What To Plant In A Fall Garden


Preparing the Garden for Fall Planting

As summer transitions into fall, it’s time to start preparing your garden for the cooler temperatures and seasonal changes. Fall is an excellent time to plant a variety of crops and ensure a bountiful harvest. Here are some essential steps to get your garden ready for fall planting:

1. Clean up and remove summer crops: Take the time to remove any spent or diseased plants from your garden beds. Clearing away debris not only helps prevent pests and diseases from overwintering but also creates space for new fall crops.

2. Amend the soil: Before planting, assess the soil quality in your garden. Add compost or organic matter to improve its nutrient content and drainage. Performing a soil test can help determine if any further amendments, such as adjusting pH levels or adding specific nutrients, are needed.

3. Plan crop rotations: To maintain soil health and reduce the risk of disease buildup, rotate your crops. Avoid planting the same family of vegetables in the same beds every year. Rotate crops based on plant families, such as moving tomatoes to a different bed if they were previously grown in the same area.

4. Consider covering crops: If you live in an area with unpredictable weather or early frosts, consider covering your crops with row covers or cold frames. These protective coverings can help extend your growing season and protect delicate plants from frost damage.

5. Weed control: Remove any weeds from your garden beds before planting. Weeds not only compete with your plants for nutrients and water but can also harbor pests and diseases.

6. Plan for irrigation: As the weather cools down, plants require less water, but they still need regular irrigation. Consider installing drip irrigation systems or use soaker hoses to provide consistent moisture to your fall crops.

7. Mulch: Adding a layer of mulch around your plants helps retain soil moisture, regulate temperatures, and suppress weed growth. Choose organic mulches like straw, shredded leaves, or wood chips for optimal results.

8. Monitor pests and diseases: Fall is not exempt from garden pests and diseases. Keep an eye out for common fall pests like aphids, cabbage worms, and powdery mildew. Promptly address any issues to prevent them from spreading.

By following these steps, you’ll prepare your garden for successful fall planting. The next sections will guide you on the variety of cool weather vegetables, leafy greens, root vegetables, brassicas, herbs, bulbs for spring bloom, winter annuals, perennials, and fall garden maintenance to consider for planting in your fall garden.

Cool-Weather Vegetables

One of the joys of fall gardening is the versatility it offers for growing a range of cool-weather vegetables. These vegetables thrive in the cooler temperatures and shorter days of fall, providing delicious and nutritious additions to your meals. Here are some popular cool-weather vegetables to consider planting in your fall garden:

1. Carrots: Carrots are a beloved root vegetable that thrives in the cool temperatures of fall. They can be sown directly into the garden soil and harvested when they reach the desired size. Their sweet flavor and crisp texture make them a perfect addition to soups, stews, and salads.

2. Radishes: Radishes are quick-growing and can be harvested in as little as 25 days. They add a delightful crunch and a peppery zing to salads and other dishes. Plant radishes in succession to enjoy a continuous harvest throughout the fall season.

3. Spinach: Spinach is a nutritious leafy green that thrives in cooler temperatures. It is packed with vitamins and minerals and can be enjoyed fresh in salads or cooked in various dishes. Sow spinach seeds directly into the soil or consider using transplants for a head start on growth.

4. Lettuce: Lettuce varieties, such as Romaine, Butterhead, and Oakleaf, are perfect for fall planting. The mild temperatures allow for steady growth and prevent the bitter taste that can occur in hot weather. Harvest the leaves as needed for fresh salads and sandwiches.

5. Broccoli: Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable known for its high nutritional value. It thrives in cool weather and requires well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Harvest the central head when it reaches maturity, and side shoots will continue to emerge for additional harvests.

6. Cauliflower: Cauliflower is another cool-weather crop that offers a versatile addition to fall meals. Choose the right variety suitable for your climate and harvest it when the heads are firm and compact. Cauliflower can be steamed, roasted, or used in stir-fries and soups.

7. Brussels sprouts: Brussels sprouts are known for their distinctive taste and texture. They require a longer growing period, so it’s important to start them early enough to ensure a harvest before the first frost. Harvest the sprouts from the bottom of the stalk upwards as they reach maturity.

