8 Easy Vegetables to Grow for Big Fall Harvests

woman holding spinach leaf

Me with a leaf of Giant Winter spinach. The name is no joke!

Is it still hot and buggy where you live? Are you getting tired of your garden? Are you starting to feel overwhelmed by your harvest? (I’m looking at you zucchini, cucumber, and tomato plants…)

If so, then I can totally understand why you’re feeling less than enthusiastic about planting a fall garden. I’m an avid and passionate gardener, and even I have a tough time getting myself into the garden to plant in the middle of summer.

The thing that motivates me? The knowledge that cooler weather is coming, and when it does, I’ll be excited to work in my garden again.

And I know my future self, the one who really wants to eat fresh spinach salads throughout October and November, isn’t going to be happy with me if I don’t get my butt out to my garden and plant some easy fall garden vegetables to provide me with big harvests way past my first frost.

I’ve been trying my darnedest to convince you to try planting a fall garden so you’ll experience the joyful pleasure of harvesting lots of food in November. Yo’ll feel like you’ve cheated the weather somehow! Everyone else has retired their gardens for the season, but you’re still getting plenty of food each week. It’s such a satisfying feeling!

Here are my top picks for eight easy fall vegetables to grow in your garden for abundant harvests all through fall and early winter.

8 EASY FALL GARDEN VEGETABLES TO GROW FOR BIG HARVESTS

 

arugula growing in fall garden

Arugula still going strong under cover on November 20.

Arugula
If you’ve had trouble growing arugula in the spring, you’re not alone. The lengthening days and increasing heat make it bolt (send up seed heads) pretty quickly. Fall arugula is a whole different experience! You’ll be pleased at how many cuttings you get and it can survive light frosts. With a little protection it can last into early winter.

Beets
Unlike a lot of other fall vegetables, beets have no trouble germinating in the heat of summer. And they’ll be ready for harvest as the weather cools down and you’re in the mood for roasted root vegetables. I like to mix yellow, red and Chioggia varieties together in one garden bed. (You can read more about how to have eat beets from your garden all winter long here.)

cilantro from the fall garden

Cilantro harvest from my garden December 2.

Cilantro
Cilantro is a tricky one to grow in the heat of summer since it sends up flower heads at the first sign of a hot day. Like arugula, fall cilantro flourishes in the cool days of fall. You won’t be disappointed!

mizuna in vegetable garden

Mizuna
If you like salads with mixed greens try growing mizuna this fall. It’s a quick grower and you can start harvesting the baby greens after about a month. If you like braising greens like kale and chard, mizuna would make a good addition to this mix.

Pac Choi
I like to throw baby pac choi in with my spinach salads. You can also braise or saute it with other greens for a delicious side dish.

Radishes
A bright pop of pink is a joyful sight in fall as the rest of the garden is turning brown and dying. Try a unique variety like watermelon radishes. They’re an eye catching addition to any fall or winter salad.

lettuce harvest in a basket

Salad Mix
Cut and come again salad mixes are a snap to grow in the fall. Don’t bother paying the high prices at the grocery store for gourmet salad mixes. Grow your own!

Spinach
Spinach is one of the only vegetables that can survive the harsh winter in Wisconsin with no protection. And, it will start to grow again in the lengthening days of the following March so you’ll get a double harvest season. It’s so hardy I’ve picked spinach from my garden on Christmas morning!

turnips in the garden

Turnips
If you turn your nose up at turnips, I don’t blame you. I did too, until I tasted a Hakurei turnip. Crisp, mild, and tender, it’s nothing like the turnips you may be used to seeing at the grocery store and market. They’re like radishes, but more tender and without the bite.

Have I convinced you to try some of these easy fall garden vegetables? I hope so!

It’s taken me several years of experimentation to figure out which varieties grow best in fall, the ideal planting times, and how to keep them going in fall with some extra protection. You could spend the next few years experimenting yourself, or you could save time and let me help you with my online class – Extend Your Season: Plant a Fall Garden.

Get started on your fall garden right away!

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More reading about fall gardens:

8 Easy Vegetables to Grow in Your Fall Garden

How to Eat Beets From Your Garden All Year Round

Plant Now for Spinach Next Spring

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