Vegetables to plant in fall for spring harvest include greens like collard and mustard and root crops like beets, carrots, and radishes.

Fresh Vegetables For Home Plant America

By sowing seeds or planting seedlings of certain cool-season veggies in the fall, you’ll have a head start on sprouts and young plants already growing when optimal spring planting conditions arrive.

You’ll discover easy tips for fall prep and winter protection of your fall-planted crops so you can reap the rewards of an early harvest next year. Read this to get ready for a bounty of fresh, homegrown vegetables straight from your garden as soon as spring arrives!

Fall Vegetables That Will Jumpstart Your Spring Garden 

1. Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts Mini Size Plant America

🌱 Key Points
  • Growing season: Fall, Winter
  • Leaf shape: Oblong, Cabbage-like leaves
  • Specific needs: Steady moisture, Rich soil
  • Common pest: Aphids, Cabbage loopers

Brussels sprouts have a reputation for being an “acquired taste,” but when vegetables are planted in the fall for spring harvest, their sweet, nutty flavor shines. Sow Brussels sprout seeds in late summer for a fall planting that will produce sprouts well into next spring and even early summer. The mini cabbage heads develop where leaves join the thick central stalk.

Provide drainage, organic fertilizer, and consistent moisture for sprouts to mature properly over winter and early spring. Thin the sprouts to six to eight inches apart for optimal growing conditions. Brussels sprouts are a cold-hardy crop that tolerates light frosts, so they require minimal winter protection in most areas. 

2. Collard Greens

Vibrant Collard Greens Plant America

🌱 Key Points
  • Growing season: Fall, Overwinter for spring harvest
  • Leaf shape: Broad leaves, Upright stalks
  • Specific needs: Cool temperature, Steady moisture
  • Common pest: Flea beetles, Caterpillars

Easy-to-grow collard greens are one of the best vegetables to sow in the fall for a head start on your spring vegetable garden. The broad, ruffled leaves can be harvested almost immediately after sprouting in spring. Plant collards in late summer for a fall harvest or let plants overwinter for an early spring crop. 

The hardy greens can withstand light to moderate frosts. Collards thrive in cooler weather, so a fall planting allows plants to establish and grow slowly over winter for an early and abundant harvest come March and April. Provide adequate spacing between plants at 12 to 18 inches and amend the soil with compost to promote healthy growth.

3. Kale

Kale In Wood Pot Plant America

🌱 Key Points
  • Growing season: Cool-season crop for fall harvest, Spring harvest
  • Leaf shape: Cupped, Curly leaves on thick stems
  • Specific needs: Fertile, well-drained soil, Even moisture
  • Common pest: Caterpillars, Aphids

For those looking to extend their growing season, kale is one of the ideal vegetables to plant in the fall for harvesting in autumn and early spring. Kale can handle light to moderate frosts, making it a perfect cold-season crop. Plant kale seeds in late summer for a fall harvest or allow plants to overwinter for an early spring crop.

Adjust the soil with compost before planting and provide four to eight inches between rows and 12 to 18 inches between plants for optimal growth. Irrigate kale regularly throughout fall and early spring to keep the soil moist and not soggy.

If temperatures dip below 20 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period, cover kale plants with protective fabric row covers secured to the ground with rocks or soil. Harvesting outer leaves throughout winter allows inner leaves to grow for the earliest spring harvest possible.

4. Swiss Chard

Colorful Swiss Chard Plant America

🌱 Key Points
  • Growing season: Fall planted, Spring harvested
  • Leaf shape: Broad, Crinkly leaves with thick stems
  • Specific needs: Fertile, Evenly moist soil
  • Common pest: Beet leafhoppers, Leaf miners

Swiss chard is an excellent choice for those vegetables to plant in fall to harvest in spring. The hardy greens tolerate light frosts and can continue producing leaves throughout winter. Plant seeds of Swiss chard varieties like ‘Bright Lights,’ ‘Ruby Red’ or ‘Rhubarb’ in late summer for a fall crop.

Space plants 12 to 18 inches apart in fertile, well-draining soil with consistent moisture. Swiss chard has fewer pest issues than other greens, though leaf miners can be problematic. Cover plants with floating row cover material secured with soil or rocks if temperatures plummet below 15 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period.

Harvest individual outer leaves throughout the winter, reserving inner leaves for the earliest spring harvest possible. Swiss chard grows as temperatures warm in spring, providing a steady supply of delicious, nutritious greens for your spring and summer vegetable garden. The flavor of chard gets sweeter after a frost, making winter-harvested leaves a real treat.

5. Beets

Chopped Red Beets Plant America

🌱 Key Points
  • Growing season: Early spring, Mid to late summer harvest
  • Leaf shape: Broad, Round leaves on central stems
  • Specific needs: Fertile, Consistent moisture
  • Common pest: Leafhoppers, Flea beetles

Beets are an excellent vegetable to plant in the fall for harvesting immature baby beets in early spring. Beet seeds germinate quickly when soil temperatures are above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, so a late summer/early fall planting establishes beets for an overwinter crop.

