The Last-Minute Fall Garden

It’s not too late to plant one last garden. Act now, and enjoy harvesting these 14 plants throughout the fall and into early winter.

| September/October 2017

  • Sow your fall garden and savor homegrown flavor all winter!
    Photo by iStock/FatCamera
  • A "neck" will form on the turnips when their roots have reached the maximum quality size.
    Photo by iStock/PeopleImages
  • For carrots, excellent-looking top greens is actually a sign of too much nitrogen in the soil.
    Photo by iStock/egal
  • Once planted, kale will be ready to harvest in 8 to 9 weeks.
    Photo by iStock/tpzijl
  • Harvest kohlrabi as soon as the leaves begin to dull.
    Photo by iStock/chengyuzheng
  • Parsley seedlings are ready for transplanting when the roots are forking and white and the leaves are dark green.
    Photo by iStock/deliormanli
  • Most cabbage can survive a hard freeze, but Chinese cabbage is only hardy enough for a light frost.
    Photo by iStock/YinYang

If your want to ramp up the flavor and nutrient value of your fall meals, consider planting the season’s last garden using quick-growing crops such as greens and radishes. It’s not too late to get plants in the ground for fall and winter harvests, especially if you already have a garden growing — and definitely if you live where winters are mild. In fact, many plants get sweeter in chilly soil, and some hardy plants can be plucked right out of the snow for fresh eating.

If the thought of fresh-picked salads and hearty, nutritious sautéed greens on your autumn table appeals to you, use the information here to sow your fall garden and enjoy homegrown flavor this fall and winter.

A few of the plants listed here can still grow from seed, but for most you will want to use transplants to make the most of the remaining growing season. If you haven’t already started seeds for transplanting, seek out transplants from garden centers. Check well-stocked local stores for sturdy, healthy-looking plants. Make sure to add a scoop of finished compost to planting holes to add nutrients to soil that may be depleted after the summer harvest.

We’ve organized the list below by quickness to harvest. You will want to get the slowest growers (at the bottom of this list) in the ground as soon as possible; you may be able to continue sowing seeds of some of the fastest crops into October or beyond.


Ready for harvest in: 5 to 10 weeks

Can survive frost: Yes

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