Planting a Fall Vegetable Garden – Time to Start Your Seeds

vegetables to plant for a fall harvest

This morning, I started my seeds for my fall garden.  I’ll start a crop of peas on August 1st, but here are some guidelines on what to plant if you want to do a fall garden:

Because of the summer heat, most plants that make great cooler weather fall gardens cannot be started outdoors.  Knowing when to start seeds indoors is pretty easy, just count back 12-14 weeks from your first typical frost date.  Start cabbage, broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, and cauliflower indoors on that date {basically anything you would sow in an early spring crop}. I start my seeds under grow lights.

Planting a Fall Vegetable Garden

Some seeds can be directly sown into your garden, though.  12-14 weeks before the first frost, you can start fast growing warm weather crops, like cucumbers, summer squash, and snap beans for a second harvest.  If you have a long, mild fall you can also start celery and parsley outdoors.

10-12 weeks before the average first frost, you can direct-sow arugula, Chinese cabbage, lettuce, turnips, spinach, mustard, Asian greens and radishes.


6-8 weeks before the last frost, sow another round of spinach and mache.  Look for varieties that are cold hardy.  If you have a greenhouse, hoop house, etc. you can start another round of lettuce now.  Under the right conditions, you will still be harvesting in December {though, everything will grow much slower}.

Fall Vegetable Garden

Near the first frost, it is time to get garlic and shallots into the ground—so that they will pop up next spring.

If you aren’t worn out from your gardening season, a fall garden is a chance to get another full crop in {perfect if you are limited on space}.

What do YOU plant in the fall?


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  1. Julie says

    When do you place the plants outside in the garden? Is there a first frost countdown for that as well? Or do you just wait until the seedlings are big enough? Thanks for this post!

  2. lydia selk says

    Thank you for the reminder!!! I will start mine SOON!
    I think I need to get some potting soil first… :)

  3. shannon says

    I’m in Maine, on the edge of zone 4, so I just planted my starts of brussel sprouts, broccoli and kale yesterday. I can’t wait to harvest them in a few months, even though it means winter will be right around the corner. Eeek!

  4. jen says

    So will you be starting your peas indoors? Thanks for the post, I have just begun thinking about what to plant for the fall and didn’t know I would need to plant indoors. When time comes for garlic, can I use grocery store bought garlic to separate and plant??? Thanks again.

  5. Wendy says

    Wow, Mavis–I never even considered that I could go for a 2nd harvest–actually a first one, in my case. Never had time to start the garden in the spring, but I can now!!! Thanks for the info & inspiration!

  6. Uhmuna says

    Hi, I live in the pacific northwest too and it is so confusing. Can you make a timeline for our area? like july 15 or aug 1 instead of how many weeks before the frost. I am not a smart cookie, I guess.

  7. jan says

    I live in florida and we don’t really get frosts. I really want to know what to plant for the “cooler” months..

  8. Carlan says

    Hi there,

    Great blog! I have a question. Today I took the plunge and put some seedlings I’ve had in the fridge since last December in those seed trays. The thing is, no where can I find how often I need to water them? I will be growing them inside so they won’t benefit from rain.

  9. Michele says

    I am in Dallas, TX area and have more seeds ordered (thru Botanical Interests…looking forward to better seed quality than I had over the summer from random locations). Anywho…I only have cool weather seeds coming since our first freeze is in November. Can I still get warm weather plants like squash to grow? My canteloupe and watermelon are going strong and so are my purple hull peas. Wondering what else I can plant for a second round bushel.

  10. Dale says

    Mavis, do you plant your second crop in the same place as the first or do you rotate to a different bed?

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