8. Kale: Kale is a hardy leafy green that thrives even in colder temperatures. It is incredibly nutritious and can be used in smoothies, sautés, and salads. Harvest the outer leaves and allow the inner leaves to continue growing for a sustained harvest.

These cool-weather vegetables not only bring variety and flavors to your fall garden but also provide you with a fresh and healthy harvest. Experiment with different varieties and enjoy the abundance of flavors that fall gardening has to offer.

Leafy Greens

Fall is the perfect time to indulge in an array of nutritious and vibrant leafy greens. These vegetables thrive in cooler temperatures, producing tender leaves that are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Here are some popular leafy greens that you can plant in your fall garden:

1. Swiss chard: Swiss chard is a leafy green with vibrant stems ranging from white to yellow, pink, and red. It’s known for its mild flavor and can be harvested by cutting the outer leaves, allowing the inner ones to continue growing. Swiss chard is a versatile ingredient that can be steamed, sautéed, or added to soups and stews.

2. Arugula: Arugula, also known as rocket, has a peppery taste that adds a distinct flavor to salads. It grows quickly and can be harvested when the leaves are young and tender. Consider planting arugula successively to ensure a continuous supply throughout the fall season.

3. Mizuna: Mizuna is a Japanese green with feathery leaves and a mild, slightly spicy flavor. It’s often used in salads, stir-fries, and soups. Mizuna grows well in cooler temperatures and can withstand light frosts, making it an excellent choice for a fall garden.

4. Kale: Kale is a nutritional powerhouse that thrives in cooler weather. It comes in various varieties, including curly kale, Tuscan kale, and red Russian kale. Harvest the outer leaves, allowing the inner ones to continue growing. Kale can be used in salads, smoothies, sautés, or as a crispy baked snack.

5. Spinach: Spinach is a classic leafy green that is packed with iron, vitamins, and minerals. It can be grown throughout the fall season and harvested as needed. Spinach is delicious sautéed, added to omelets, or used in salads. Consider planting both savoy and smooth-leaf varieties for variety.

6. Lettuce: Lettuce is a staple in salads and sandwiches, and it flourishes in cooler temperatures. There are various lettuce types to choose from, including Romaine, Butterhead, and leaf lettuce. Harvest the outer leaves as needed, allowing the inner leaves to continue growing for future harvests.

7. Mustard greens: Mustard greens are known for their slightly bitter and peppery flavor. They can be harvested young for milder flavors or allowed to grow larger for a more robust taste. Mustard greens are versatile and can be used in salads, stir-fries, or steamed as a side dish.

8. Collard greens: Collard greens are hearty and nutritious leafy greens popular in southern cooking. They have a slightly bitter taste that becomes milder when cooked. Collard greens are often used in stews, soups, or braised with other vegetables for a satisfying side dish.

Leafy greens not only provide an abundance of health benefits but also add vibrant colors and flavors to your fall meals. Incorporate a variety of these greens into your garden for a continuous harvest throughout the cooler months.

Root Vegetables

Fall is a prime time for growing nutritious and flavorful root vegetables. These underground gems thrive during the cooler temperatures of autumn, producing delicious harvests that can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes. Here are some popular root vegetables to consider planting in your fall garden:

1. Carrots: Carrots are a beloved root vegetable that comes in a range of vibrant colors, from orange to yellow, purple, and even white. They thrive in cooler temperatures and are known for their sweet and crunchy taste. Carrots can be enjoyed raw as a snack, roasted, steamed, or added to soups and stews.

2. Beets: Beets are versatile root vegetables that pack a sweet and earthy flavor. They come in various colors, including red, golden, and striped varieties. Beets can be roasted, steamed, pickled, or grated into salads for added color and texture. Don’t forget to use the nutrient-rich beet greens as well!

3. Radishes: Radishes are quick-growing root vegetables that are perfect for fall planting. They come in different varieties, each with its own unique flavor, ranging from mild and sweet to spicy and peppery. Radishes add a delightful crunch and zing to salads, sandwiches, and even roasted vegetable medleys.

4. Turnips: Turnips are a versatile root vegetable that can be enjoyed in both raw and cooked forms. The roots have a mild and slightly peppery taste, while the young greens can be used as a nutrient-rich addition to salads or sautéed as a side dish. Try roasting turnips with other fall vegetables for a comforting dish.

