Here’s a Handy List of Cool Weather Crops for Your Fall Garden
It’s almost here – the fall crispness will soon be in the air. It’s also the time to think about planting another round of cool weather crops. Not just for spring, if you have another 60 days before your first frost date, you can put in another round of cool weather crops.
This category of plants does best when the weather is cool and most will even take a light frost. A few, like Brussels sprouts and kale, even thrive in frosty conditions and taste better afterward.
If it’s spring and you haven’t begun seeds, you will find them available as starts in your local nursery. Fall gardening is another matter entirely. In my area, most garden centers are winding down now and do not provide new starts. Unfortunately, to get the varieties you want to grow you will most likely have to start your plants from seed.
The good news – most of the garden centers will have their seed at discount prices so you can often get a good deal. Suggestions for reputable seed companies include Seeds for Generations, Botanical Interests, Mary’s Heirloom Seeds, and Territorial Seed Company,
Most of the cool weather crops listed below will start to decline and “bolt” once the weather turns hot. This means that they will try to set seed and will turn bitter tasting. You will not have that problem with a fall garden.
These crops do particularly well with fall planting because they do not have a very long growing season. Start your first batch and plant a new one every two weeks throughout the garden season.
Begin by determining your first frost date. Count back by the days to maturity for the date to plant in the garden. For instance, here in Central Texas, my first frost date is December 5th. There are 96 days between September 1st and my first frost date. That’s plenty of time to grow any of these tasty cool weather crops. In some instances, I can even grow more than one set.
Find your frost dates with this planting worksheet | PreparednessMama
If you live in northern climates you should begin your seeds at the beginning of August (or now!) and get them in the garden as soon as you can. With row covers or hoop houses you can still have a crop growing after the frost sets in.
The Homesteading Hippy has a fantastic post about how to make a hoop house to extend your growing season.
Some cool weather crops are suitable only for planting in spring. These have a longer growing period and will not work unless you have over 60 days of growing season left.
Artichoke – start seed in early spring for October harvest
Asparagus – a perennial crop started 60-90 days before your last spring frost
Brussels Sprouts – need 80-120 days to mature
Celery – needs 100-120 days to mature
Potato – early season varieties 70-90 days, mid season 90-110 days, late season 90-135 days to maturity
Here is a list of 20 vegetables that you can grow in your garden in the spring and again in the fall. I have also included the days to harvest so you can plan accordingly. You will be in salad heaven all season long!
|Arugula||30-40 days to harvest|
|Beet||50-65 days to harvest|
|Broccoli||60-70 days to harvest|
|Cabbage||50-65 days to harvest|
|55-75 days to harvest|
|Cauliflower||65-75 days to harvest|
|Cilantro||60-75 days to harvest|
|55-60 days to harvest|
|Garlic||in the spring|
|Kale||45-60 days to harvest|
|Kohlrabi||55-65 days to harvest|
|Lettuce||45-60 days to harvest|
|Leek||85-105 in ground all winter|
|Mustard||30-50 days to harvest|
|Green bunching onion||55-60 days to harvest|
|Snap Peas||55-60 days to harvest|
|Radish||25-40 days to harvest|
|Spinach||37-50 days to harvest|
|Swiss Chard||50-60 days to harvest|
|Turnip||45-60 days to harvest|
Share your success! Leave a comment in the comments below: What is your favorite cool weather crop? Can you pick just one…
Karen Coghlan says
This is such a timely post,,, Here in Arizona we do our best work in the fall and spring… Summers are too hot for much of anything… Thank you for the tips…
Thanks for stopping by Karen, Love your website!
I am thinking of trying spinach now. I’m in the Boston area.
Spinach & lettuce are the easiest ones to grow Barbara, happy fall garden to you!
Thanks Shelle, just the info I was looking for.
Thanks for stopping by Bea!
Dan Shorb says
Growing up in Pennsylvania, I thought it would be great to live in Florida where there are hardly any daytime temperatures below freezing. Now that I live in Florida, I have found that I can hardly grow anything due to the hot sun and extreme heat. When I saw your website, I thought that maybe I would have better success with fall planting. We’ll see what happens.