In a fall garden, the frost isn’t always a bad thing. Indeed, the first frost sweetens the crop, turning starches into sugars and improving the flavor of vegetables.
Wait until the first frost before harvesting these cold-tolerant vegetables in your fall garden.
1. Kale. This popular green is easy to grow in spring and fall, but autumn’s harvest is known for its sweet and nutty taste. In Northern gardens, grow kale in a cold frame.
2. Collards. Frost-kissed collards that are picked, cleaned and braised with seasoned stock are traditional on many Southern holiday tables. These hardy greens can handle freezing temps into the teens, making them a winter-long crop in zones 8 and below.
3. Rutabagas and turnips. Cold-hardy rutabagas are a cross between a cabbage and a turnip and, just like turnips, you can eat the greens as well as the roots. Give both rutabagas and turnips lots of moisture and work compost into the soil to help it hold water.
4. Carrots and beets. These semi-hardy roots tolerate light frosts and temps as low as 29 degrees. With proper planning, you can have both spring and fall crops in many parts of the country.
5. Swiss Chard. Chard’s bright stems and bold veining glow in window boxes as ornamentals and provide tasty and nutritious greens through the fall. Set plants in late summer for a fall harvest, giving lots of water when the weather is hot.
6. Leeks. Plant leeks in late summer for a fall harvest. This cousin of the onion is ideal for a raised bed garden, planted deep and covered with soil to achieve the white stem. In zones 7 and warmer, leeks will overwinter in the garden, ensuring a winter’s worth of leek and potato soup. Get started on your fall garden now.
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