We all love the long days, sunshine, endless flower bouquets, and of course delicious tomatoes of summertime. But I love a fall vegetable garden and getting outside in the cool air. As nature slows down, the days get shorter, and the air crisper, gardening gains a whole new, more relaxing and peaceful quality. After all, a break from sweating in the sun while working on weed management is definitely a welcome change of pace.

Yes, you can clean up your garden at the end of summer and let it rest until spring arrives once again. After all, spring bulb planting is enough to occupy your green thumb for fall in some cases. Consider, though, the potential for delectable fall harvest dinners fresh from the garden. The thought of a fall harvest comfort meal is enough to sell me on planting a fall vegetable garden.

Photo source: Debbi Smirnoff / Getty Images

Fall root vegetables

Nothing feels more like fall to me than a big plate of roasted root vegetables. These make for the coziest fall meals, so consider planting them in your fall vegetable garden to enjoy hearty home grown and home cooked recipes all fall.

1. Sweet potatoes

Let’s start with my favorite fall vegetable to eat. Sweet potatoes are versatile in recipes, pretty easy to grow, and super tasty. This root vegetable is well suited for a fall harvest as it grows throughout the summer, ready for harvest once the leaves start to die back. This means you can basically get the plants in the ground and forget about them until it’s time to harvest. We love some low maintenance gardening!

sweet potatoes still attached to the plant, being pulled form the ground in the garden
Photo source: Okugawa / Getty Images

Start your sweet potatoes indoors, then transplant out in warmer weather. You’ll know they’re ready for harvest when the leaves turn yellow- this should be about 90-120 days after you plant depending on the variety. Here’s a helpful article with more details on how to grow sweet potatoes.

fully grown sweet potato plant creating a blanket of sweet potato leaves in the garden
Photo source: manseok_Kim / Pixabay

Tips for success:

  • Provide lots of space for the vines to spread out. 
  • Sweet potatoes do best with loose soil, so amend your garden beds with vermiculite or sand if your soil has become compacted.

2. Potatoes

Rather than plant your potatoes in the spring, when you’re busy with your flower garden and all those tomato plants, try planting them mid to late summer for a fall harvest! These late planted potatoes will be perfect for winter storage. 

a potato plant in bloom with white clusters of star shaped flowers with yellow centers
Photo source: Anastasiia-Kuznetcova / Getty

Gardening Know How suggests planting about 110 days before your final frost date, and they provide some great variety recommendations, too. Once again, be sure to provide some nice, loose soil so they have room to grow.

potato plants being pulled from garden soil with small potatoes attached at the roots
Photo source: Vilor / Getty Images

Tips for success:

  • Consider planting your potatoes in a grow bag to save space in your garden and make harvest a breeze.
  • Would you rather plant your potatoes in fall rather than harvest them? That actually works great, here’s an article that talks all about how to do so!

3. Radishes

A convenient option for filling in small empty spaces in the garden, radishes can be directly sown for a fall harvest. Radish seeds should be sown 4-6 weeks before your last frost date. After that, sow succession plantings for a consistent harvest until it becomes too cold. Find a complete guide from Almanac here.

bunch of bright pink radishes viewed from the root
Photo source: Vladvvm / Getty Images

Tips for success:

  • Remember to thin your radishes to 3 inches apart about a week after you sow seeds. Overcrowded radishes will not grow properly

4. Carrots

I never had much luck growing carrots. That is, until I tried growing them for a fall harvest. The cool weather as they mature kept them from bolting and the flavor was SO much sweeter. If you garden somewhere where your spring rapidly warms into summer, try sowing your carrots in late summer for a fall harvest!

Plant carrots about 10-12 weeks before your first frost date. But don’t worry, you have plenty of wiggle room as carrots actually just get sweeter with frost. Check out one of our favorite seed supplier’s guides on growing carrots for advice specific to your zone.

carrot tops growing in a raised garden bed
Photo source: User10095428_393 / Getty Images

Tips for success:

  • Carrots can be left in the ground until ready to harvest, and we love how convenient that is!
  • If you are expecting a hard freeze or a late warm front, it’s best to dig them up and store them somewhere cool and dark indoors.

5. Turnips

Turnips don’t get a whole lot of love, but there are some delicious varieties out there! I’ve grown the Hakurei variety specifically and was amazed how much Ioved them. They’re easy to grow, quick to mature, surprisingly sweet, and can fill in the tiniest space left in your garden.