Plant beet seeds one to two inches deep and one to two inches apart in heavily amended soil. Beets prefer soil rich in organic matter. Provide even moisture and cool temperatures around 55 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal growth. Beets can handle light frosts to 20 degrees Fahrenheit with minimal protection. 

Cover beet seedlings if temperatures dip lower for an extended period. Harvest baby beets in spring once they reach golf ball size for the tenderest, most flavorful roots. Mature beets will be stored in the soil to harvest as needed into mid-spring or allowed to grow larger for a more traditional summer beet harvest. Either way, fall-planted beets give you the longest possible growing season!

6. Carrots

Carrots From Garden To Home Plant America

🌱 Key Points
  • Growing season: Early spring, Late summer harvest
  • Leaf shape: Fine, Lace leaves grow from a central crown
  • Specific needs: Loose, sandy soil, Even moisture
  • Common pest: Carrot rust flies, Carrot worms

Carrots are the vegetables to plant in the fall for spring harvest. Carrot seeds germinate best in soil temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit,  making fall an ideal time to plant. Sow carrot seeds directly in the garden one-quarter to half an inch deep around mid-August through mid-September.

Carrots prefer loose, sandy soil to allow roots to grow straight. Before planting, adjust the soil with plenty of compost and take it to a fine tilth. Space seeds one to two inches apart in rows 8 to 12 inches apart. Keep the soil consistently moist while the carrots establish through fall and winter.

Harvest carrots as needed throughout the winter, or leave mature carrots in the ground to enjoy in early spring. Carrot roots will hold well in the garden all winter, providing fresh carrots from your fall planting into next spring. Mature carrots can also be stored in moist sand in the refrigerator for use all winter long.

7. Radishes

Beauty Red Radishes Plant America

🌱 Key Points
  • Growing season: Early spring, Late summer harvest
  • Leaf shape: Narrow leaves, Scaly texture
  • Specific needs: Loose, fertile soil, Consistent moisture
  • Common pest: Flea beetles, Root maggots

For a super fast harvest from your fall planting, radishes are one of the best vegetables to plant in the fall to harvest in spring. They mature quickly in about three to four weeks, whether planted in late summer for a fall crop or allowed to overwinter for an early spring harvest.

Sow radish seeds directly in the garden one-quarter to a half inch deep, from mid-August through early September, for a fall planting. Radishes prefer loose, fertile soil with consistent moisture space seeds one to two inches apart in rows about 8 to 12 inches apart. Adjust the soil with organic matter like compost before planting to boost yields.

Harvest radishes in the fall once they reach full size. For an early spring harvest, leave some radishes in the ground and cover plants with protective row covers if temperatures drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Radishes can withstand some freezing but are less cold-tolerant than carrots and beets.

8. Lettuce

Fresh Lettuce In Backyard Plant America

🌱 Key Points
  • Growing season: Early spring, Fall
  • Leaf shape: Various, Depending on the variety
  • Specific needs: Cool temperature, Consistent moisture
  • Common pest: Flea beetles, Root maggots

Plant various types of lettuce seeds in late summer or early fall for one of the earliest spring harvests from your fall garden. Lettuce matures quickly, and many varieties can handle some light frost, making it a versatile vegetable to plant in the fall to harvest in spring.

Lettuce starts to bolt (produce flowering stalks) when day lengths get longer in spring, so aim to harvest most of your crop before mid-spring for the sweetest, most tender leaves. A fall lettuce planting allows you to enjoy fresh, homegrown lettuce well into spring.

9. Turnips

Fresh Colorful Turnips Plant America

🌱 Key Points
  • Growing season: Early spring, Late summer
  • Leaf shape: Oval, Triangular
  • Specific needs: Fertile, well-drained soil, Consistent moisture
  • Common pest: Flea beetles, Root maggots

For many harvests from a single planting, add turnips to the list of best vegetables to plant in fall to harvest in spring. Turnip seeds germinate quickly in soil temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit, making fall an ideal planting time.

Often overlooked, turnips have a sweet and mild flavor when young. Enjoy a steady supply of fresh turnips in early spring if planted in fall, and remember to harvest the nutrient-dense turnip greens for delicious winter salads. Fall-planted turnips give gardeners several harvests in a single growing season!

10. Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi Flavorful Garden Plant America

🌱 Key Points
  • Growing season: Early spring, Fall
  • Leaf shape: Bulb shape, Round
  • Specific needs: Fertile, well-drained soil, Consistent moisture
  • Common pest: Caterpillars, Aphids

Kohlrabi, along with radishes, is one of the quickest vegetables to harvest from a fall garden. The bulbous stems mature in around 50 days, whether planted in late summer for a fall crop or allowed to overwinter for an early spring harvest.