5. Rutabagas: Rutabagas are similar to turnips but larger in size and sweeter in flavor. They have a unique combination of peppery and sweet tastes, making them a popular addition to stews, soups, and roasted vegetable medleys. Rutabagas can also be mashed or used in casseroles for a comforting fall dish.

6. Parsnips: Parsnips are root vegetables with a sweet and nutty flavor, similar to carrots. They thrive in cooler temperatures and develop a sweeter taste when exposed to frost. Parsnips are delicious roasted, mashed, or added to soups for a hearty and comforting dish.

7. Sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes): Sunchokes are lesser-known root vegetables that have a slight nutty and sweet taste. They can be enjoyed raw in salads, roasted, or sautéed as a flavorful side dish. Sunchokes are also a good source of prebiotic fiber, making them a healthy choice for your fall garden.

8. Daikon Radishes: Daikon radishes are long and white root vegetables with a mild and crisp flavor. They are often used in Asian cuisine, where they are pickled, added to stir-fries, or used as a garnish. Daikon radishes can also be enjoyed raw in salads or sliced into matchsticks for a refreshing snack.

Root vegetables not only add depth and flavor to your fall meals but also provide a wealth of nutritional benefits. Incorporate these versatile and satisfying vegetables into your garden for a bountiful autumn harvest.


Fall is a fantastic time to grow brassicas in your garden. These cool-season vegetables belong to the Brassicaceae family and include a wide range of nutritious and delicious crops. With their unique flavors and versatility, brassicas are a must-have for any fall garden. Here are some popular brassica vegetables to consider planting:

1. Cabbage: Cabbage is a classic brassica vegetable that can be enjoyed in various forms, including raw in salads, sautéed, or added to soups and stir-fries. It comes in different varieties, such as green, red, and Savoy, each with its own texture and flavor profile. Fall-grown cabbage tends to be sweet and tender.

2. Broccoli: Broccoli is highly regarded for its nutritional value and distinct taste. This versatile brassica is packed with vitamins and can be steamed, sautéed, roasted, or added to stir-fries. Harvest the central head when it’s firm and compact, and side shoots will continue to develop for additional harvests.

3. Cauliflower: Cauliflower is another popular brassica vegetable known for its versatility. This mild-flavored vegetable can be steamed, roasted, or used as a low-carb substitute for rice or mashed potatoes. Harvest when the heads are tight and compact for the best flavor and texture.

4. Brussels Sprouts: Brussels sprouts are small cabbage-like vegetables that grow along the stems of the plant. They have a unique, slightly bitter taste and are delicious when roasted, sautéed, or added to stir-fries. Harvest sprouts from the bottom of the stalk upwards as they reach maturity.

5. Kale: Kale, with its sturdy leaves and rich nutritional profile, is a popular brassica for fall gardens. This leafy green is known for its slightly bitter taste and can be used in salads, smoothies, stir-fries, and soups. Harvest the outer leaves, allowing the inner leaves to continue growing for future harvests.

6. Kohlrabi: Kohlrabi is an unusual but incredibly versatile brassica vegetable. It has a crisp texture, similar to that of a radish, and a mild, slightly sweet flavor. Kohlrabi can be enjoyed raw in salads, roasted, sautéed, or thinly sliced and used as a crunchy garnish.

7. Rutabaga: Rutabaga is a cross between a turnip and a cabbage, offering a unique flavor that is both sweet and peppery. It can be roasted, mashed, used in stews or casseroles, or incorporated into baked goods for a nutritious twist. Rutabagas are excellent storage crops, lasting through the winter months.

8. Bok Choy: Bok choy, also known as Chinese cabbage, is a popular brassica vegetable in Asian cuisine. It has tender stems and dark green leaves, offering a mild, slightly sweet taste. Bok choy can be stir-fried, sautéed, added to soups or stews, or enjoyed raw in salads.

Brassicas offer a wide range of flavors, textures, and culinary possibilities. Planting these cool-season vegetables in your fall garden will not only add nutritional value to your meals but also provide a visually appealing and diverse harvest.


