Late Summer Planting Tips for Your Fall Garden

It’s August! This is the time of year that gardeners start to harvest their summer garden they have tended to all season long. It’s a great feeling when you and your family sit down to eat a delicious meal and your plates are filled with fresh vegetables from your beautiful summer garden!

Some gardeners take a break until the next spring/summer gardening season, while others keep planting and harvesting through the fall and early winter months.

If you live in areas where you don’t expect frost until mid to late fall or in areas with a very mild winter, then you can have great success with a fall and early winter harvest.

If you want a fall harvest, now is the time to get your hands in the dirt and get planting! There are plenty of vegetable crops that actually prefer the cool fall weather and will produce a bigger and better crop because of it. Lettuce and other leafy greens will grow bigger without bolting in the summer heat. Fall vegetable crops can also be stored in a root cellar after harvest for use all winter long.

If you are new to fall gardening, there are a few things you’ll need to accomplish first before you decide on what vegetables to plant. We’ll go over the following steps to achieve the perfect fall garden:

  • Getting the garden beds ready
  • Starting the seeds indoors
  • Reading the seed packets: What to look for
  • Checking for frost dates

Next, we’ll talk about what vegetables to plant which will include:

Root Vegetables:

  • Beets
  • Turnips
  • Radishes
  • Carrots

Leafy Greens:

  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Kale

Preparing Your Fall Garden

Getting the Garden Beds Ready

Prior to planting, take some time to clean out your garden beds as best you can. Remove any spent plants, weeds, debris, and fallen fruit to discourage fungus and insects from making a home there.

If you’re planting in the same beds you’ve been growing in all summer, it’s a good idea to add some more nutrients before re-planting. Heavy feeding plants, like tomatoes or peppers, will have robbed the soil of many nutrients over the summer season that will need to be replaced before re-planting. Till the beds and add in plenty of compost or aged manure for your fall crops to thrive on.

Learn how to make your own DIY compost to keep your plants healthy:

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Starting the Seed Indoors

Starting seeds indoors is not just a garden task for early springtime. Your tiny seedlings for your fall garden will have a better chance of germinating and making it through those tender first few weeks if you start them in a controlled environment.

Reading the Seed Packets: What to Look For

Open packets of seeds ready for planting.

While most of the vegetables within this article are able to be planted now for a fall harvest, the growing time can differ vastly by variety. You need to be sure you have enough time in the season to take each crop from seed to fruit before the snow comes. Read each seed packet carefully to be sure you have enough time for your new plant to thrive.

Checking for Frost Dates

When vegetable gardening in the fall, it’s important to figure out your area’s first frost dates. This will help you decide which varieties to grow and when to plant them.

A map showing the average dates of the first fall freeze across the US from 1981-2009.

Average dates of the first fall freeze across the US. (Image via

Let’s Talk Which Vegetables to Plant in Your Fall Garden

Root Vegetables

There are an abundance of root vegetables that grow well in cold weather. There are even some that can be left in the soil throughout winter and dug up when needed, such as carrots.

The wonderful thing about the following vegetables is the seeds can be planted directly in the garden, cutting out time and energy spent on starting seeds.


Beets are a great vegetable to grow in the fall since they can survive frost and near-freezing temperatures. They grow quickly and have many different varieties of shapes and colors.

Click here for complete beet planting and harvesting information.


Turnips are a fantastic choice for fall gardening. They can survive a light frost with no problem, and fall crops are often sweeter and more tender than spring crops. They also grow quickly, reaching maturity in just two months.

Click here for complete planting and harvesting information


Radishes are an easy vegetable to grow, and they grow well in cooler weather, making them perfect for a fall garden.

Click here for complete planting and harvesting information.


Carrots are a great late-season crop that can easily withstand frost, making them perfect for your fall garden. And since they’re a staple in so many dishes, you can never have enough!

Click here for complete planting and harvesting information.

Leafy Greens

The heat of summer makes leafy greens go to seed, so they’re best grown in the spring and fall. Plant these easy-to-grow crops and you could be harvesting microgreens in just a few weeks! The quick return on these crops makes them true winners in the fall garden.


Spinach is a cold-hardy crop that can be grown in any season and will have no problem surviving the early fall frosts. As a bonus, spinach is great for you — it’s high in iron, calcium, and vitamins A, B and C.

Click here for complete planting and harvesting information.


Lettuce thrives in temperatures between 45 and 65 degrees F, making it an ideal fall crop for much of the US. It will tolerate a light frost and grows quickly.

Click here for complete planting and harvesting information.


Like spinach, kale is rich in vitamin and minerals, and is a favorite of health food enthusiasts. It can tolerate all frosts, making it perfect for your fall or winter garden.

Click here for complete planting and harvesting information.

**External links for informational purposes are courtesy of Old Farmer’s Almanac.

You don’t need a big plot of land to plant a fall garden and feed yourself and your family all winter long. Check out our urban gardening tips for growing a garden on your patio or balcony.

These 7 vegetables are fantastic crops to plant in the late summer for an early autumn yield… but they’re not the only ones! Grab your free deck of Survival Seeds playing cards NOW to discover exactly when and where to plant 45 other fruits and veggies for a year round harvest! (Just take care of shipping and they’re yours..)

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