17 Vegetables to Plant Right Now for a Fall Harvest

Amid the summer heat, it’s hard to think about growing fall vegetables. But if you want a bountiful fall harvest, late summer is the time to start planning and planting! In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen shares 17 vegetables you can plant in late summer to enjoy this fall.

A white radish root topped with fresh green leaves is ready to be harvested from the garden bed.


The gardening season doesn’t end when temperatures start to cool. From spring through fall, grow a succession of different crops to fill your pantry and refrigerator with fresh fruits and vegetables!

What kinds of crops are harvested in the fall? Long-season crops like pumpkins and winter squash are classic fall crops, but these have a long growing season and should be planted earlier to reach maturity by autumn. Other crops, however, are much faster to reach maturity.

Some crops taste even better when harvested after a frost. Root vegetables and leafy greens are the most common fast-growing fall crops that can be started in mid to late summer for fall harvest.

What’s the best plan for a successful fall harvest? Plan ahead. Learn when your average first fall frost is. Then learn how much time the plants you want will require to reach a harvestable size.

Most fall vegetables easily grow from seed. This is an economical way to acquire new plants and allows you to have a great selection of both popular and lesser-known varieties and cultivars.

Select the varieties that best suit your needs based on your preferences, location, time, space, and gardening conditions. You may be surprised at how many wonderfully diverse options you can choose from.

If you’re ready to start planning your fall veggie garden, keep reading to learn more about 17 super garden vegetables to plant in the summertime for a fantastic fall harvest!


Close-up of growing arugula in a sunny garden. It is a leafy green vegetable with characteristic elongated leaves. The leaves are dark green, oblong, and lobed, somewhat reminiscent of oak leaves.
Arugula is a zesty addition to salads, grows quickly, and is tolerant of short bursts of late-season heat.
  • Plant Spacing: 12-18 inches
  • Days to Maturity: 20-50
  • Cold Hardiness: Survives light frost

If you’re a fan of leafy green salads, arugula adds a zesty kick to your greens. Arugula is a delicious leafy vegetable that grows quickly and can be harvested young.

It is also more heat-tolerant than many other greens but still will bolt in hot weather. It’s easily grown for either spring or fall harvest and makes a great container plant.

Direct seed arugula where you want it in your garden. If you grow it as baby greens, sow seeds close together and harvest the young leaves when they’re very small.

If you are growing arugula to harvest larger leaves, allow at least a foot between plants. Sow seeds closely together and harvest them as baby greens as you thin them. Younger leaves have a milder taste than the larger, more mature leaves.

Bok Choy

Close-up of a garden bed with growing Bok Choy plants. Bok Choy is a leafy green vegetable with thick, crunchy stems and glossy dark green leaves. The leaves are large, rounded, oblong, with smooth edges. The stems are pale green and crispy, forming an onion at the junction with the leaves.
Plant bok choy in late summer for a quick, crunchy fall harvest.
  • Plant Spacing: 6-12 inches
  • Days to Maturity: 45-60
  • Cold Hardiness: Survives light frost

Bok choy is an Asian leafy vegetable that’s a wonderful addition chopped into salads or added to soups and stir-fries. It is crunchy and slightly zesty with a slightly peppery bite.

Bok choy is easy to grow but bolts quickly in hot weather. It makes an excellent fall crop and is even tolerant of partial shade.

Direct sow your bok choy outdoors in late summer for a tasty fall harvest. It takes about 45 days to reach maturity, so do several succession plantings at 1-week intervals to enjoy a longer harvest.

Use nutrient-rich soil with some added compost for the most robust bunches. When harvesting your bok choy, you will pick (and eat) the entire plant. 

Bush Beans

Close-up of Bush beans in the garden. They are compact erect plants that produce edible pods. The leaves of the bush bean are bright green, smooth, slightly oval in shape. They grow in groups along the stems and have a bright appearance. The plant produces long narrow green pods.
Plant bush beans in mid to late summer for a quick harvest before frost.
  • Plant Spacing: 12 inches
  • Days to Maturity: 40-60
  • Cold Hardiness: Not frost tolerant

Bush beans are a warm-season crop, but if you’re looking for a quick-growing plant to sow in mid to late summer, go ahead and plant some bush beans to harvest before the first frost. Sow seeds every 3 inches and thin them to one plant every 12 inches.

