilted in August have a fighting chance at thriving in the cooling temperatures. 

Most summer crops are spent by Labor Day and need to be pulled, leaving some wide open spaces to fill. This leaves plenty of room for some cool-weather flowers and vegetables. Here are 13 different types of seeds that the Epic Crew is planting this Labor Day for a delicious winter harvest. 

Parsley

Curly parsley plant in the ground
Parsley is a delicious fall crop.
botanical-name botanical name Petroselinum crispum
plant-type plant type Full sun
height height 10″-12″
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7-10

‘Moss Curled’ Parsley has excellent cold tolerance, making it a great herb to add to your fall repertoire! Sow the seeds this Labor Day, and you’ll see sprouts in two to three weeks.

This parsley has ornamental value, too. Try it as an accent in floral arrangements, or enjoy its mild flavor in salads. It’s a nutritious powerhouse that freshens your breath, too!

Cabbage

 a large head of crisp green cabbage grows in the garden, ready to be harvested.
Cabbage is a versatile fall edible.
botanical-name botanical name Brassica oleracea var. capitata
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 5″-7″

Labor Day is the perfect time to sow seeds for cabbage in mild climates. The robust heads are beautiful in fall containers and tasty in many hearty autumn and winter dishes.

Check out ‘Red Acre,’ a frost-tolerant variety with deep purple to red coloring. It adds great flavor to coleslaw and looks pretty dotted throughout raised beds. This variety stays compact, so blending it around your other garden veggies is easy.

If you want a more traditional cabbage, try the bluish-green ‘Copenhagen Market,’ one of Kevin’s favorites. This type matures quickly and can be cold-stored for up to six months!

Bush Beans

Three bush beans dangle gracefully, showcasing their verdant pods. Green leaves embrace the beans. Basking in the golden sunlight, the interplay between the beans and leaves forms a captivating natural tableau.
This vegetable thrives as a fall crop with reduced pest pressure.
botanical-name botanical name Phaseolus vulgaris
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1’-2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10

Bush beans are often considered summer vegetables but also make an excellent fall crop. As the weather cools off, leaf-chewing beetles and soil diseases slow down, making caring for your bean plants much easier. 

It is easy to grow beans in the garden or in containers as a space saver, which may prolong your harvest as you can shelter your plants during inclement weather. If an early frost sneaks up on you for plants that aren’t in containers, a floating row cover will help to protect any beans that are not yet ready to harvest. 

Try sowing slender, tender ‘French Filet’ bush bean seeds for Labor Day. They take only two months to mature, which means that if you plant now, you will have plenty of beautiful beans for your Thanksgiving casserole. 

Beets

A selection of harvested beets in orange, red, and white lay on a wooden table.
These root veggies don’t mind the cold.
botanical-name botanical name Beta vulgaris
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 12″-18″ foliage
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10

Do you want a beet with a little more character? Frost-tolerant ‘Touchstone Gold’ beets have an eye-catching golden-orange color and extra-sweet flavor.

If you normally dislike the earthy taste of beets, this variety might change your mind! Sow these seeds on Labor Day, and you can see seedlings emerge in as little as five days (and up to 20). Harvest them when the tops are about three inches in diameter.

Celery

Several celery plants with long green stalks are growing together in moist soil.
Crunchy celery is delicious in fall soups.
botanical-name botanical name Apium graveolens
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 10″-3″
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-10

Perfect in climates with mild winters, celery offers a crunchy kick whenever you need a garden-grown snack. ‘Utah’ celery tolerates frost and matures in 100 to 200 days.

The crisp green stalks are the main appeal, but did you know you can harvest and eat the foliage, too? Try them in warming fall soups for an unexpected addition. If you are after the stalks, harvest them when they’re at least six inches tall for the best flavor.

Sow these seeds right on the soil surface, pressing in gently. Thin them when they reach one inch tall for best performance.

Kale

Square pots house the kales with care, the earthy brown soil contrasting elegantly with the vivid green of the leaves. The towering growth of the deeply serrated foliage reveals the plant's resilience and strength.
Kale, an easy and fast-growing powerhouse, is perfect for salads and smoothies.
botanical-name botanical name Brassica oleracea
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1’-2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7-10

If leafy greens are your thing, your garden won’t be complete without kale. This powerhouse vegetable is exceptionally easy to grow and can be eaten in various stages of development.

Red Russian kale is a beautiful variety with blue-green leaves and red veins. It is among the more tender kale varieties, making it great for salads and smoothies. Baby greens can be harvested in just about three weeks

Kale gets sweeter after its first frost, making this a perfect cool-weather vegetable. Sow kale seeds this Labor Day, as long as it falls at least 10-12 weeks before your first expected frost, and when it’s time to harvest, cut only ⅓ of the plant at a time, and it will regrow rapidly. 

Leeks

A bountiful arrangement of verdant leeks flourishes in a raised brick bed, exuding a rustic charm. Behind this vibrant display, a neatly trimmed hedge provides a lush backdrop, enhancing the garden's natural allure.
This allium vegetable can be overwintered in mild climates for early spring harvest.
botanical-name botanical name Allium porrum 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 18”-30”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

Leeks play a special role in the kitchen. Their rich yet mild flavor makes them perfect for soups and stews. Dice one up and add it to pasta primavera for a subtle onion flavor. You can salvage the unused tops of your leeks and replant them, as well. 

