Best Vegetables to Plant in the Fall

I used to think that as cooler weather was approaching that the gardening season was over. Time to clean up until spring. Wrong! The growing season doesn’t have to end as soon as summer is over. But what are the best vegetables to plant in the fall?

You want veggies that can withstand colder temperatures and even frost. These are ideal for autumn gardens. Plus, these veggies are packed with vitamins and minerals that can help boost your immune system and keep you healthy during the colder months.

Are you ready to get your hands dirty and grow some delicious vegetables this fall?

Why Should You Plant a Fall Garden

What? You need some convincing to start a garden this fall? OK, here are a few reasons why a garden for fall is a great idea:

  • Extend Your Growing Season: With a fall garden, you can extend your growing season and enjoy fresh produce well into the cooler months. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy the crisp fall weather while you tend to your garden.
  • Less Work: Believe it or not, gardening in the fall can actually be less work than spring and summer gardening. The cooler temperatures mean less water is needed, and there are fewer pests and diseases to deal with.
  • Better Flavor: Many vegetables actually taste better when grown in cooler weather. For example, kale and Brussels sprouts are sweeter after a frost, and carrots are less bitter when grown in cooler temperatures.
  • Fun and Rewarding: Let’s face it, there’s something satisfying about growing your own food. Watching your vegetables grow and harvesting them when they’re ready is a fun and rewarding experience.

When Should You Plant a Fall Vegetable Garden

When it comes to a fall garden, timing is everything. But when should you actually plant them?

That depends on a few factors. First, you need to know when your first frost date is. This is the date when temperatures are likely to drop below freezing, which can damage or kill your plants. You can usually find this information online or by asking a local gardening expert.

Once you know your first frost date, you can work backwards to figure out when to plant. Most fall crops need about 60-90 days to mature, so you’ll want to count backwards from your first frost date by that amount of time. This will give you a rough idea of when to plant your seeds or seedlings.

This means that you should be thinking about your fall garden in the summer! It may feel a little wrong at first, but it follows the pattern of preparing for the summer garden in spring, and the spring garden during the winter.

The exact timing will depend on the specific vegetables you’re growing. Some veggies, like kale and collard greens, can handle a light frost and can be planted a bit later in the season. Others, like lettuce and spinach, are more delicate and should be planted earlier to give them time to mature before the first frost.

Sliding Garden Planner showing the fall side. Average first frost date is lined up with the end of October to demonstrate how the guide works.
A sliding calendar like this one helps me plan my planting dates.

Check the information on your seedlings or seed packet for when to plant the vegetable varieties you’ve chosen.

Here’s a handy chart to give you an idea of the timing for some of the best vegetables to plant in the fall:

VegetableDays to MaturityPlanting Time
Broccoli50-70Late July
Brussels sprouts80-100Mid-June
Cauliflower50-70Late July
Kale50-70Late July
Lettuce45-60Early August
Spinach35-45Early August

Remember, these are just general guidelines. Your specific timing may vary based on your location, climate, and other factors. But with a little research and some trial and error, you’ll be able to figure out the best time to plant your fall garden.

Best Vegetables to Plant in the Fall

Fall veggies are some of the tastiest and most nutritious around. But what should you plant? Here are some options you can choose from:

Fall Veggies to plant this year. Find the full list of fall vegetables on our blog Crooked Path Homestead
Carrots, Radishes, Cabbage, Broccoli, Kale, Turnips, Spinach, Brussels Sprouts, Garlic


Garlic and shallots are great fall crops. They’re easy to grow, and they add flavor to everything from soups to stews to roasted veggies. Plus, they store well, so you can enjoy them all year long, if you choose good storage varieties and cure them properly.

Onions can be grown in the fall, but are trickier than in the spring, so I recommend saving them for your early spring garden.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens, like kale, chard, lettuce, and spinach, are perfect for fall gardens. They’re hardy, so they can handle cooler temperatures, and they’re packed with nutrients. You can enjoy them in salads, smoothies, soups, and more.

Root Vegetables

Root vegetables, like carrots, beets, radishes, and turnips, are another great option for fall gardens. They’re easy to grow, and they’re packed with flavor and nutrition. Plus, they store well, so you can enjoy them all winter long. Roasted root veggies have become a favorite in our household.


Brassicas, like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage, are some of the most popular fall crops. They’re hardy, so they can handle cooler temperatures, and they’re packed with nutrients. Plus, they’re versatile. You can use them in soups, stews, casseroles, and more.

They do take longer to mature, so if it’s already past late summer, it’s probably too late to plant them this year. 

Protecting Frost Sensitive Plants

Not all plants are created equal when it comes to frost tolerance. Some plants, like spinach and Swiss chard, can tolerate light frosts, while others, like tomatoes and peppers, are much more sensitive. Be sure to know which plants you’re growing and how they will react to frost.

Fall is a time when the weather can be unpredictable. Frost can be a threat to your garden, especially if you’re growing frost-sensitive plants.Here are some tips to help you protect your garden from frost damage:


One of the easiest ways to protect your plants from frost is to cover them with a frost cloth or row cover. I’ve used bed sheets in a pinch to protect okra that I wasn’t ready to give up on yet.

This will help to trap the heat and keep your plants warm. You can also use plastic sheeting or a tarp, but be sure to remove it during the day to allow your plants to get some sunlight.


Watering your plants before a frost can help to protect them. The water will help to insulate the roots and keep them warm. The timing is a little tricky to get right for this to work. Be sure to water your plants early in the day so that the water has time to soak in before the temperature drops at night.


Mulching can help to protect your veggies from frost damage. A layer of mulch will help to insulate the soil and keep the roots warm. You can use straw, leaves, or even newspaper as mulch.

What to Plant for the Fall Garden

Planting for a Spring Harvest

Did you know you can plant your vegetables in the fall for an early spring harvest. You just need some planning and prep work.

Make sure you choose the right vegetables to plant in the fall. Some great options include carrots, garlic, and shallots. These vegetables are hardy enough to survive the winter and will be ready to harvest in the early spring.

Once you’ve chosen your vegetables, it’s time to prepare your garden bed. Make sure to clear out any weeds or debris and amend the soil with compost or other organic matter. This will help ensure that your vegetables have the nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy.

When it’s time to plant, make sure to follow the instructions on the seed packet. Make sure to water your seeds regularly and keep an eye on the weather to make sure your vegetables are getting enough sun and water.


Remember that not all vegetables are created equal when it comes to fall planting. Some, like beets and Swiss chard, can handle light frosts, while others, like tomatoes, are too tender for the cooler temperatures.

Make sure you plan ahead and give your crops enough time to mature before the first frost. Some vegetables, like cauliflower and broccoli, can take up to 10 weeks to reach maturity, so don’t wait too long to plant them.

Don’t forget about season extension techniques like row covers and cold frames. These can help you extend your growing season well into the colder months and protect your plants so you can harvest longer.

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. Fall gardening can be a fun and rewarding experience, and who knows, you might just discover your new favorite vegetable.

So get out there, grab your gardening gloves, and start planting those fall vegetables!

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