5 Fall Vegetables for Your Garden

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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!
  4. 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!
  5. 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?

A couple years ago I put together a fall vegetable garden design if you need some ideas on how to arrange your fall vegetable garden.

12 thoughts on “5 Fall Vegetables for Your Garden”

  1. We've actually already cleared our garden, and are ready to plant a mixture of greens. We always mix mustard and turnip greens. (Our tomatoes, okra and peppers were just barely hanging on, so we put them out of their misery. Our little part of the state has still not had rain in so so long… Tipton County, West Tennessee)

  2. Have you ever used cover crops? If so, which ones? I've planned them for the first time this year, and I'm interested in other people's experiences.

    1. Tiffany,

      I have used cover crops and they are a great idea. They keep the soil in place and return nutrients to it for the following season. Just make sure the ones you pick are annual and will die off if you are using raised beds. I like rye grass for areas you plan to till in later, clover is a good one too. I think this subject needs its own post!

  3. Thinly sliced Radishes probably could be used in a home made salsa, or in a slaw, or potato salad. I love their peppery taste and can eat them whole and raw.

  4. Dave, Have you ever done a lasagne garden? I just started one because I don't have any extra soil. I put about 2-3 inches of compost on top of the cardboard, then a layer of partially dried grass clippings, a layer of chopped leaves on top. I have more compost but its fresh compost and I didn't know if I can plant in that. I hate to go out and buy bags of "top soil" What do you think? Helen

    1. Helen,

      I do most of my garden beds with lasagna gardening or sheet composting. I generally haven't had to worry about the condition of the compost. typically though I'll use leaves, grass clippings, coffee grounds, newspaper or cardboard and anything else I can find. It works very nicely!

  5. Thank you! I will go ahead and fill it up with more fresh compost and see what happens. Just hoping these 90 degree temperatures will moderate a little and that Isaac will come our way for a day or two. I'm tired of watering. Helen

  6. Here is a radish recipe that a vegan friend lakes …it is great!!

    Agave Roasted Icicle Radishes


    1 ¾ pound of radishes (about 2 bunches) tops removed

    2 Tbsp (or less) agave

    1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

    Salt and pepper to taste


    Oven 450.

    Set cast iron skillet (empty) in oven to preheat.

    Meanwhile in a medium bowl, combine agave, vinegar. ½ tsp of salt, and ½ tsp pepper.

    Add radishes and toss until coated well.

    Transfer the radishes to the hot cast iron pan and roast, stirring occasionally, until the radishes are crisp tender. (About 15-20 minutes.)

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