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!

During the summer season, no matter how much we love gardening, many of us start to get tired of our gardens. Maybe it’s hot and humid and buggy where you live. Maybe you’re starting to feel overwhelmed by the big harvests coming in. (I’m looking at you zucchini, cucumber, and tomato plants…) Or maybe you went away for a vacation and came back to an out of control garden that needs a lot of work.

The summer gardening season ain’t easy! But, what if I told you that the fall gardening season is so, so, so much easier? It is, I swear!

The thing that can be the biggest challenge with a fall garden is that you have to plant it in the summer. If you wait until fall it’s usually too late (unless you live in a hot climate).

And, as we just talked about, we’re tired in the summer. It’s likely 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. You’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 fall vegetables to grow in your garden for abundant harvests all through fall and early winter.

arugula growing in fall garden

Arugula still going strong under cover on November 20.

8 Easy Fall Garden Vegetables To Grow for Big Fall Harvests 

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.

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 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

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.

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 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

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!


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




Get my best advice for free.

Get on the list to start receiving practical gardening advice right to your inbox.


Leave a Comment

5 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Garden Right Now.

Discover these very common mistakes and start receiving my best advice for free!
Privacy Policy
© 2019 Creativevegetablegardener.com. All Rights Reserved. | Design by Rebecca Pollock + Development by Brandi Bernoskie
Free video filmed in my garden - find out when to plant spinach in your garden & which varieties perform best.
Enter your Name and E-mail address below.
We guarantee 100% privacy. Your information will not be shared.