The Edible Garden: Best Vegetables to Plant for a Fall Harvest

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If you were too busy to plant anything in the spring or just discovered more space in your garden, grab some seeds and a trowel and  plant some veggies today. While it may be too late to grow plants with seeds, such as tomatoes and peppers, there are plenty of vegetables that can be planted in June for a fall harvest. Doing this is well worth your time because the steps you take now will mean the difference between buying produce from the grocery store and picking it from your own garden when autumn arrives.
Here are some top picks from Bill Shores, a garden designer specializing in space-efficient edible/ornamental gardens; www.urbanedible.net.

These slower-maturing vegetables can be planted in the ground or in containers with at least a 12-inch diameter and 12-inch height:
Swiss chard  
Kale  
Beets 
Carrots  
Cherry tomatoes
Scallions, leeks

Also slower-maturing, these vegetables should be planted in the ground or in deeper containers to accommodate their bigger root systems:
Broccoli  
Lettuce (heads)
Cucumbers
Squash (not including winter squash)
Chinese long beans  
Common cabbage  
Napa cabbage  
Daikon radish

These faster-maturing vegetables and herbs should always be grown from seed:
Broccoli raab
Baby lettuce 
Arugula
Mustard greens
Asian greens: bok choy, mizuna, tatsoi
Common radish
Cilantro

If your garden doesn’t get an abundance of sun, don’t despair. The following crops can tolerate and are productive in part shade:
Swiss chard 
Kale  
Cucumbers
Cherry tomatoes
Chinese long beans
Arugula
Mustard greens

Plants that are cold- and frost-tolerant like those below do even better when you place fabric row covers with hoops over them:
Broccoli  
Lettuce (heads) 
Swiss chard 
Kale  
Beets  
Carrots  
Common cabbage 
Napa cabbage  
Daikon radish.
Lettuce (baby) 
Arugula
Mustard greens
Asian greens: bok choy, mizuna, tatsoi
Common radish

How long do you have to plant them?
It depends on where you live. “In a northern climate, for example, slower-maturing types can be planted from June to mid-late August,” says Shores. Faster-maturing plants can be planted from June to late September. Many of the latter can be succession planted (planting the same crop over and over) into mid-fall. It’s important to pay attention to what the seed packet or plant label says about the “days to maturity”— how many days are required from the time you plant until the day you harvest the crop — so you can make more informed decisions about each individual vegetable.

Seeds or plants?
It all depends on the grower’s preference. There are some plants, like mustard greens and arugula, that Shores says should be grown from seed.

Do these late bloomers need as much sun as vegetables planted earlier in the year?
Typically, yes, says Shores. ”Full sun and longer day length means faster growth,” he says. “In areas with structures and trees, shading may become an issue in the late summer as the arc of the sun gets lower.” But several crops tolerate and are productive in part shade, like Swiss chard and cucumbers.