With summer coming to close most gardeners are ready to hunker down for the longer winter. While it’s true that spring is the best time for a large range of plants, there are a number of fall vegetables to grow that can be planted before the first frost. Today, we’ll be taking a look at some of these plants and pick out our 5 favorites plants to start growing into the fall.
Lettuce is a typically very hardy plant, and one that thrives in the cooler temperatures of fall. Most lettuces can survive even down to a light frost, and even further with a cold frame. This makes them excellent to plant even towards the end of most plants growing season.
Look to plant lettuce no later than 4 weeks before the first frost. This will ensure that it has enough time to grow and be harvested. It’s always okay though to push that back a couple of weeks to get more growing time.
Lastly, note that there are a bunch of varieties of lettuce. Most of these are hardy and the above will apply, but a few might not fare so well in the cooler whether. Spend a few minutes and make sure the variety you’re looking at is hardy enough to survive cooler temperatures.
Garlic is another great plant to put down in the late fall. Most recommend waiting until after autumnal equinox which takes place in late September. You’ll want to plant around this time, and make sure to put them into well fertilized soil.
Garlic won’t actually sprout during the winter, but planting in early fall will give it a head start in the spring. It’s not unusual to see garlic be the first plant that pops back up in the spring, and is usually harvestable a short time later. You can always just plant garlic in the spring, but for best yields gardeners recommend putting this plant on your fall planting schedule.
Carrots are an interesting vegetable that requires a bit of warmth as well as cold. It’s best to germinate them in warmer temperatures, but giving them time in cooler temperatures will help them grow strong roots.
This combination makes them perfect to plant in later summer into the fall. Generally, look to plant them 2-3 months before your first frost date. This will give them enough time to grow and mature. In warmer climates, carrots can be grown year round.
Kale is another great fall veggie. In fact, most leafy veggies like cabbage or collards will also grow well into the fall, but we’ll focus on kale here.
Kale can survive colder temperatures, and even a bit of frost. It won’t survive a harsh winter however, so look to plant at least a month in advance of frost in cooler areas.
Also, keep in mind certain varieties are even more cold tolerant that others. Red Russian kale for example is known to tolerate cold and even frost quite well. It certainly won’t survive a midwest winter, but might give you an extra month or two of growing time.
Last up, we have cauliflower. Cauliflower needs a bit of cooler temperature to produce it’s characteristic white head, so growing into the fall is encouraged.
It likes to have an average temperate of around 60 degrees, so this makes it solidly a fall or late summer plant. Look to have it going about 6-8 weeks before the first frost.
Best Fall Vegetables To Grow
While the above list is a start, there are a number of vegetables that can be planted in the fall. In general, many of these plants thrive when the temperatures start to drop, but will not survive once the frost periods begin.