In mild climates, leeks will overwinter and can be planted in the fall for an early spring harvest. The ‘King Richard’ variety is a large leek that reaches up to 12 inches long!  

Grow leeks in nitrogen and nutrient-rich soil in full sun or partial shade. Leeks grow well in containers or can be planted in seed trays and transplanted gently. Once they are in the ground, these onion relatives are very easy to care for and require about one inch of water per week. 

Lettuce

A row of vibrant lettuce leaves basks in the warm embrace of the sun's rays, showcasing their lush green hues. The lettuces find themselves encircled by a carpet of dried grass.
This versatile, cool-weather crop is easy to grow, offering various types with a refreshing crunch.
botanical-name botanical name Lactuca sativa
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 12”-40”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Labor Day is a great time to sow seeds for this fast-maturing, cool-weather crop. Lettuce is easy to grow and loves cool weather. It will grow in just about any space you give it and can be harvested as baby greens about a month after planting. 

From loose-leaf types to heading lettuces, there is no beating the refreshing crunch of lettuce. Try ‘Astro’ arugula for a peppery bite to add to salads or on top of pizza!

Give your lettuce an ample amount of water. In warmer climates, give your lettuce a bit of shade to keep it from wilting. The cooler it stays, the sweeter your lettuce will be.

 

Broccoli

A close-up of a rapini, showcasing its green florets and leaves. The rapini's deep green leaves exhibit a slightly jagged edge, adding visual interest to its appearance.
This zesty brassica is a quick-maturing plant with tender leaves and stems.
botanical-name botanical name Brassica oleracea
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 2’-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10

Broccoli loves the cooler fall temperatures and is a reliable and nutritious vegetable for your garden. Try ‘Chinese Broccoli’, which tolerates more heat than standard varieties for those still experiencing the summer heat.  

This variety has a more complex flavor, too. It’s sweet and a bit bitter and especially tasty in stir-fried dishes. This type resists transplanting, so direct sow in its permanent spot. It will be ready to eat in about 60 days!

Scallions

Green scallion shoots flourishing in dark, moist soil, showcasing vibrant life and growth. The slender stalks rise gracefully, adorned with crisp, emerald leaves, a testament to their vitality.
This favorite vegetable garnish is easy to cultivate for repeated harvests.
botanical-name botanical name Allium cepa
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 10’-24”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

Scallions are a favorite garnish in many types of cuisine. Their mild onion flavor pairs well with salty and savory dishes like chili, and a loaded baked potato wouldn’t be the same without them. They are easy to cultivate, and you can harvest them repeatedly throughout the season.

You may call these alliums by a different name. Green onions and bunching onions are both common names for scallions. While they resemble chives, they are more sturdy and substantial.

These beautiful and flavorful Italian Red of Florence scallions are challenging to find in stores, and they add a gorgeous pop of color to your culinary creations. Sow these in the fall in mild climates for a bountiful spring harvest

Zinnias

An Envy Zinnia flower displays captivating muted yellow-green hues, drawing attention with its subtle elegance. Set against a blurred backdrop of lush green leaves, the flower's colors, and layered petals form a harmonious contrast.
Envy zinnias feature captivating yellow-green flowers that stand out in gardens.
botanical-name botanical name Zinnia elegans
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 24”-30”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10

While many gardeners sow zinnias in the spring, these fast-growers are awesome for late-season blooms that keep pollinators coming to the garden. They’ll keep blooming until frost!

Try sowing ‘Green Envy’ zinnias throughout your containers and veggie beds. These unusual heirloom blooms are an interesting shade of lime green that complements fall arrangements. They’ll mature in 60 to 70 days.

Basil

Two small containers of green, leafy basil grow in small white pots indoors.
Flavorful basil can grow indoors all winter long.
botanical-name botanical name Osimum basicilum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 18″-24″
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-9

Basil is frost-sensitive, but sowing seeds this Labor Day will set you up with a crop of this flavorful herb all winter long when grown indoors. This year, we’re in the mood for classic ‘Italian Genovese’ basil, the famous variety that tastes incomparable in pesto.

If you want to ensure that you’ll have enough basil for all your favorite dishes, try succession-sowing every 3-4 weeks. Set your basil near a sunny window and enjoy the convenience of growing it in indoor containers!

Potatoes

Red baby potatoes spill out of a wooden harvesting basket.
‘Clancy’ potatoes grow successfully from seed!
botanical-name botanical name Solanum tuberosum ‘Clancy’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 24″-40″
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

If you’re lucky enough to have 80 to 100 days until your first fall frost, you cannot miss this All-America Selections award-winning potato that can’t be found in grocery stores. No tubers are needed; this variety can grow from seed!

‘Clancy’ has a creamy texture and rosy red skin. It comes in round and fingerling shapes. These seeds germinate best between 60 to 75 degrees. You can start indoors or out in mild winter climates.

You can harvest them anytime after the pink flowers appear. Just enjoy them quickly! This type doesn’t store well.

Final Thoughts

All of these tasty plants are great for planting this time of year. So many delicious greens and root veggies love the cool weather and can’t wait to find their way into your salad bowls and smoothies. Join the Epic Team in planting these wonderful plants in your fall garden. You won’t regret it!

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growing zone Florida. Close-up of female hands about to pick ripe fruits from a key lime tree in the garden. The key lime tree is a compact evergreen tree with glossy, elliptical leaves of bright green color. Its branches bear small, round fruits that mature to a vibrant yellow-green color, resembling miniature limes.

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