Have you ever wondered what to plant in a fall garden?
Despite what you might think, it’s not impossible to have a plentiful garden in the cooler weather that precedes winter. Fall is a wonderful season that fills the earth with beautiful colors from the natural change of plants and leaves. Most people don’t think of fall as a season for gardening (myself included until recently), but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Fall brings new opportunities to squeeze more out of your gardening year…if you’re creative. If you are an avid gardener, planting a fall garden can be one of the most rewarding experiences for you.
However, it’s important that you know what the best plants for fall are. I didn’t when I first grew in the fall…and let’s just say I paid the price.
Here’s a list of the 15 best plants to plant in your fall garden. You might be surprised to learn that some of these vegetables actually grow better in fall. They thrive in lower light and colder temperatures, which is exactly what we’re looking for in a fall garden.
Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables that the Earth has provided for us, so take advantage and grow it this fall. It aids in the human body’s detoxification powers in a major way. Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family and it develops best in cool seasons such as spring and fall.
Broccoli needs healthy soil, plentiful amounts of sunlight, and cool weather to grow. Fall is the perfect time to grow your broccoli crops because of the low average temperature levels. As long as it gets adequate sun, it’ll do just fine in the fall.
2. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are a green leafy vegetable and a member of the cabbage family just like broccoli. Brussels sprouts offer several health benefits such as providing large amounts of vitamin C and K. Plus, with a little olive oil and some salt they taste absolutely amazing.
Brussels sprouts require cool weather and rich soil. They will not grow well in hot weather, which is why fall is the optimal season to grow these bad boys.
Cabbage is a hearty vegetable that can be grown year round. It is believed that cabbage was domesticated more than 3000 years ago. People continue to harvest cabbage to this day for the amazing health benefits that the green (or red) veggie provides.
While it can grow year round, fall is the best season for harvesting the crop because of the cool weather and rich soil. Planting cabbage in the spring requires much more preparation, but in fall you can direct seed into the soil due to no worry of frost…at least until winter rolls around.
Cauliflower can be grown year round just like cabbage, but again it does well in the fall. It is a member of the Brassicaceae – or cabbage – family. Cauliflower provides large amounts of vitamins, protein, and fiber. If you’re into the paleo diet, it’s also a great substitute for rice or any other type of grain in most dishes.
Cauliflower needs cool weather and moist soil to grow properly. Hot weather has been shown to produce premature cauliflower heads, making fall the optimal season to grow this versatile veggie.
Kohlrabi is a small, stout vegetable that is a part of the cabbage family (are you seeing a trend here yet?!). Kohlrabi originated in Germany and can be eaten cooked or raw. It can be grown year round, but the crop does best in cool weather.
It’s the perfect vegetable to add to your fall harvest. The vegetable can be grown in almost any region, but thrives in spring and fall. Fall is optimal even compared to spring, because of the guaranteed cooler weather when compared to spring. When Kohlrabi grows, it ends up looking like an ugly purple turnip, but don’t let that fool you – it’s delicious.
Lettuce is a plant of the daisy family, and it is mostly eaten in salads. To harvest a fall crop of lettuce, the vegetable should be planted in late August, depending on your hardiness zone. After six weeks, the lettuce will be fully developed and ready to eat in early October.
Lettuce absolutely loves cold weather. It is believed that the fall season is actually the optimal time to grow lettuce. It doesn’t need to be planted in a heated greenhouse, nor does it need much sun.
7. Mustard Greens
Mustard greens are one of the less common leafy greens to grow for many gardeners, but they absolutely thrive in the fall. They’re similar to kale and the vegetable is known to provide large amounts of vitamins, proteins, and fibers.
Mustard greens are extremely resistant to frost, so if you’re getting a late start on your fall garden, you can confidently plant some of these in your garden. Mustard Greens can be eaten raw or cooked.
Radishes are crunchy vegetables that are usually eaten in salads. People have been eating radishes for thousands of years..and not without reason. If you’re into the flavor, they also offer several health benefits such as vitamins, proteins, and natural fiber.
Radishes can be grown in nearly any region, but timing the harvest of the plant is a bit tricky. Typically radishes are a terrific fall crop. October seems to be the best time to harvest the vegetable. The crisp air and chilled soil often produces the most vitamin rich and tasty radishes of the year.
Rutabaga is a turnip-like root vegetable that grows under the soil. The leaves of this vegetable can be eaten in salads. It’s one of the best vegetables to grow in the fall because rutabaga roots develop better in cool climates.
Ideally, temperatures need to be between 50-65 degrees on a daily basis for the rutabaga to thrive. Barring some of the more extreme fall climates, that puts rutabaga right in range for a perfect fall crop.
Spinach is a healthy and nutritious green vegetable. If you’re like me, you grew up watching Popeye chug cans of spinach. And if Popeye can get guns like that from spinach alone, we’d all better get with the program.
Spinach developed this reputation due to the massive amounts of vitamins and minerals contained in its green leaves. Spinach grows best in climates less than 70 degrees. Several varieties of spinach exist, but Tyee is especially good for fall planting. Like several of the other vegetables on this list, spinach does rather well in cool temperatures.
Chard is another leafy green vegetable on our list. This tasty green is mostly used for Mediterranean style cooking. Like most vegetables on the list, chard is super nutritious, providing tons of vitamin A, C, and K.
It’s best to plant seeds 40 days prior to the first frost date for an early fall harvest. It is also recommended to trim the chard plant down when it reaches a foot tall. You can continually harvest by picking only the mature outer leaves.
Collards are another green that do rather well in the fall. Collards are relatives to the broccoli family and they offer several of the same health benefits.
Recommendation is to sow collard seeds when your temperatures are around 65 degrees. Collards do best in cool weather, and fall is actually the optimal time to plant this vegetable.
Peas are a healthy vegetable that millions of people eat on a daily basis. They’re not usually thought of as a fall vegetable, but peas grown in fall can taste far superior to summer peas.
Plant peas 90 days prior to the first fall frost. The soil needs to be between 50-70 degrees for peas to grow. Early fall weather provides the perfect climate for peas to grow.
Scallions are a part of the onion family, and they can be eaten raw or cooked. They’re a milder version of the onion that I personally love to use in my morning omelettes. Growing scallions requires a temperature of 50 degrees.
Plant scallions in the fall because of the vegetables hardy properties. They’re very tough and they can withstand the freezing temperatures of the winter.
A turnips are root vegetables that are normally grown in temperate climates around the world. Rich in vitamins and minerals while also providing a nice kick to any meal, turnips are a fast favorite among many fall gardeners. Better yet…growing turnips in the fall is not impossible.
While spring is a great time to plant and grow turnips, fall can be even better to grow them. Plant these root veggies in fall for a sweeter and more nourishing harvest. You should plant the seeds in deep and well-worked soil.
Go Forth and Plant Your Fall Garden
There are many more veggies to plant in fall than the 15 listed here, but these are some of my personal favorites. They’re the ones I’ve had the most success with in my fall garden attempts.
Just because the seasons change doesn’t mean that you can’t continue your love of gardening. In fact, most of the vegetables mentioned above actually thrive in the fall climate.
I hope that you’ve found this list to be helpful and inspiring! Drop me a comment and let me know your favorite fall garden strategies…I’m still learning and would love to hear your tips and tricks.