Adding herbs to your fall garden not only provides fresh flavors but also brings a lovely aroma to your outdoor space. Whether you use them for cooking, teas, or medicinal purposes, herbs are an essential addition to any garden. Here are some herbs that thrive in the cool temperatures of fall:

1. Rosemary: Rosemary is a perennial herb that loves cooler weather. Its fragrant leaves can be used to enhance the flavors of roasted vegetables, meats, and soups. Rosemary is also a great option for container gardening if you have limited space.

2. Thyme: Thyme is a versatile herb that adds warmth and depth to many dishes. It pairs well with vegetables, poultry, and seafood. Thyme is a hardy perennial and can withstand colder temperatures, making it a perfect addition to your fall garden.

3. Sage: Sage is an herb known for its earthy flavor and aroma. It complements various fall dishes, such as roasted meats, stuffing, and hearty soups. Sage is a hardy perennial that thrives in cooler temperatures and can be harvested throughout the fall season.

4. Parsley: Parsley is a biennial herb that adds a fresh taste and vibrant green color to your fall dishes. It works well in salads, soups, and as a garnish. Plant parsley in a sunny spot in your garden and enjoy its bountiful harvest throughout the fall months.

5. Cilantro: Cilantro is an herb with distinctive, citrus-like flavor that is often used in Mexican, Asian, and Middle Eastern cuisines. It is a cool-weather herb that thrives in the fall, and its leaves can be used in salads, salsas, curries, and more.

6. Dill: Dill is an aromatic herb with feathery leaves that add a unique flavor to various dishes. It pairs well with fish, cucumbers, and pickles. Dill is a perfect herb for fall planting, and its leaves, seeds, and even flowers can be used in culinary preparations.

7. Oregano: Oregano is a perennial herb that is known for its strong and savory flavor. It is a staple herb in Mediterranean cuisine and can be used in sauces, marinades, and Italian dishes. Oregano is a hardy herb that can tolerate cooler temperatures, making it suitable for your fall garden.

8. Chives: Chives are a versatile herb that adds a mild onion flavor to dishes. They are easy to grow and can be used in salads, soups, omelets, and as a garnish. Chives are also a great herb to plant in containers or window boxes if you have limited garden space.

Whether you want to add flavor to your meals or create a fragrant garden, planting herbs in the fall will provide you with a bountiful harvest of fresh and aromatic herbs throughout the season.

Bulbs for Spring Bloom

Planting bulbs in the fall is an excellent way to ensure a vibrant and colorful spring garden. These underground wonders lay dormant during the winter months and burst into bloom as the weather warms up. Here are some popular spring-blooming bulbs to consider planting:

1. Tulips: Tulips are synonymous with spring and are available in a stunning array of colors and shapes. Plant tulip bulbs in the fall, and they will reward you with vibrant blooms in early spring. Consider different varieties to create a diverse and visually striking display.

2. Daffodils: Daffodils, with their bright yellow or white flowers, are a cheerful addition to any garden. They are one of the first bulbs to bloom in the spring, signaling the arrival of warmer days. Plant daffodil bulbs in the fall, and enjoy their beautiful blossoms year after year.

3. Crocus: Crocuses are small but mighty bulbs that bring bursts of color to the early spring garden. These resilient flowers can even bloom through a thin layer of snow. Plant crocus bulbs in the fall, and you’ll be greeted with their vibrant blooms as soon as winter starts to fade away.

4. Hyacinths: Hyacinths are known for their strong fragrance and dense clusters of flowers. These bulbs come in a variety of colors, including shades of blue, pink, purple, and white. Plant hyacinths in the fall for a fragrant and visually stunning spring display.

5. Alliums: Alliums are unique and eye-catching bulbs that add architectural interest to the garden. These globe-shaped flowers come in various sizes and shades, from small delicate blooms to large ornamental heads. Plant allium bulbs in the fall to enjoy their dramatic display in late spring.

6. Iris: Irises are elegant and sophisticated flowers that offer a wide range of colors and patterns. They come in different varieties, including bearded irises and Siberian irises. Plant iris bulbs in the fall, and they will reward you with their stunning blooms in early to mid-spring.

