8 Best and Easiest Fall Vegetables to Plant Now
It's fall at last! The air is getting crisper, the temperature is growing cooler, and you might think that the season for enjoying fresh-from-the-garden veggies is over. But think again: there's still time for a second harvest! Now's the time when summer crops like corn, squash and tomatoes give way to cool weather veggies like beans, lettuce, beets, and cabbages.
Let your home veggie garden have one last hurrah! Here are a few fall vegetables you can plant from late summer to early fall:
Sweet and snappy, green beans taste like summer but actually enjoy cool weather best. Bush beans are your best bet this time of year: the unfussiest of beans, they grow fast and don't need poles or trellises. Plant them 60-90 days before the last frost to enjoy one last crop before winter sets in.
This hearty, nutrient-packed green is another cool weather crop that keeps going strong throughout the fall. Not only can it survive a frost, but a nice cold snap makes kale taste all the sweeter! Plant seeds any time from late summer to early fall for a late fall harvest.
Frost-tolerant, hardy and sweet, beets are an ideal side to autumn roasts and stews, and can even play a starring role in borscht and winter salads. Red or golden, candy-cane-striped Chioggia or tiny candy-sweets, there are plenty of varieties for any taste. They're also late bloomers: you can plant these 4-6 weeks before the first frost and harvest ripe beets as soon as 6 weeks later.
Members of the cabbage family wilt in the heat of summer, but thrive when there's a chill in the air. Broccoli is no exception, and is happiest at temperatures from 20F to 75F. Take a break from limp, flavorless store-bought broccoli and plant your own now. Sow seeds in late summer or transplant young plants in the fall for a winter crop.
Just as cool-weather-loving as broccoli but a little slower to grow and a little less tolerant of freezing temperatures, cauliflower should be planted about a month earlier than broccoli for a winter harvest.
Treated right, these little cabbages have a fresh, sweet flavor that defies their bum rap, and can be planted in early fall for a winter harvest or late fall for a spring crop. They have to be kept cold, though: a frost will ripen them to full sweetness, so get seeds sown in early fall and seedlings out to the garden no earlier than October.
When most people think of peas, they think of spring. But, just like leafy greens and green beans, what peas like most is mild temperatures, and taste sweeter the cooler the air and soil they grow in. If planting for a fall harvest, plant a heat-tolerant variety in late summer or early fall.
Growing your own garlic is an exercise in delayed gratification: a fall planting will yield bulbs the next spring, but will be much more flavorful and less bitter than the fruit of a spring planting. Let several cloves sprout and plant them in mid to late fall, sprout-up and root end down, but beware: if you buy supermarket garlic for planting, only buy organic, because conventional garlic may have been treated to prevent sprouting!