Grow the Best Late-Season Garden

Enjoy an abundant autumn harvest by planting these cool-weather vegetable varieties now.

| July/August 2015

  • Fast-growing arugula will mature in approximately 40 days.
    Photo by Fotolia
  • Select fall and winter varieties of plants, when possible, to ensure your fall garden is successful.
    Photo by iStock
  • Brussels sprouts make excellent late-season crops as they can handle temperatures all the way down into the upper 20s.
    Photo by Veer
  • Cold-hardy collard greens can last well into winter.
    Photo by iStock
  • Enjoy fresh food throughout fall with these hardy vegetables that are prefect for your second-season garden.
    Photo by iStock
  • Green onions, also known as scallions, produce flavor bulbs and edible leaf stalks.
    Photo by Fotolia
  • Kohlrab, a lesser-known member of the cabbage family, will add variety to your late-season garden.
    Photo by iStock
  • Overwinter parsnips with heavy mulch to harvest in spring.
    Photo by iStock
  • Aptly named snow peas prefer moist soil and cool temperatures.
    Photo by iStock

It’s hard to believe during the hottest days of summer, but autumn is on its way. And although we often think of late summer as the height of the harvest season, by planting a second-season garden you can yield crops all the way into early winter. In fact, some varieties grow best during the milder days and cooler nights of fall. We’ve assembled a collection of hardy vegetables that thrive during the fall in most regions and can extend your harvest long after summer.

When to Plant: Find your average last frost date (The Old Farmer's Almanac offers an online calculator) and count backward from the seed’s average maturity period to figure the optimum planting time, adding a week or two for weather variations.

Best Late Summer and Fall Garden Crops


Peppery arugula is a mustard green also known as “rocket.” The fast-growing seeds can be direct-sown and will mature in about 40 days; stagger plantings weekly for a longer harvest period. Enjoy the greens in salads, pasta dishes or on pizza.


Beet seeds can be direct-sown in the garden 10 to 12 weeks before your region’s first fall frost. Regular watering and a layer of mulch will help plants get established during variable late summer temperatures. The beet greens are edible, and you can pick a few leaves for salads in the weeks preceding harvest without affecting the growth of the roots.

7/21/2015 9:39:11 AM

This is a good article but your picture of "Snow" peas in the slide show is a picture of English peas not snow peas which are the edible podded variety.

Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019


Next: February 16-17 2019
Belton, TX

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on natural health, organic gardening, real food and more!