7. Snowdrops: Snowdrops are delicate and charming flowers that typically bloom in late winter or early spring. These bulbs are among the first to appear, often pushing through snow-covered ground. Plant snowdrop bulbs in the fall for a beautiful and reassuring sight as winter transitions into spring.

8. Glory-of-the-Snow: Glory-of-the-Snow, also known as Chionodoxa, is a charming bulb that produces clusters of star-shaped flowers. These bulbs have a vibrant blue color, making them a delightful addition to any spring garden. Plant glory-of-the-snow bulbs in the fall for early spring blossoms.

Planting these bulbs in the fall ensures a breathtaking spring garden filled with a tapestry of colors and fragrances. So, take advantage of the fall season and prepare your garden now for a stunning spring blooming spectacle.

Winter Annuals

While many plants go dormant in winter, there are several hardy annuals that can withstand the cold temperatures and continue to bring life and color to your garden. These winter annuals can withstand frost and even snow, making them an excellent choice for adding vibrancy to your outdoor space during the colder months. Here are some popular winter annuals to consider planting:

1. Pansies: Pansies are beloved winter annuals known for their vibrant colors and delicate flowers. These cold-tolerant plants can withstand chilly temperatures and even light snow. Pansies come in a variety of hues, and their cheerful blooms can brighten up any winter garden.

2. Violas: Violas, similar to pansies, are compact winter annuals that produce small but abundant flowers. They are available in an array of colors and can withstand cold temperatures. Violas are perfect for pots, borders, or even as ground cover in your winter garden.

3. Snapdragons: Snapdragons add vertical interest to your winter garden with their tall spikes of colorful blooms. These hardy annuals thrive in cooler temperatures and can tolerate light frosts. Snapdragons come in various shades and are often used to bring a pop of color to winter landscapes.

4. Ornamental Cabbage and Kale: Ornamental cabbage and kale are stunning winter annuals that feature large, colorful foliage in shades of green, pink, purple, and white. These plants are prized for their unique texture and cool-weather tolerance. Ornamental cabbage and kale add a touch of beauty and elegance to winter gardens and containers.

5. Winter Pansy (Cineraria): Winter pansy, also known as cineraria, is a delicate winter annual that boasts colorful and daisy-like flowers. These plants thrive in cool weather and can withstand light frosts. Winter pansies are great for border plantings and providing bursts of color in rock gardens or containers.

6. Calendula: Calendula, also known as pot marigold, is a bright and cheerful winter annual. It produces vibrant orange and yellow flowers that can withstand cold temperatures. Calendula is not only visually appealing but also has medicinal properties, making it a popular choice for both ornamental and herbal gardens.

7. Iceland Poppy: Iceland poppies are delicate and lovely winter annuals that offer a burst of color to winter landscapes. They come in various shades of yellow, orange, pink, and white. Iceland poppies can tolerate cooler temperatures and often bloom during mild winter periods.

8. Sweet Alyssum: Sweet alyssum is a low-growing plant that produces clusters of tiny flowers with a sweet fragrance. These winter annuals are excellent for ground cover and provide a carpet of color in white, pink, or purple hues. Sweet alyssum can withstand cooler temperatures and add charm to borders, containers, or rock gardens.

By planting these winter annuals, you can create a beautiful and lively garden even during the colder months. These hardy plants will not only brighten up your landscape but also bring joy and beauty to your outdoor space.


In addition to annuals, perennials are an essential part of any garden, providing beauty and interest year after year. While some perennials go dormant during the winter months, many varieties can withstand the cold temperatures and continue to thrive. Here are some popular perennial plants to consider for your winter garden:

1. Hellebores: Hellebores, also known as winter roses or Lenten roses, are stunning perennials that bloom in late winter to early spring. These evergreen plants produce delicate flowers in shades of white, pink, purple, and green, providing a much-needed burst of color during the colder months.

2. Winter Jasmine: Winter jasmine is a vigorous flowering vine that adds charm to the winter landscape. This deciduous perennial produces bright yellow flowers on bare stems, creating a striking contrast against the winter backdrop. Winter jasmine is a low-maintenance plant that can be trained along fences, walls, or trellises.

3. Bergenia: Bergenia, also known as elephant’s ears, is a hardy perennial with large, leathery leaves that turn a rich burgundy color in colder weather. Clusters of pink, red, or white flowers emerge in early spring, adding a splash of color to the garden. Bergenia is a versatile plant that can be used as ground cover or in borders and rock gardens.

