7 Gourmet Vegetables to Plant for Fall Harvest
Broccoli, lettuce, kale, arugula, radishes—most gardeners know these “cool season” crops fail to thrive in summer but also grow crisp and tasty in the lengthening days of early fall. Yet these grocery store staples are but the tip of the iceberg of fall crops. Colorful, slightly salty orach greens and sweet and juicy fennel bulbs are but two that you might have missed as you planned your fall garden.
Despite the name, cool-season crops must be planted in the dog days of summer in order to mature before the first frost of fall. Unlike frost-sensitive “warm season” crops, most fall vegetables will continue to produce until a deep freeze hits (meaning all winter in mild climates), but only if they get up to size while the weather is still fairly warm.
To determine the optimal planting date, simply count backward from the average date of first frost in your area (find the date here) by the number of “days to maturity” listed on the seed package. Orach, for example, requires 50 to 60 days from sowing seed to maturity, so if you live in Memphis where the first frost usually comes around November 13th, plant it by mid-September. In Minneapolis, where the frost comes around October 5th, plant it no later than mid-August.