Sow the seeds directly into your garden, raised beds, or containers, and you can expect to harvest beans in less than 2 months from planting. 

Bush beans are delicious and nutritious. The pods are long and green, and different varieties will serve different purposes. Green bean varieties, also known as snap beans, are eaten when fresh, young, and tender, and these will be the best to grow for a quick late summer planting with a fall harvest.

Beans are an excellent plant for crop rotations. After harvesting, leave the roots in the soil to break down naturally for an organic “green manure” for your soil. Allow the rest of the plant to break down in your garden as well, or add it to your compost.


Close-up of Cabbage in a sunny garden. Cabbage is a leafy vegetable that forms a dense head of leaves. Cabbage leaves are large, smooth, rounded, with a waxy texture on the surface. They are blue-green in color with pale green veins.
Cabbage is versatile and available in various colors and shapes.
  • Plant Spacing: 12-18 inches
  • Days to Maturity: 60-100
  • Cold Hardiness: Survives light to moderate frost

There are a lot of reasons to like cabbage. It can be shredded into salads and slaw, cooked, pickled, and fermented. There are purple cabbages and green cabbages.

Some are tight round balls, while others are looser-leaved or oblong. Cabbage also lasts a long time once picked, so if you have a large crop, you don’t need to worry about using it immediately.

Cabbage takes a bit of time to grow to maturity. If you want a fall cabbage harvest and haven’t already started cabbage from seed, you’ll have the best luck buying a cabbage seedling from your local garden center or nursery.

There are many different cabbage varieties on the market, so look for one that matures quickly. Some fast-growing varieties produce smaller heads that perform well when planted closer together as mini cabbages!


Close-up of a gardener's hands holding a bunch of freshly picked carrots in a garden above the soil. Carrot is a biennial plant with a characteristic appearance. They have long thin, bright orange taproots that grow below the surface of the soil. The leaves of the carrot plant are pinnate and fern-like, emerging from the top of the root. These leaves are made up of many thin green leaflets that give them an airy appearance.
Carrots thrive in cooler weather, getting sweeter in the cold.
  • Plant Spacing: 2-3 inches
  • Days to Maturity: 60-80
  • Cold Hardiness: Survives moderate frost

Sweet and crunchy, carrots are an excellent fall crop. Carrots will grow in warmer weather, but they actually get sweeter when exposed to cold temperatures. There are so many beautiful carrot varieties to choose from; you could enjoy a colorful rainbow of fall root vegetables. 

Carrots are best when directly sown into the garden so the main carrot root isn’t damaged during transplanting. Since carrots will survive mild to moderate frosts, you won’t need to worry about your plants reaching maturity before the first frost. If you live in a moderate climate, harvest your carrots anywhere from fall to early winter.


Close-up of Cauliflower growing in the garden. Cauliflower forms a compact head called "curd" which is the edible part of the plant. Cauliflower leaves are large, rough and green, forming a rosette around the curd. These leaves are lobed and slightly wrinkled. Curd is a dense cluster of undeveloped flower buds that fit tightly together.
This brassica has a long growth period; buy seedlings for an early start or sow seeds in early summer.
  • Plant Spacing: 18 inches
  • Days to Maturity: 50-100
  • Cold Hardiness: Survives light to moderate frost

Cauliflower has a relatively long growing period, and seedlings are readily available at garden centers. Grow your cauliflower from seed or get a jump-start on the growing season by buying healthy young plants and transplanting them into your garden.

You will need to give your plants plenty of time to mature. Sow seeds in early summer when starting from seed. If transplanting seedlings, you can put these in the garden in mid to late summer.

If you wait too late in the season, your plants won’t have enough time to mature fully, and you may not get any cauliflower to eat before the winter cold kills the plants.

People in warmer climates have the advantage here: gardeners in zones 9+ can often grow cabbage throughout the winter months if the plants are started in the fall!


Close-up of a Chard growing in a sunny garden with a layer of straw mulch. The plant has large, glossy leaves with pinkish veins. Stems are bright purplish pink. The leaves are large, wide, structured, with wavy edges.
Colorful and tasty chard grows easily from seed, ready for harvest in about 2 months.
  • Plant Spacing: 4-6 inches
  • Days to Maturity: 60-65
  • Cold Hardiness: Survives moderate frost

Chard is tasty, colorful, and easy to grow. It is easy to start from seed and is ready to be harvested about 2 months after sowing.

