It’s amazing how many folks grow spring & summer gardens, but completely forget about fall! Don’t miss the opportunity! Start planning your fall garden today with these nine vegetables & herbs to plant in late summer.
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All of these seeds can be sown outside – in the ground – in August and September, for Zone 8. You only need a sunny spot and some water.
For other zones, try extending your growing season with a hoop house.
After planting, be sure to keep the ground moist – to help with germination. They can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to begin sprouting.
Most basic seed varieties can be found at your local garden or hardware store.
For more specialized varieties, you can order seeds from a catalog. You’ll want to start planning now & order no later than spring.
Pro Tip: Most things that grow well in the spring also grow well in the fall, and vice versa. So keep that in mind as you plan your garden.
The key is moderately warm weather – not the blistering heat of summer or the cold, snowy days of winter.
Though some of these are hardy enough to make it through winter.
Here are our favorite fall vegetables, just recently planted in the garden, and already beginning to grow!
Fall and winter are the seasons of salads. We absolutely love salads, so we tend to go crazy with our greens. And if we end up with more than we can eat, especially kale and spinach, I throw them in the dehydrator to make a very nutrient-rich green powder, but more about that in a post a little later…
I feel like kale gets a bad wrap, but we absolutely love it! Our favorite variety to grow is Siberian Dwarf Kale. It’s slow to bolt if we catch a heatwave in fall and very hardy through winter snows. This was one of the few plants that we harvested out of the snow last year for winter salads. It was crazy resilient and flavorful to boot!
Lettuce is a total must and it’s a good idea to plant some variety if you like a little depth to your salads.
- Cover your basics with Romaine or Black-Seeded Simpson
- Add some color with Red Salad Bowl or Trout Leaf
- Pump up the flavor with Spicy Mesclun Mix or Arugula
Mix those all together & you’ve got killer salads all winter long!
Get access to our top lettuce planting tips here.
Spinach is super rich in vitamins and nutrients, so we highly suggest throwing some in your garden. It’s a great addition to salads and smoothies.
This year, we’re growing spinach from seeds harvested off last year’s batch, which is a huge accomplishment. Seed saving is another wonderful practice that we’ll get more into later…
We’ve consistently grown a beautiful rainbow variety of Swiss Chard over the past few years, and have come to learn that it’s a misunderstood vegetable.
It’s delicious, nutritious, and can be treated like a salad green, you just have to know how to handle it.
You eat chard by harvesting the leaves and then removing the greens from the stem by cutting a V-Shape up both sides of the stem.
We toss the greens in salads or wilt them down in a little bacon fat.
The stems are very tough and bitter, so they typically end up in the compost, though we have made some delicious pickled chard stems before.
At the very least, these are a gorgeous ornamental for your yard!
We’ve had mixed luck with root veggies over the past few years, but that doesn’t mean we’re giving up!
Our new property has significantly better sunlight, so I think our odds are pretty good this year.
Pro Tip: when it comes to fertilizing for root veggies, always focus on the phosphorus which promotes root growth, as opposed to nitrogen which promotes leaf growth. If your plant is putting all it’s energy into leaves, it’s not growing your delicious veggies underground.
Carrots are rich in vitamin A, vitamin K, & potassium. They’re a wonderful vegetable to grow in the garden and, as an added bonus, they naturally help break up tough soil.
The few successful carrots we’ve grown are from a rainbow variety pack. There’s something really fun and unique about pulling a white or purple carrot out of the ground.
Plus, it makes for delightfully vibrant fall dishes!
Radishes are an absolute must, though they can be a little tricky. We’ve heard from other homesteaders and seasoned gardeners that they’re difficult to grow and now we believe it!
Our tactic has been to leave them alone. Be sure to water, but also don’t fertilize or fuss with them as much as you would everything else.
I feel like they’re the cats of the vegetable world…they want to be left alone and do it on their terms.
One thing to keep in mind is that the spice of the radish is directly related to how much you water.
Water constantly and they’ll turn out sweet – forget to water for a while and they’ll kick you in the teeth!
One variety that we recommend is the Japanese Diakon Radish. They’re very long, large, and white, more resembling a giant carrot than a radish.
But they’re delicious and they’re great for breaking up tough soil because they can grow 12+ inches long.
Learn more about making your own quality potting soil mix here.
For beets, we also recommend a variety pack with fun colorations. Ours had a candy cane, deep red, and golden orange. They’re definitely something we’re trying again this year because I feel like we’re primed with better luck and a little more knowledge.
We like to combine them with other root vegetables that you can also plant this time of year (like the turnips, parsnips, and rutabagas) and roast them off inc the oven with a little EVOO and some Italian spices.
One fun plus about beets is that the juice can also be used as a dye. I used a little bit last year to color my sugar scrubs pink.
I can’t wait to experiment even more, using every part of the plant, and working towards living more sustainably.
So far, we’ve covered some of the “basic” vegetables to plant in August and September for a fall harvest, but here are a couple of plants that you may not have thought about…
This means laying down seeds every week or two, so you have a consistent supply. When one plant finishes and goes to seed, there’s another plant in its prime!
Luckily, cilantro is surprisingly hardy. We have always equated it with hot, tropical environments, for some reason, but boy, we were wrong!
In fact, it hates the heat of summer, so it’s become a spring, fall, and winter gem. You can even harvest it straight out of the snow!
Fun fact: if you let it go to seed, the seeds are coriander. Crazy, right!?!
Sugar Snap Peas
These have been permanently cemented in my mind as one of the first signs of spring. Turns out, we can get a second flush in the fall! It makes sense now, but I just never put two and two together.
We have rows of sugar snap peas in the ground, all beginning to sprout, and we can wait to harvest them in fall.
**EDIT** The peas do produce, but only about half the crop size as compared to spring. Also, we noticed that the autumn Sugar Snap peas weren’t as sweet as the ones in spring.
There you have it! Those are our top vegetables and herbs to plant in late summer to ensure a fruitful harvest in autumn.
We hope you give fall gardening a try – perhaps grow something familiar & something new!
We can’t wait to see you grow! Be sure to tag us in your fall garden pictures.
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What are your favorites from this list? Do you like to grow different cold-weather crops? Send us an email or leave a comment below! You can also let us know on our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest pages.
Be sure to check out these helpful articles for more gardening ideas…
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