Photo source: Johnny’s Seeds

Tips for success:

  • Turnips should be direct sown in moist, well drained soil. Add vermiculite or perlite if your soil is compacted.
  • For small turnips, plan on harvesting just 30-40 days after planting.

6. Beets

It took me a while to warm up to beets, but now I love them! I find golden beets to be especially delicious. These are great to grow throughout fall for delicious roasted veggies and to add into warm salads. 

red beets on a cutting board, with one sliced in half to show the bright magenta interior
Photo source: Pompi / pixabay

Beets are another convenient root vegetable for fall harvest as they can be left in the ground until you’re ready to use them! Plant beets right up to about 6 weeks from your last frost date (but they’ll get bigger if planted 8-10 weeks out). Check out “The Creative Vegetable Gardener’s” guide on growing beets for lots of helpful tips!

beet tops growing in garden with sandy soil
Photo source: adym-Shpontak / Getty Images

Tips for success:

  • Beets like soil rich in organic matter, so amend your garden soil with some compost before planting your beets.

Brassica Vegetables

Leafy greens, anyone? Brassicas are a staple in fall, and taste absolutely delicious fresh from the garden. Here are some you should consider adding to your fall vegetable garden.

7. Broccoli

Broccoli is actually much easier to grow in the fall because you deal with less pressure from pests. On top of that, it’s also much less likely to go to seed, so you actually get to enjoy your harvest!

harvesting a head of broccoli from the plant
Photo source: Irina Kramar / Getty Images

Sow broccoli seeds about 85-100 days before your first frost, in mid to late summer for best results. This allows the seed to germinate and start growing in warm soil and mature once the warmest weather has passed. Want to learn more? Check out our recent post all about how to grow broccoli!

broccoli seedlings in the garden
Photo source: y-studio / Getty Images

Tips for success:

  • Most broccoli varieties produce one large head of broccoli per plant. Keep that in mind when deciding how many to plant.
  • If you want to avoid having multiple heads of broccoli to eat all within a week, consider planting a variety with side shoots or the next veggie on our list- broccolini!

8. Broccolini (Baby Broccoli)

Looking for a leafy green vegetable that you can continue to harvest throughout fall? Broccolini, or baby broccoli, is the veg for you! Unlike broccoli, broccolini matures with multiple, smaller stalks at a time. This way, you can enjoy your harvest for weeks and in more manageable quantities. 

close up of broccolini, or baby broccoli stalks on a small dish on a wooden table
Photo source: Juan-Moyano / Canva

Plant your baby broccoli directly in the garden, and plan for them to take 60-90 days to mature. Keep in mind this plant is a bit less cold hardy than broccoli but also a bit more tolerant of warmer weather.

broccolini stalks ready for harvest
Photo source: Alfreibeiro / Getty Images

Tips for success:

  • Broccolini is frost tolerant, but not when young. If you are expecting an early frost, consider covering your plants with frost cloth.

9. Brussels Sprouts

I’m all for growing brussels sprouts in your fall vegetable garden if only just to admire how cool this plant is. If you show someone who’s never seen how brussels sprouts grow what the plant looks like… they might think you’re joking. 

close up of lots of Brussels sprouts talking up the whole photo
Photo source: raphael-servens / Getty Images

In general, you’ll want your brussels sprouts to mature when it’s cold out but not freezing. This means planting in mid to late summer in warmer zones and spring to early summer in colder zones. Almanac has some good advice on how to plan accordingly.

a row of tall Brussels sprouts plants
Photo source: Alan_Lagadu / Getty Images

Tips for success:

  • Brussels sprouts are extremely susceptible to cabbage moths. Keep them at bay by covering the plants with mesh, frost cloth, or shade cloth (if it’s warm out), when the plants are young.

10. Cauliflower

Though it looks like a white version version of broccoli, cauliflower is actually pretty different. A head of cauliflower is much more dense and solid as it’s not made of many individual florets the way broccoli is. That said, it is a versatile, delicious cool weather crop equally as deserving of a space in your garden as broccoli.

large head of cauliflower sitting on a wooden surface with more cauliflower heads and greens in the background
Photo source: HandmadePictures / Getty Images

Cauliflower growing conditions and time to maturity can vary a lot depending on the variety. Pay close attention to seed packets for advice specific to your chosen variety and check out this guide for helpful advice.

cauliflower head growing on plant, ready for harvest
Photo source: Hans-Verburg / Getty Images

Tips for Success:

  • Cauliflower is cold hardy, but will still sustain some damage from a hard frost. Don’t give up hope if the leaves of your cauliflower plant are damaged though, they can still mature!

