What to Plant NOW for Great Fall Harvests

Fall Garden Harvest

If you time it right you can be harvesting food from your garden right up through Thanksgiving (and sometimes Christmas) in the Upper Midwest. You don’t need any special hoop houses or low tunnels, you just need to start planting right now!

Below is a list of crops you can plant between now and the end of August in the Madison area. If you live in a colder or warmer area you can tweak the weeks forward or backward based on your average first frost. (Mine is around October 7.)

When you harvest alliums like onions and garlic, or spring crops like broccoli and cilantro, instead of leaving empty spaces in your garden pick something from this list and plant it! There’s still plenty of time left for growing this season.

During the last 2 weeks in July
Direct Seeded Crops: Carrots, Beets, Kohlrabi
Transplant: Broccoli, Cabbage, Green Onions
Cover Crop: Buckwheat

First two weeks in August
Direct Seed: Cilantro, Dill, Lettuce, Radish, Salad Mix, Spinach, Turnip

Last two weeks in August
Direct Seed: Arugula, Cilantro, Dill, Lettuce, Radish, Pac Choi, Salad Mix, Spinach, Turnip
Cover Crop: Buckwheat, Oats/Peas Mix

First week of September
Direct Seed: Radish, Salad Mix, Arugula

Direct Seed: Garlic

Tips for summer seed sowing:

  • Transplants are difficult to find this time of year. If you didn’t start your own, call around to a few local nurseries to see if they are selling fall seedlings. (Try Klein’s if you live in Madison.)
  • You must, must keep the seeds moist during germination. Water every 1-2 days.
  • Some seeds like lettuces like cool soil for germination. After seeding cover the bed with shade cloth or burlap. Check under the cloth every few days and remove as soon as the seeds germinate.
  • Select varieties that have shorter ripening times.
  • Growth starts to slow down as the days shorten. Planting on the early side will help compensate for the slower growth.


This is part of a series addressing Summer Gardening Challenges. I’m hoping to keep you motivated throughout the summer garden season! You can find posts about beating the weeds here and watering the right way during summer here. The first post listing all of the challenges is here.




Learn how to get better results.

Let's starting with talking about the top 5 mistakes most gardeners are making.


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