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 plants can be planted outside in August and September. You just need a sunny spot and some water.
If you live in a cold region, try extending your growing season with a hoop house.
Fall seeds & plant starts should be available at your local garden or hardware store.
These delicious fall plants can be grouped into three main categories
Generally speaking…plants 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.)
So let’s get into the BEST round-up of plants to start in August for a bountiful fall harvest.
– Greens –
Fall is the season of salads. We’re a little bit obsessed, so this made the top of the list. Some types of greens are hardier than others, but they all love the cool temps of spring and fall.
Looking for new ways to enjoy your greens? Try these recipes…
– Kale –
It always seems like kale gets a bad wrap, but we absolutely love it! Kale is slow to bolt – if you catch a late-season heatwave – and it’s very hardy through heavy snows. Guaranteed salads all winter long!
Our favorite varieties to grow are…
- Prism Kale – Great for salads & this tasty kale chip recipe
- Dino Kale – A gorgeous plant to have in your garden. Delicious too!
– Lettuce –
Lettuce is a total must! And since we eat with our eyes, it’s a great idea to plant a little variety. It will add so much 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
- And don’t forget the best one! Skyphos
Mix those all together & you’ll be eating grand.
Before you plant, check out our top lettuce planting tips here.
– Spinach –
Spinach is super rich in vitamins and nutrients, so you should definitely plant some in your garden. It’s a great addition to salads and smoothies.
This year, we’re growing spinach with seeds harvested from last year’s crop – which is a huge accomplishment!
Seed saving is another wonderful practice that’s becoming more and more important these days.
Learn more about how to start saving seeds here.
– Swiss Chard –
Swiss Chard is another plant that has a bad reputation. But it’s actually delicious, nutritious, and makes a great 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. I’ve also heard they’re good panfried…
But – at the very least – Swiss Chard is a gorgeous plant to include in your garden!
We’ve consistently grown this beautiful rainbow variety of Swiss Chard.
And now for a little Parks and Rec humor. Oh the lengths people go to to sell chard!
– Root Vegetables –
Root vegetables are a staple crop come fall and winter. They store well and are perfect for roasting or adding to stews.
Every year, we’re trying to grow one new type – to hone in on on our short list of faves. Isn’t it great that gardening’s just one big experiment?
In terms of growing root vegetables, you want to pick the right fertilizer. Always focus on phosphorus which promotes root growth – as opposed to nitrogen which promotes leaf growth.
If your plant is putting all its energy into growing leaves, it’s not focusing on growing you a delicious beet or turnip or radish.
Below are just a few examples of common root vegetables you can plant in late summer for a fall harvest, but don’t be afraid to try something like kohlrabi, parsnips, turnips, or rutabagas.
– Carrots –
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 help naturally break up tough soil.
But, why keep it simple with regular old carrots?
Try a rainbow variety pack to add vibrancy to your garden & to your plate. Plus there’s something really whimsical about pulling a purple carrot out of the ground.
– Radishes –
Radishes are an absolute must in your garden! With just 28 days to harvest, they’re one of the fastest crops you can grow. Plus, they’re delicious – if you treat them right.
Our advice is…leave them alone.
Be sure to water, but don’t fertilize & don’t fuss with them.
I feel like they’re the cats of the vegetable world…they want to be left alone and to do it their way.
One thing to keep in mind is that the spice of a radish is directly related to how much you water.
Water frequently and they’ll turn out sweet. If they experience drought-like conditions, they’ll kick you in the teeth!
One variety that highly 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.
– Beets –
This year beets have jumped to the top of our grow list!
And how could you not, when they literally taste like butter?
So delicious & versatile. Plus they add such an incredible pop of color to any dish – especially baked goods, like these beet scones…
We recommend a variety pack to add even more color. Typically these include a candy cane, deep red, and golden orange.
Some other great ways to enjoy beets are…
– Wild Cards –
So far, we’ve covered the basic vegetables you can plant in late summer for a fall harvest, but here are a couple of plants that you may not have thought about…
– Cilantro –
Some herbs – like rosemary and thyme – are hardy perennials that can last you a lifetime.
On the other hand, cilantro is more of a fleeting treasure. It has a quick growth cycle and is fast to bolt. So if you want to always have fresh cilantro on hand, you’ll need to practice succession planting.
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 though, cilantro is surprisingly cold hardy. In fact, it hates the heat of summer.
This makes it a spring, fall, and winter gem. You can even harvest it right out of the snow!
Did you know…if you let cilantro go to seed, the seeds are actually coriander. Crazy, right!?!
– Sugar Snap Peas –
Sugar Snap Peas are high in vitamin C, vitamin K, and an excellent source of fiber. Plus they make a great addition to your fall garden!
Growing up, sugar snaps were always one of the first signs of spring. But plant them again in August for a second flush of peas.
There you have it! These are the top vegetables & herbs to plant in late summer for a fall harvest.
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? What about other 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.
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April Thompson says
Great list! We have planted in the fall for the last 2 years and it really helps out.
Agreed! Here in Zone 8 we’re doing everything we can to have a year-round garden. It does make a notable difference!