Sow your seeds directly into the garden or a raised bed. You can sow seeds 1 inch apart, and as you thin them to a final 4 to 6 inches apart, harvest and eat them as small salad leaves. 

Some very beautiful and ornamental varieties of chard would be just as welcome in a flower bed as they are in the vegetable garden. Grow chard plants interspersed with other fall crops or plant seeds in a grid-like pattern to maximize space. Young chard leaves can be eaten raw, while larger, more mature leaves can be steamed, stir-fried, or added to soups and pasta dishes.


Close-up of Collard greens in the garden. Collard greens have large, strong leaves and an upright growth habit. The leaves are broad, dark green in color, with a smooth and slightly waxy texture.
Collards are cold-hardy plants that are resilient to frosts and light freezes.
  • Plant Spacing: 12-18 inches
  • Days to Maturity: 60-80
  • Cold Hardiness: Survives through winter

If you’re looking for an extremely cold-hardy plant to harvest and eat from fall through winter, collards may be what you’re looking for. These sturdy greens are prolific, hardy, and great for use as salad microgreens or cooked in stews and side dishes.

You can often find collards as seedlings sold in nurseries and garden centers. If you have the time and patience, they are easy to start from seed. Direct sow seeds into your garden or raised beds.

You can eat collard leaves at any stage of their development, but any larger leaves will need to be cooked before eating, or they will be tough and bitter. Any collard plants left growing into the spring will bolt as soon as the warm weather arrives.

Daikon Radish

Close-up of freshly picked Daikon radishes in a garden bed. The Daikon radish plant is characterized by a large, elongated root and lush green foliage. The leaves emerge from the base of the plant and consist of lobed, elongated green leaves, similar in appearance to the leaves of other radish varieties. Daikon radish roots are large, elongated and white in color.
These radishes are large, mild, versatile, and can be eaten in various ways.
  • Plant Spacing: 6 inches
  • Days to Maturity: 60
  • Cold Hardiness: Survives moderate frost

Daikon radishes are huge and white, often with a very mild and pleasant radish taste. These giant radishes can be eaten raw, sliced, shredded, or prepared into soups, stews, and stir-fries, and even pickled or fermented.

Because they are so large, a single daikon radish can go a long way, so you may not need to plant too many to satisfy your needs. However, you may still want to, as Daikon radishes are known for loosening up compacted soil!

Daikon radishes grow best when directly sown into your garden plot or raised bed. Plan to sow your radish seeds approximately 2 months before the first predicted frost date.

They need consistent moisture and well-drained soil to produce a solid, healthy root. Harvest them by loosening the soil around their big roots because if you try to pull them straight out of the ground, they may break in the middle. Don’t wait too long to harvest because the root quality declines over time.

Green Onion

Close-up of growing Green onions in the garden. Green onions are a type of onion with characteristic edible leaves. The green onion plant consists of a bunch of long, thin, hollow stems that emerge from a small white bulb or bulbous base. The stems grow directly from the soil and are the edible part of the plant. The leaves are long and flat, resembling blades of grass. They are bright green.
Versatile and ideal for slicing, green onions are great for adding to dishes or garnishing.
  • Plant Spacing: 1-2 inches
  • Days to Maturity: 60-70
  • Cold Hardiness: Survives light to moderate frost

Green onions are leafy green, grass-like onions harvested before they reach maturity. You can eat the greens as well as the small white bulbs. Green onions are excellent for slicing and adding to soups and salads, adding to stir-fries, or using as a garnish. 

Green onions are best started from seed, directly sown in the garden. You can sow seeds every inch or so and harvest them as you thin them. Each thinning will yield slightly larger onions.

You can maximize your space by planting green onions in a grid rather than in long rows. These grow well in raised beds and can be easily interplanted among other crops.


Close-up of a growing Kale in the garden. Kale is a leafy green vegetable known for its textured and vibrant leaves. Cabbage leaves are large, ruffled, wrinkled with curly edges. The leaves are long, oval, bright green in color, form rosettes.
Enjoy kale young in salads and use mature leaves in various dishes.
  • Plant Spacing: 12-24 inches
  • Days to Maturity: 40-65
  • Cold Hardiness: Survives moderate frost

Kale is a fabulous fall crop that’s easy to grow and quite beautiful. Eat this versatile plant raw when young and use it as a nice addition to a leafy greens salad. Bake older leaves into crispy kale, or steam or sauté them to add to soups and stir-fries. You can even blend young leaves into green smoothies for an added nutritional boost. 