11. Bok Choy

This one became a favorite of mine as soon as I planted it. There are so many varieties to choose from, many of which can be harvested anywhere from 30 days after planting for baby size bok choy to 60 for full grown. Plant this to give yourself a break from roasted vegetables this fall and enjoy some delicious stir fry recipes!

3 heads of baby boy chow on a burlap covered surface with a wooden background
Photo source: Johnny’s Seeds

Plant as much Bok choy as your heart desires- since its harvest time is flexible, you won’t have to worry about wasting it! Bok choy can be planted all the way up to a few weeks before your first frost, or even later if you plan to cover them with frost cloth!

small bok choy plants growing in the garden
Photo source: lion95 / Getty

Tips for success:

  • Keep your planned harvest time in mind when determining plant spacing. You only need a few inches for plants you plan to harvest when young, but full grown bok choy can require up to a foot of space. 

Peas and Beans

Though you probably think of spring when you think of peas and beans, they can make a great addition to your lineup of fall vegetables.

12. Green beans

Be a bit more careful planting green beans for a fall harvest as they are not quite as cold hardy as some of the other fall garden vegetables we’ve included. That said, you can still plant green beans in mid to late summer and enjoy a fall harvest before your first frost if you live somewhere with mild temps.

green bean plant with green beans ready for harvest
Photo source: sauraghkumar / Getty

Tips for success:

  • Plant beans directly in the garden and remember that cooler temperatures mean your crop will take a little bit longer to be ready. Add about two weeks to the time listed on the seed packet.

13. Snow Peas 

Unlike green beans, snow peas are actually well suited to growing in cold temperatures. And that’s good news, because I just can’t get enough of them with only a spring sowing. Snow peas and snap peas are some of my favorite fall garden vegetables out there.

snow pea plant growning on a trellis with snow peas ready for harvest
Photo source: Jopelka / Getty Images

The Oregon Sugar Pod is one of my favorite varieties, especially since it happens to be disease rsistant.

Photo source: Eden Brothers

Tips for success:

  • Remember to get a trellis and set it up at the same time you plant your peas. They are pretty sensitive to root disturbance.
  • As with green beans, add about 10 days to the “time to maturity” date listed on your seed packet- cooler weather means slower growth for peas

14. Snap Peas 

Like snow peas, snap peas are plenty cold tolerant for fall harvest. You’ll just need to plan according to your first frost date and be prepared to cover your crop if necessary. 

pea plants growing on a trellis
Photo source: Our Stoney Acres

Rick from “Our Stoney Acres” talks in depth about growing snap peas in the fall- read his take here.

snap peas and pea sprouts in a small basket
Photo source: Eden Brothers

Tips for success:

  • Consider planting a compact variety like the Sugar Ann to make covering the plants in case of frost much easier. 

Salad greens to grow in the chilliest fall vegetable garden

Salad greens are by far my favorite thing to grow in the fall. There are so many cold-tolerant options that are also super delicious. Most can be harvested as cut-and-come-again crops, meaning you’ll enjoy them all season long!

15. Kale

It’s really hard for me to pick a favorite out of this salad greens group, but the right variety of kale just might take the prize. Personally, I’m not a big fan of plain green kale. The Black Magic variety, however? It’s almost addicting how good it is. The description on Eden Brother’s describes it as having “exceptionally sweet, rich flavor,” and it’s not exaggerating.

black magic kale leaves cut from the plant, resting on a wooden table
Photo source: Eden Brothers

Beyond its delicious flavor, kale is also very cold tolerant, so you won’t have to fret when your first frost date comes around. In fact, kale only gets sweeter with frost.

kale plants growing in garden
Photo source: kovaciclea / Getty Images

Tips for success:

  • Kale is pretty susceptible to a few different pests. Consider covering young kale plants until they get established. Protect plants until it’s cold out and pests die off, and you should have a full, delicious harvest!

