Don’t put away your gardening tools just yet. Cooler temperatures don’t mean harvesting season is over. With autumn heading our way, it’s time to look at which vegetables do well in the cold weather months — some crops can even continue growing after the first frost. July and August are perfect months for second-season crops.
Running behind? Don’t worry, there are still plenty of crops that can be planted ready to harvest by winter.
Beets are cheap, they’re a great source of vitamins A and C, and you can use both the root and the leaves. Overall, an excellent food for a growing family.
- Planted by early August, beets will be ready to harvest mid to late October, no later than October 30th.
- Dig deep so the plants stay cool, but don’t allow roots to grow beyond 3 ½ inches or the beets will become woody and tough.
- Cooler temperatures make your vegetables sweet and crisp.
Broccoli is a cool-weather crop, so autumn is when it really shines. Of course, planting dates can always vary a little depending on your hardiness zone, but if your broccoli is ready to transplant by August 10th, you should be ready to harvest at the end of October.
- Broccoli is one of the crops that is least susceptible to pests, so it should be relatively low maintenance.
- It is rich in vitamins and minerals.
Versatile, delicious and easy to grow — carrots are an easy pick for a fall crop. Rich in vitamin A and low in calories, carrots are grown by many moms in their gardens each year.
- Resistant to most pests and diseases, this crop shouldn’t give you much trouble.
- Carrots can be stored for up to nine months.
- Planted by early August, this crop will be ready mid to late October, around October 20th — it’ll vary a little depending on your exact planting date and hardiness zone.
Cabbage is a hearty cool-weather crop and tends to thrive in cooler regions. Don’t be surprised to see it do better than your other crops — it was made for this kind of weather.
- Cabbage transplanted by August 10th will be ready by the end of October, though some can be left until early spring for a fuller, heartier head of cabbage.
- Cabbage should be planted in moist soil and watered regularly, but not saturated.
Greens love the cold weather, but collards are notoriously improved by the cold for whatever reason. The frost somehow makes them tastier, and anything that gets kids more interested in eating vegetables gets a thumbs up.
- Cold-tolerant and easygoing, this crop should give you no trouble at all.
- The “champion” variety comes highly recommended and can be harvested in just 60 days.
- Leaf Lettuce
Cheap, nutritious and able to bloom a few weeks into the frost season, lettuce is a go-to crop for a lot of gardeners.
- Lettuce can be planted as late as September 10th and still be ready to harvest by the end of October.
- This crop doesn’t require much room, has a shallow root system, and is okay with getting only a few hours of sunlight. Fresh salad, here we come.
Another good source of vitamin A, this veggie with the fun, colorful stalks just might get your kids interested in gardening, though it’s no guarantee you’ll get them to eat what you grow.
- Chard can be planted as late as August 15th and harvested at the end of October. Check your hardiness zone for more information on the first frost in your area.
Cold weather is soup season, and nothing makes soup taste quite as good as when it’s homemade. Peas on the stalk are beautiful to look at and delicious, so not only do you have a sight to behold, you also have split pea soup to look forward to.
- Peas can be planted in early, mid or late August and harvested in early, mid or late October. Pick the dates that best coincide with the coming of the first frost in your area.
- Snow peas and sugar snaps both love cooler temperatures.
Full of iron and vitamins A and C, spinach is a great addition to any garden and any meal.
- Spinach is a fast grower, so if planted at the beginning of August, it will be ready to harvest by the end of September.
- Your last plant date for spinach should be early September, so it can be harvested at the end of October before the frost.
While it’s tempting to put our tools away once the leaves start to change, pushing our garden through these last few months can really make a difference in your grocery bill and in the quality of the food you’re putting in front of your family. There’s still plenty of time to plant, so get your gloves on — ready, set, grow!