With so many colorful varieties of kale, you will want to grow it for both eating and its ornamental value. Sow kale seeds 1 to 2 inches apart and harvest them as microgreens as you thin them.

Mature plants can grow 1 to 2 feet across, although you may want to harvest the lower leaves before they get that large. Kale will continue to grow slowly in the winter if protected from mild winter weather with a floating row cover.


Close-up of a bed with growing lettuce plants with straw mulched soil. Lettuce is a leafy vegetable plant with soft and loose leaves that form a rosette. The leaves are large, wide, oval, with a wrinkled structure.
Easily grow a variety of lettuce from seeds for colorful salads.
  • Plant Spacing: 4-12 inches
  • Days to Maturity: 40-60
  • Cold Hardiness: Survives light frost

Although you can often find lettuce seedlings in nurseries and garden centers, you can easily grow a wide assortment of lettuce varieties from seed.

There are so many lettuce cultivars to choose from that you may have difficulty settling on just one. Don’t be afraid to mix several varieties to enjoy a colorful and crisp mix of leafy greens in your garden and salad bowl.

Growing and harvesting your lettuce is a real treat. If you are growing lettuce to harvest early as loose leaf lettuce, you can thin plants to just 4 inches apart because you will pick the leaves when they are very small.

If you have larger types to grow as a head of lettuce, such as Romaine or crisp-head varieties, thin seedlings to 12 inches apart, but you can eat any young seedlings as you thin them. 

Mustard Greens

Close-up of growing Mustard Greens in a sunny garden. It is a leafy vegetable with large, rounded leaves. The leaves are smooth, dark green with smooth edges.
These greens offer a zesty flavor for salads or cooking.
  • Plant Spacing: 6-18 inches
  • Days to Maturity: 30-40
  • Cold Hardiness: Survives light frost

Mustard greens are not as popular as they should be. Like many cool-season greens, you can eat young mustard greens in a salad.

Cook older leaves in the same way you use kale or collards. Mustard greens are zesty and have a peppery taste, adding a bit of zing to your plate. 

These plants grow easily from seed. Sow the seeds 1 to 2 inches apart and thin them incrementally as they grow larger, harvesting and eating the smaller plants you remove. Mature plants can grow 1 to 2 feet across and need more space, but you may prefer to harvest them well before maturity. 


Close-up of growing Peas plants in the garden. The plant is made up of thin climbing vines with tendrils to help them attach to supports such as trellises. Pea leaves are compound and alternate, consisting of several small leaflets that give the plant a feathery appearance. Pea pods are elongated, green in color and grow in pairs along vines.
Garden peas are a delightful fall crop suitable for trellises.
  • Plant Spacing: 1-3 inches
  • Days to Maturity: 70-80
  • Cold Hardiness: Survives light frost

Peas are a classic fall crop and for a good reason. Fresh garden peas are a sweet treat that’s easy to grow and fun to eat.

Pea plants are climbing vines, so grow them along a fence or trellis that they can climb up. You can see the peas waiting to be picked, making for an easier harvest.

Plan to direct sow your peas in the garden approximately 2 months before your first fall frost date. Peas tolerate light frosts and will continue to grow and mature even after a frost.

You can grow several pea plants close together because they will climb the trellis. After the seeds sprout, thin them to at least 3 inches apart. 


Close-up of radish plants growing in the soil. Radish is a fast growing cold season root vegetable belonging to the Brassicaceae family. The plant consists of a rosette of basal leaves emerging from the soil. These leaves are lobed, with a rough texture and a rounded shape. Radish roots are rounded with thin pink skin and white flesh.
These root veggies are a quick and varied fall crop that is ideal for small spaces.
  • Plant Spacing: 2-4 inches
  • Days to Maturity: 30-60
  • Cold Hardiness: Survives light to moderate frost

Radishes are a fun and tasty fast-growing fall crop. Most people think of small, round red radishes, but many other colorful varieties exist.

The different varieties may be red, white, pink, or purple, and their shapes vary from round spheres to long and thin, more resembling carrots. If you like a bit of zing in your salads, grow some radishes this fall. 

Sow the seeds directly into your garden plot. Because the plants stay relatively small, radishes are a great choice for small spaces and raised beds.

