Fall is creeping closer and closer each day which brings to mind cool evening breezes, pumpkins, festivals, the Fall Color Project (more on that later), and of course the fall vegetable growing season. Most gardeners seem to garden almost exclusively in the spring or summer and don’t even consider the fall. It’s probably since starting plants this time of year can be tricky. Fall plants in Tennessee need to be planted early enough to have a couple harvests before the frosts come and often the temperatures are not conducive for easy germination of seeds.
Once started fall vegetables will do fine through the early frosts and will continue to grow (albeit a little slower) until the cold sets in for good when they go dormant. Once spring comes back around the fall vegetables can spring back too and provide you with a delicious early harvest!
5 Fall Vegetables For Your Garden
- Spinach – Spinach is a delicious alternative to lettuce (which can also grown in the fall vegetable garden). It’s much more nutritious than lettuce which makes it a great substitute in salads or on sandwiches. Spinach in Tennessee will survive easily without cover into spring. If you want to keep it growing you will need some sort of cover like a row cover or cloche to keep the frosts off and hold in the warm temperatures.
- Brussels Sprouts – Lately my family has had a fascination with Brussels sprouts. At least my wife, son, and I have. My two daughters haven’t quite warmed up to them yet. When sauteed in grape seed oil they taste like popcorn! Brussels sprouts have more flavor when grown in the fall due to the cool temperatures which aid in generation of its natural sugars. Brussels spouts are extremely close relatives of broccoli and have many of the same health benefits. Broccoli isn’t on this list but also makes a great fall grown vegetable!
- Kale – Kale is another vegetables that has seen a revival of sorts over the last couple years. It’s highly nutritious and boasts high levels of calcium which is more easily absorbed into the body than calcium from milk and dairy products. Kale is frequently mixed together with fruits in smoothies. It adds the nutritional benefits while the fruits add the flavor!
- Chard – Chard is one of the most ornamental vegetables you will run across. It’s stems can be all sorts of colors from yellow to orange to red. It’s easy to grow and is full of vitamins C, K, and A among various other nutrients. It’s so pretty you may have trouble eating it!
- Beets and radishes! I’m sneaking two vegetables into this section but radishes are so easy to grow that they had to be included.
My only issue with radishes is finding interesting ways to eat them. Sliced in a salad is good, but what else can you do with a radish? Any ideas? Beets are great pickled and can be eaten as greens as well as a root crop.
If you want to start a fall garden from seed you still have time but if time gets away from you you can still plant transplants! Do you grow a vegetable garden in the fall? What do you plan on growing in your fall vegetable garden?