Food

There's Still Time to Plant a Fall Garden

A photograph of the author, Molly Mitchell.

By Molly Mitchell

September 20, 2019

There's Still Time to Plant a Fall Garden

If you’re like us, the dog days of late summer have got you daydreaming about upcoming pumpkin pie weather, sweet potatoes casseroles and the savory smell of roasting veggies warming the house on a chilly evening. It may still be warm where you live, but it’s time to do your future self a favor and plant delicious autumn veggies you’ll crave when it gets cold.

The first thing you need to know is how much time you have to grow your veggies. That means figuring out when the first frost is likely to hit your area, and then count backwards from that date to learn how much time you have. Calculate the first frost date in your zip code and use that to narrow down your plant choices.

If you’re looking at your first frost date and realizing you don’t have much time, don’t give up yet! There are lots of fall vegetables that mature from seed to ready-to-eat in a month!


Here are a few of the fastest-growing fall vegetables you still have time to plant. 

Arugula

Arugulaby the most exciting of the leafy greens, arugula can be grown from planting to harvest in a month! Its spicy, slightly bitter taste will add interest to your salad or soup, and it is super good for you. Plant some outside or in a container and you'll be feasting in no time! Fun fact: Did you know that arugula is mentioned in the Talmud?

Radishes

Add a little color to your fall harvest by planting radishes. Even though they're a root veggie, you can still grow them in pots. They prefer cooler weather, and can be ready to harvest in as little as 22 days. Radishes add a crisp crunch add cheerful color to any salad or as a garnish to many dishes. You can get surprisingly adventurous with the humble radish – feta and radish toast, anyone? Or, when you have fresh radishes right out of your garden, you don't have to overthink it. Try them with butter and salt. 

Kale

If this leafy green doesn’t kale you, it makes you stronger. Kale is another nutritional slam-dunk, and growing it in cooler weather improves its flavor. Like most of the leafy greens on this list, it’s great in salads or soups, but kale is a special guest in lots of delicious pasta recipes, too.

Bok Choy

You know you’re gonna be doing some easy stir frying this fall, and stir fry dishes are a perfect opportunity to get some nutritious dark greens into your diet along with the starch and protein in your mix. Bok Choy is great for stir frys, roasting, salads and more. Baby varieties will grow in just 30 days!

Green Onions

Nine out of ten recipes agree – they call for green onions for flavor and stylish garnishing. Growing green onions yourself is a no-brainer: they're easy to grow, they grow quickly and you always need them. You can even start off with the roots from store-bought scallions in a glass of water.