16. Spinach

Pack a nutritional punch in your garden, just in time for flu season! While spring spinach rapidly goes to seed as the weather warms, fall planted spinach can have a long growing season ahead of it- well into winter!

close up of spinach leaves
Photo source: miluxian / Getty Images

In fact, some gardeners even report their spinach lasting through the winter… under snow!

raised bed full of spinach plants covered in a blanket of snow

Tips for success:

  • Some spinach varieties are better suited to warmer temperatures, and others, colder. Be sure to purchase the latter for a fall harvest that’ll last you well into winter. 

17. Lettuce

There are many lettuce varieties well suited to cool season gardening. In fact, fall can even be better than spring for lettuce because the cooling weather will prevent your plants from bolting, extending your season!

variety of cut lettuce leaves
Photo source: franky242 / Canva

Lettuce is compact, and great for container gardening. This can be extra convenient as you can simply bring your plants inside in the event of a hard freeze. Most lettuces will thrive well into cold weather, especially with a bit of extra help from a frost cloth, cold tunnel, or cold frame. 

red and green lettuce plants growing in garden
Photo source: nop16 / Getty Images

Tips for success:

  • Lettuce can bolt easily in warm weather. Cover your plants with shade cloth or bring them indoors (if in containers) in the event of a heat wave to keep them safe.

18. Arugula

One of my favorite greens for winter salads (yes I know I’ve called too many things my favorite in this post), arugula is an excellent choice for your fall vegetable garden.

arugula leaves in a small wooden bowl
Photo source: pilipphoto / Getty Images

Arugula is a fun addition to your fall garden vegetables as it is easy to grow and ready for harvest quickly.

a row of small arugula plants growing in the garden
Photo source: Johnny’s Seeds

Tips for success:

  • Sow about every 2 weeks until your first frost for a continual supply of baby arugula leaves
  • Cut the outer leaves to allow the plant to continue producing, or cut to the base to harvest all at once.

Pumpkins and squash for a fall harvest

Not only can you plant pumpkins and squash for a late summer or fall harvest, but you can keep them for a while, too!

19. Pumpkins

Finally, the one you probably picture when you think of fall. You may think of pumpkin carving initially, but think again. Put down those carving tools (or drill), and get out your cooking tools! 

small pumpkin growing on vine
Photo source: Julia-Moiseeva / Getty Images

Like most squash varieties, you’ll need to plan ahead and plant your pumpkins well in advance. But don’t worry, it’ll be worth the wait! Make delicious pumpkin soup all fall as they store incredibly well. Ok, and save a couple for some creative pumpkin carving activities!

Tips for success:

  • Pumpkins need lots of space! Plan on giving each hill about 50-100 square feet depending on the specific variety you use.
  • Want to grow your own pumpkins for Halloween? Start them mid May to June in most areas, and check out “Home for the Harvest’s” post for more tips.

20. Spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash, aptly named for its flesh that readily sheds into “spaghetti” once cooked, is a must-have fall vegetable. Stuffed spaghetti squash makes for a perfect, easy fall meal.

spaghetti squash on garden soil
Photo source: PlazaCameraman / Canva

Spaghetti squash needs to be planted in the spring, taking the warmer months to mature. Once fall comes around, you’ll have plenty of squash to last the season. It should last up to 3 months in storage.

Tips for success:

  • Pay attention to the growth requirements of the variety you purchase. Short vine squash require much less space than long vine varieties

21. Butternut squash

You know I have to pick a favorite out of our squash category and you know it’s got to be butternut squash. I mean, their deliciously sweet flavor is hard to beat. 

a pile of large butternut squash outside on the ground, with one cut in half to show inside
Photo source: 1209 / pixabay

For a personal size squash perfect for dinners for two, consider planting the honeynut variety (shown below). I’ve grown these before and I can’t begin to describe how much more convenient it is to use these as opposed to breaking down a whole, large butternut squash

three honeynut squash on the ground in the garden, two orange and nearly ready for harvest and one is still dark green
Photo source: Eden Brothers

Tips for success:

  • Butternut squash plants are heavy feeders, so plant in well-amended soil.
  • These plants will grow best on a hill. Click here for more tips on growing butternut squash.

Enjoy your fall garden vegetables!

I hope this list has you feeling inspired to include some fall garden vegetables in your garden plan. Even at the end of summer and early fall, you still have time to grow many greens and root vegetables! So, as you wrap up your fall garden cleanup, consider throwing a few seeds in the ground. You won’t regret it when you’re still eating garden fresh produce in November!

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