Sow kohlrabi seeds directly in the garden half to one inch deep and thin seedlings three to six inches apart. Kohlrabi prefers fertile, well-drained soil that is kept consistently moist. Adjust the soil with compost before planting to boost yields.

Enjoy the mild, cabbagelike flavor of kohlrabi in soups, stews, or peeled and eaten raw as a crunchy snack straight from the garden. You’ll reap multiple harvests in a single season by planting kohlrabi in the fall.

11. Leeks

Leeks In Your Backyard Plant America

🌱 Key Points
  • Growing season: Early spring or late winter, Mid to late fall
  • Leaf shape: Bulb shape, Cylindrical
  • Specific needs: Loose, well-drained soil, Even moisture
  • Common pest: Thrips, Leaf miners

For an extended harvest period from your fall garden, consider planting leeks for a winter/spring crop. Leeks have a long maturation time of three to six months but can withstand some cold, making them a good choice for vegetables to plant in the fall for spring harvest.

Harvest mature leeks once the bulbs reach one to one and a half inches in diameter. The white bases and portion of the green stalks are edible. Leeks become sweeter after enduring a light frost.

While leeks are normally planted as transplants, a fall sowing gives the plants a head start on next year’s spring harvest. With proper winter protection, leeks planted in late summer or early fall will provide an abundant harvest after the ground thaws again in March and April.

12. Onions

Onion Fresh Garden Goodness Plant America

🌱 Key Points
  • Growing season: Early spring or late winter, Mid to late fall harvest
  • Leaf shape: Bulb shape, Globular
  • Specific needs: Loose, fertile soil, Even moisture
  • Common pest: Thrips, Onion maggots

Onions are at the top among the vegetables to plant in the fall to harvest in spring. Onion sets and seeds planted in late summer can overwinter in the garden to provide the earliest spring harvest.

Plant onion sets two to three inches deep and six inches apart in loose, fertile soil in late summer. Onions prefer soil that is kept evenly moist, so provide regular irrigation throughout fall. Mulch around plants when temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Harvest green onions and scallions once stems reach maturity in spring. Bulb onions will continue to cure and sweeten in the garden after the tops die back until soil temperatures reach 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Onions planted in fall can provide harvests well into mid-spring.

With their cold hardiness, sweet flavor, and storage longevity, onions are among the best vegetables to plant in the fall garden for a bountiful spring harvest. Onion sets and seeds sown in September will establish a lush crop of overwintering onions come March.

13. Peas

Homegrown Sweet Peas Plant America

🌱 Key Points
  • Growing season: Early spring, Fall
  • Leaf shape: Pod shape, Distinctive pea pods containing pea
  • Specific needs: Cool, moist soil, Steady support
  • Common pest: Pea weevils, Aphids

For an extremely early start on spring vegetables, planting peas in late summer allows them to overwinter for a harvest as soon as the ground thaws in early spring. While peas are typically considered a cool-season spring crop, fall planting offers a way to extend the harvest into the next year.

Directly sow pea seeds one to one and a half inches deep and two to four inches apart in August, spacing rows 12 to 24 inches apart. Peas need cool soil around 50 degrees Fahrenheit for best germination and growth. Amend the soil with organic matter and provide even moisture throughout fall.

Fall-planted peas can surprise gardeners with an abundant spring harvest. With proper winter protection and steady moisture, peas sown in late summer will establish vigorously over winter and reward you with fresh pea pods after a long, cold spell. Consider fall planting if you crave homegrown fresh peas as early as possible!

14. Cabbage

Fresh Cabbages Plant America

🌱 Key Points
  • Growing season: Early spring, Late summer harvest
  • Leaf shape: Solid, Rounded heads
  • Specific needs: Fertile soil, Even moisture
  • Common pest: Imported cabbage worms, Cabbage loopers

For a swift reward for your fall planting efforts, cabbage is one of the best vegetables to plant in the fall garden for spring harvest. Cabbage matures quickly, within two to three months, so a late summer planting provides heads for fall enjoyment and again in early spring.

Directly sow cabbage seeds one-quarter to half inch deep, spacing rows 18 to 24 inches apart and thinning seedlings 12 to 24 inches, depending on the variety. Cabbage thrives in cool temperatures, so a fall sowing establishes plants to endure winter and mature first thing in spring.

Plant cold-hardy cabbage varieties like ‘Golden Acre,’ ‘Savoy Ace,’ and ‘Hardy Great’ for the best winter survival. When the ground freezes, cover plants with protective fabric row covers secured with soil or rocks.

With the right variety selection and care, fall-planted cabbage will overwinter beautifully in all but the coldest regions. Consider planting some of your spring cabbage crops in late summer to extend the harvest season and enjoy homegrown cabbage all year!

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