Fall veggies produce their best flavor and quality when they grow during cooler temperatures. Planting a successful fall vegetable garden requires thoughtful planning.
Radishes mature quickly and are very hardy. Plant them three to six weeks before the average frost, 1/2-inch deep and 1 inch apart. They need six to eight hours of sunlight, and it's best to water them deeply, but less frequently. They're ready to harvest when the roots are approximately 1 inch around.
Recipes with radishes:
Radish and parsley salad with lemon anchovy dressing
Quinoa salad with radishes and feta
Mason jar corn, edamame and radish salad
How to make prepared mustard:
- Mix 1 cup mustard seeds and 1 cup white vinegar
- Cover with plastic wrap and let soak overnight, until seeds have absorbed vinegar
- Pulse in food processor with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Transfer to jar and refrigerate
Plant mustard in the garden four to six weeks before the first expected fall frost. Sow the seeds 1/3- to 1/2-inch deep and 3 to 5 inches apart. Try to plant in an area with full sunlight, but be aware that it will survive in freezing temperatures too. Mustard likes plenty of water, so keep the soil moist but not wet. Fortunately, mustard is naturally free of pests!
Easy mustard recipes:
Mustard greens and ham hocks
Sauteed mustard greens
Apple and cheddar quesadilla with honey mustard
Lettuce is considered a carefree crop, compared to others. Plant head lettuce 8 inches apart and 1/2-inch deep. You'll need a well-drained bed that gets about six hours of sunlight per day. Give it 1 inch of water when the top inch of soil feels dry, or about every five to 10 days. Harvest once the heads are fully formed and firm.
Recipes with head lettuce:
Thai chicken lettuce wraps with honey-peanut drizzle
Mango shrimp lettuce cups with sweet red chili sauce
Spicy and sweet tofu lettuce wraps with carrots and celery
Leaf lettuce needs six to eight hours of direct sunlight a day and prefers cool soil. Plant the seeds 1/4-inch deep and space 6 to 8 inches apart. It also needs frequent light watering, but be careful not to overwater. Harvest lettuce leaves as soon as they are big enough to eat.
Recipes with leaf lettuce:
Chinese chicken salad with homemade dressing
Blue cheese BLT wraps
Cod tacos with avocado cream sauce and lettuce
Kale is a member of the cabbage family and easy to grow. It needs full sunlight and a soil temperature between 40 and 70 degrees F. Plant the seeds about 1/2-inch deep and space them 12 to 15 inches apart. The soil should remain evenly moist, but give the top layer time to dry between watering. Kale is usually ready for harvest 70 to 95 days after planting.
Recipes with kale:
Italian pulled chicken sliders with kale
Kale and bacon frittata
Kale butternut squash and pancetta pizza
Onions can be grown from seeds, but it's much easier to start them from sets, or mini-bulbs that have been started commercially and then dried to postpone growth. Onion sets are best planted in the fall in mild-winter regions. You don't want to plant onions entirely under the soil, as they need room to grow, so plant them about 1 inch deep and 3 to 5 inches apart. They only need 1 inch of water per week. They also need 12 to 14 hours of sunlight per day. Onions are ready to pull when their tops have fallen over.
Recipes with onions:
Caramelized onion and roast beef grilled cheese
Honey-balsamic chicken with red onion plum saucec
Buffalo onion rings with cilantro dipping sauce
For a fall harvest, start seedlings indoors six to eight weeks before the last average frost. When the seedlings grow 4 inches tall, transplant them in your garden 5 inches apart. Kohlrabi needs at least six hours of sunlight per day and moist, well-drained soil. Give 1 to 1-1/2 inches of water per week if it doesn't rain. Harvest kohlrabi stems when they are young and tender and about 3 inches in diameter.
Recipes with kohlrabi:
Kohlrabi soup with fresh parsley
Celery root, kohlrabi and apple puree
did you know?
Kohlrabi keeps for two to three weeks in the fridge. It can be peeled and eaten raw with dips or in salads, or cooked like turnips and rutabaga. Kohlrabi tastes like a mix between cabbage and turnips, but it is milder and slightly sweeter.
More fall garden tips
Fall garden decorating tips
Bring birds into your fall garden
How to plan your fall veggie garden