4. Wintergreen: Wintergreen, or Gaultheria, is a low-growing ground cover that offers year-round interest. Its glossy evergreen leaves release a delightful minty fragrance when crushed. In winter, wintergreen produces bright red berries that add a festive touch to the garden. It is an excellent choice for shaded areas and woodland gardens.

5. Snowdrops: Snowdrops are petite, bell-shaped flowers that are often the first to bloom in late winter or early spring. These dainty perennials emerge through the snow, symbolizing the arrival of spring. Snowdrops add a touch of magic and beauty to winter gardens and work well in woodland areas, under trees, or along pathways.

6. Heuchera: Heuchera, also known as coral bells, is a colorful and versatile perennial that adds interest to winter gardens. Its evergreen foliage comes in a wide range of colors, including shades of green, burgundy, purple, and silver. Heuchera also produces small, bell-shaped flowers on tall stems in early summer, attracting pollinators.

7. Sedum: Sedums are hardy perennials known for their drought tolerance and low maintenance. Their succulent leaves retain moisture during the winter months and offer interesting texture to the garden. Sedums come in various sizes and colors, with some varieties even providing winter interest through their dried flower heads.

8. Winterberry Holly: Winterberry holly, or Ilex verticillata, is a deciduous shrub that displays bright red berries throughout the winter. These berries provide a much-appreciated food source for birds during the colder months. Winterberry holly adds visual interest and pop of color to the winter landscape.

By incorporating these perennials into your winter garden, you can enjoy the beauty and resilience they bring year after year. These plants will not only provide visual interest but also attract wildlife and add a touch of magic to your outdoor space during the colder months.

Fall Garden Maintenance

As the days grow shorter and temperatures begin to drop, it’s important to give your garden the necessary care and attention it needs to thrive. Fall garden maintenance not only prepares your garden for the coming winter but also ensures a healthy and successful growing season next year. Here are some essential tasks to consider for your fall garden maintenance:

1. Clean up: Start by clearing away any fallen leaves, spent plants, and garden debris. Remove disease-prone plants to prevent the spread of pests and diseases throughout the garden. Cutting back perennials can also promote healthier growth in the upcoming seasons.

2. Renew mulch: Apply a fresh layer of mulch around perennial plants and shrubs. Mulch helps insulate the soil, regulate moisture, and suppress weed growth. Use organic materials like straw, wood chips, or shredded leaves for optimal benefits.

3. Soil care: Add organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to enrich the soil. Fall is an excellent time to amend the soil as organic matter breaks down over the winter months, enhancing the soil structure and nutrient content for spring planting.

4. Divide and transplant: Fall is an ideal time to divide and transplant perennials that have outgrown their space or need rejuvenation. Carefully lift the plants, divide them into smaller sections, and replant in prepared soil. This process helps improve the health and vitality of the plants.

5. Pruning and trimming: Prune back any dead or damaged branches from trees and shrubs. This reduces the risk of disease and storm damage. Trim back overgrown hedges to maintain their shape and encourage healthy growth.

6. Vegetable garden clean-up: Remove spent vegetable plants and clear away any remaining fruits or vegetables. Till the soil to expose pests and diseases to winter weather and to prepare for spring planting.

7. Check for pests and diseases: Inspect your garden for any signs of pests or diseases. Take appropriate measures, such as cleaning tools, removing affected plants, or using organic pest control methods, to prevent these issues from spreading and inflicting damage on your garden.

8. Fall fertilization: Consider fertilizing your lawn and garden in the fall. This provides essential nutrients that will be absorbed by the soil during the dormant winter period, resulting in healthier plants the following spring.

9. Irrigation: Adjust your watering schedule as the weather cools down. Generally, plants require less water in the fall, so ensure that you don’t overwater. Water deeply and less frequently to promote deep root growth and prepare for winter dormancy.

By following these fall garden maintenance tasks, you’ll provide your plants with the care they need to thrive and ensure a beautiful and productive garden in the coming seasons. Take advantage of the cooler weather and enjoy the process of tending to your garden before winter arrives.