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Fall Vegetables to Plant

Prep the Garden
Garden hand tools in a raised bed garden.

Before planting, cool down soil by covering with a shade cloth for a few days. Fork the soil lightly to loosen the top couple inches of soil, which may have become compacted over the course of the growing season. Mix in up to two inches of compost and amendments. Water well to ensure seedlings get enough moisture and nutrients at planting time.

Select Plants
Raised garden bed filled with greens.

There is a long list of delicious cool-weather vegetables to choose from. Whether you're planting leafy greens, root vegetables or herbs, select a variety that matures in the shortest number of days, or is rated for late-season growing.

Sow Seeds
Gardener sowing seeds in soil.

Check the seed packet for "days to maturity" and subtract that number from the average date of last frost in your region to find the best time to plant. Then, add a few extra days because growth will slow as the days get shorter. Vegetables need time to mature while the weather is still warm, but if planted too early, they may be stunted by the heat. Plus, you never know if cold weather will come earlier than usual.

Protect Your Crop
Row cover on green vegetable crop.

Most vegetables will eventually succumb to cold in most regions. As the cold weather arrives, be ready with row covers or cold frames to keep vegetables alive and available for harvest well into early winter.

Manage Pests
Caterpillar on broccoli.

Planting in the fall may make gardening a little slower, but there is a big benefit: pests and disease are usually less of a problem in cool weather. Keep an eye on plants and treat only if necessary.

Planting Tips: Using a trowel, plant fall vegetable seeds using package instructions for spacing and depth. Plant seeds twice as deep because soil is drier and temperatures are hotter.

  • Water thoroughly and keep soil moist, especially as new seeds germinate.
  • Feed seedlings with liquid or granular organic fertilizer according to label.