Thin them to one plant every 3 to 4 inches, depending on the variety and their size at maturity. Go ahead and eat any smaller radishes you harvest while thinning!  


Top view, close-up of a growing Spinach in the garden. Spinach is a leafy green vegetable with bright green leaves. The spinach plant forms a rosette of leaves that emerge from a central point near the soil surface. The leaves are broad, smooth and delicate, with a characteristic slightly wrinkled or savoyed appearance.
A versatile cool-season crop, spinach grows well from direct seeding.
  • Plant Spacing: 3-5 inches
  • Days to Maturity: 35-45
  • Cold Hardiness: Survives moderate frost

Spinach is a cool-season garden favorite with many uses. Its mild flavor makes it easy to incorporate into many dishes. Enjoy spinach with a mixed-greens tossed salad, cook it as a side dish or pasta dish, blend it into a smoothie, or use it as a pizza topping. 

If you have any odd spaces in your garden, raised bed, or even a large container, you can plant some spinach seeds and enjoy these fresh leafy greens.

For best results, grow spinach from seed. Sow 1 inch apart and thin as seedlings grow. Mature plants can grow 12 inches across, although you may not want to wait to harvest them. Harvest and eat the leaves anytime.


Close-up of a growing Turnip in a sunny garden. Turnips are root vegetables that belong to the Brassicaceae family. The turnip plant typically consists of a rosette of leaves that emerge from the ground. The leaves are green, with a slightly wrinkled or scalloped appearance, and they grow from a central stem. The turnip root is large, rounded, with a purple smooth skin.
When directly seeded in the garden, turnips offer both tasty greens and roots for harvest.
  • Plant Spacing: 4-6 inches
  • Days to Maturity: 50-60
  • Cold Hardiness: Survives light frost

Direct sow turnips in the garden. Sow seeds 1 inch apart and then thin them to 4 to 6 inches apart. As the plants grow, you can harvest and cook some of the leaves.

Turnip greens taste slightly spicy. Try them cooked similarly to collards and kale. You can do one more thinning and enjoy small turnip roots, and then allow the remaining plants to mature and enjoy larger roots. 

Turnips like nutrient-rich soil with consistent soil moisture. Dry soil will yield a poor crop with tough, bitter, poor-quality roots.

Turnips will do fine with light frosts and continue to grow and mature. You can do successive plantings every couple of weeks to extend your harvest into the early winter. If temperatures drop significantly, you can cover your plants with a floating row cover to keep them happy.

Frequently Asked Questions

My garden is still full of summer crops, how do I make room for my fall crops?

If you have limited available space and an active summer garden, it can be a challenge to find additional space to add fresh crops. Chances are good, however, that you have some summer crops that are past their prime.

If this is the case, pull out the plants with yellowed foliage and those that have lost their vigor. Refresh the soil by raking in some organic compost. You can compost the old plants, unless they show signs of pests or diseases. Now you have room to start some fall veggies.

Do you have any tips for getting seeds to sprout outside in the summer?

Starting seeds to start outside in mid to late summer can be tricky. The air is hot, the sun is shining, and the soil drys very quickly, which can be a challenge when trying to start seeds. Give your seeds a little shade to help protect them from the sun.

Use wire hoops and a floating row cover to create a shaded area, or start your seeds in a naturally shaded spot. Keep your seeds moist by watering them every morning. Offer a second watering in the evening if necessary. Seeds need to stay moist in order to sprout.

I don’t have much space. Can I grow a fall garden in a raised bed or container?

Yes, absolutely! Many fall crops are ideal candidates for raised beds and some will be quite happy in smaller container gardens as well. It doesn’t matter if you have a small or large raised bed, these spaces make wonderful places for a fall garden.

You can grow several plants side-by-side or dedicate your raised bed to a single variety of plants. You could also use a raised bed to create a “salad garden” with an assortment of leafy greens to be harvested small and used for a colorful and delicious salad!

Final Thoughts

Fall is an excellent season for gardening. The weather starts to cool, the summer plants are winding down, and cool-season crops reach their prime. Pay attention to your average first frost date and give yourself ample time to start fall crops from seed.

That often means you must start planning and thinking of fall crops during a summer heatwave. You can grow many fall crops from seed or purchase them from local garden centers.

Enjoy growing a variety of tasty and interesting crops in your fall garden. Depending on where you live, some crops will even last into winter for an extended harvest season!

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