323-What to Plant Now for the Fall Vegetable Garden-Encore Presentation

| Plant, Podcast

A fall vegetable garden is a treasure too many gardeners miss out on. In fact, fall is my favorite growing season, a time when I can grow an array of cool-season vegetables with relief from the pest and disease pressure that comes with summer. In this week’s podcast, I share the best crops to grow for fall and the knowledge and techniques for a successful season.

Arugula, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, peas, radishes, spinach, Swiss chard and more can be grown in fall, but the time to start sowing the seeds is now, as August arrives, give or take a couple of weeks depending on your zone. Then the plants will mature and continue to produce in September and October and maybe even November and December depending on your actual first frost date this year. 


Cabbage is a cool-season brassica crop that's well-suited to a fall vegetable garden.

Cabbage is a cool-season brassica crop that’s well-suited to a fall vegetable garden.


Not only are pest and disease issues less of a concern during these months, but the weeds also slow down a bit, alleviating much of the hard work of gardening. The cooler, milder weather of fall also makes time in the garden more comfortable and enjoyable than working in the heat and humidity of July and August

To plan a fall vegetable garden, the first step is to learn your average first frost date and work backward from there to identify the right time to start seeds indoors and then transplant the seedlings into the garden. For comprehensive show notes with details on starting and protecting fall seeds and seedlings, and my top crops for the fall vegetable garden, see the original post from episode 122. You should also check out my fall vegetable garden video walkthrough. You’ll also find it helpful to review my blog post on the best plants for a fall vegetable garden.

You can extend the growing season even longer into winter with DIY cold frame. For more related podcasts, blog posts, videos and products that will help you along in your fall vegetable garden, see the Links & Resources section below.


What to Plant in a Fall Vegetable Garden

Cool-season seedlings are readily available at your local nursery when the time is right to plant your fall vegetable garden.


How to Prime Spinach Seeds

Spinach is a classic fall crop. This leafy green vegetable will grow throughout fall and even past a couple of frosts in winter. Growing spinach from seed can be tricky, but it’s easier when you learn how to prime spinach seeds.

Spinach seeds are viable for two or three years — and three years is pushing it. Even the freshest seed can give you a hard time when you want it to germinate, though you can overcome this by priming. 

Barbara Pleasant of GrowVeg offers great instructions on priming spinach seeds. It starts a week before you plan on sowing the seeds. Take the seeds and soak them in room temperature water for 24 hours, then place the wet seeds on a paper towel and give them a day or two to dry out. Place the dry seeds in an airtight container and store them in a cool place until it’s time to sow. The primed seeds should germinate in five days, cutting germination time by half or better.



Spinach is so easy to grow and harvest. It is also very cold hardy, making it a stand-out crop in the fall vegetable garden.


If you haven’t already listened to this week’s podcast on fall vegetable gardening, you can scroll to the top of the page and click the Play icon in the green bar under the page title to do so now.

What crops do you plant in your fall vegetable garden? Let us know in the comments below.

Links & Resources

Some product links in this guide are affiliate links. See full disclosure below.

Episode 022: The Year-round Vegetable Gardener with Niki Jabbour

Episode 045: Succession Planting: Practical Tips for Growing More Food

Episode 048: The Simple Science Behind Great Gardening, with Lee Reich

Episode 106: Livestock Panels: Top 10 Uses in the Garden for This Versatile Material

Episode 110: Why Mulch Matters in Every Garden: What You Need to Know

Episode 122: Fall Vegetable Garden Success: Best Plants and Tips for Cool-Season Growing

Episode 220: Fall Succession Planning and Planting Tips, with Meg Cowden

Episode 238: Peat Moss: Examining the Challenges of Its Ongoing Use in the Face of Climate Change

Episode 260: A Primer on Hydroponic Gardening: Growing in Water 

joegardener Blog: The Numbers on Fertilizer Labels, What They Mean

joegardener Blog: The Best Soil Temperature for Seed Germination

joegardener Blog: What to Grow in a Fall Vegetable Garden

joegardener blog: How Do I Grow Beets?

joegardener blog: How Do I Grow Broccoli?

joegardener blog: How Do I Grow Brussels Sprouts? 

joegardener blog: How Do I Grow Cabbage?

joegardener blog: How Do I Grow Cauliflower?

joegardener blog: How Do I Grow Lettuce?

joegardener blog: How Do I Grow Peas?

joegardener blog: How Do I Grow Spinach?

joegardener blog: How Do I Grow Swiss Chard?

joegardener blog: How Do I Grow Radishes?

joegardener blog: The Complete Guide to Growing Garlic (Everything You Need to Know)

joegardenerTV YouTube: Easy Edibles for Every Fall Vegetable Garden

joegardenerTV YouTube: How to Amend Raised Bed Garden Soil for Continued Health

joegardenerTV YouTube: Starting Beet Seeds in Containers for Better Results

joegardenerTV YouTube: How to Build a Simple Cold Frame

joegardener IGTV: How to Micro-Irrigate Your Seeds for Better Germination Success

joegardener free resource: Fall Garden Edibles Checklist

joegardener free resource: Cool Flowers Planting Guide

joegardener free resource:  Seed Temperature Chart 

joegardener Online Gardening Academy™: Popular courses on gardening fundamentals; managing pests, diseases & weeds; seed starting and more.

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Organic Vegetable Gardening: My new premium online course. The course is designed to be a comprehensive guide to starting, growing, nurturing, and harvesting your favorite vegetables: no matter what you love to eat, no matter where you live, no matter your level of gardening experience.

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Master Seed Starting: Everything you need to know to start your own plants from seed — indoors and out. 

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Beginning Gardener Fundamentals: Essential principles to know to create a thriving garden.

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Growing Epic Tomatoes: Learn how to grow epic tomatoes with Joe Lamp’l and Craig LeHoullier. 

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Master Pests, Diseases & Weeds: Learn the proactive steps to take to manage pests, diseases and weeds for a more successful garden with a lot less frustration. Just $47 for lifetime access!

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Perfect Soil Recipe Master Class: Learn how to create the perfect soil environment for thriving plants.

Earthbound Expeditions: Discover South Africa with Joe Lamp’l

joegardener Newsletter

joegardener Facebook

joegardener Facebook Group

joegardener Instagram

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joegardener Twitter

joegardenerTV YouTube

Growing a Greener World®  


GGW Episode 605: Starting Seeds; A to Z

Spinach seed priming instructions from GrowVeg

Meg Cowden – Seed to Fork

Bt – Bacillus thuringiensis

Floating row cover

AG-19 row cover 

Garden hoops 

Frost blanket

Natural burlap

Shade cloth

Rain Bird® Drip Irrigation System

Green plastic snow fencing

USDA Zone Finder

Almanac First & Last Frost Date Finder

Proven Winners ColorChoice – Our podcast episode sponsor and Brand Partner of 

Dramm – Our podcast episode sponsor and Brand Partner of 

Greenhouse Megastore – Our podcast episode sponsor and Brand Partner of – Enter code JOEGARDENER for 15% off your order

Disclosure: Some product links in this guide are affiliate links, which means we get a commission if you purchase. However, none of the prices of these resources have been increased to compensate us, and compensation is not an influencing factor on their inclusion here. The selection of all items featured in this post and podcast were based solely on merit and in no way influenced by any affiliate or financial incentive, or contractual relationship. At the time of this writing, Joe Lamp’l has professional relationships with the following companies who may have products included in this post and podcast: Corona Tools, Milorganite, Soil3, Greenhouse Megastore, Territorial Seed Company, Earth’s Ally, Proven Winners ColorChoice and Dramm. These companies are either Brand Partners of and/or advertise on our website. However, we receive no additional compensation from the sales or promotion of their product through this guide. The inclusion of any products mentioned within this post is entirely independent and exclusive of any relationship.

About Joe Lamp'l

Joe Lamp’l is the creator and “joe” behind joe gardener®. His lifetime passion and devotion to all things horticulture has led him to a long-time career as one of the country’s most recognized and trusted personalities in organic gardening and sustainability. That is most evident in his role as host and creator of Emmy Award-winning Growing a Greener World®, a national green-living lifestyle series on PBS currently broadcasting in its tenth season. When he’s not working in his large, raised bed vegetable garden, he’s likely planting or digging something up, or spending time with his family on their organic farm just north of Atlanta, GA.

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