When to Plant Fall Vegetables

Planning dates for fall garden


For some, planting veggies in the fall is second nature. For others, planting veggies can be like naming the constellations: difficult to remember and easy to second guess.

Well, fear not, for we are here to lay out the basics of fall planting that will not only make things easier for you, but also a lot more fun!

The most advantageous perk of fall planting comes with the ease of working in the cooler weather. The vegetable plants you choose will of course have to be capable of roughing it in the cooler temps, but once you have picked your harvest, it’s as easy as pie from there.

As we’ve mentioned before at GrowJoy, testing your soil can be the most critical first step in preparing your garden for the fall and making sure that your investment is returned with the spoils of a beautiful and delicious fall garden.

Testing your soil can be as inexpensive as $1.50, but it can be as valuable as weeding your garden. This test will prepare you for what plants will respond the best come fall, and will allow you to manipulate your garden if you’d like to prepare it for a different veggie.

Amending your garden can be a headache if your soil is not where you’d like it to be, so as always, our expert gardener is on hand to give you quick and credible advice, allowing you to be confident and prepared when it’s time to lay out your veggies.

Once you’ve learned the pH of your garden and have prepared it for any improvements, you can begin deciding on what to plant. Also, finding the right date to plant your veggies is, well, the root of your garden.

The first fall frost date differs, depending on your region. To get the average first frost date in your area, simply go to this link and type in your ZIP Code. From there, you count backwards from the first frost date in accordance with the maturity date of your selected vegetable. It’s wise to go ahead and count back an additional week to give your plant a little breathing room to mature.

So let’s recap with an example: If your plant has a time-to-maturity of 50 days, or roughly seven weeks, you’d count back using this number, and then back an additional week (or two) to find your earliest planting date.

Just for the record, there is a 50 percent chance that these frost dates could happen before the normal averages. In most regions, mid- to late October is the average range for the first fall frost.

Frost can happen in various forms, too.

A light freeze, which is the norm, falls between 29°F and 32°F. This will destroy the most tender of plants. A moderate freeze (25°F – 28°F), on the other hand, affects most vegetation, especially fruit blossoms. And as for the dreaded severe freeze (24°F and colder), this weather shift will pretty much annihilate any variety of plants.

Finally, if you’re wondering whether you can enjoy your favorite spring veggie in the fall, the answer is usually a resounding ‘yes.’ Spring or fall, these cool season plants can flourish during either time of the year.

So, now that you have the basics of fall planting in your information arsenal, it’s time to get yourself ready to perfect your delicious fall garden!

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    July 15, 2014 at 9:26 am

    I wanted to get your opinion on what I could start growing now for a fall garden. I live in eastern PA. Thanks, Chris

    • Reply
      July 15, 2014 at 9:29 am

      Hello Chris. October 1st is around your average fall frost date. So with that in mind, if you planted next week, that would give you approximately 70 days till things should be harvested. Now go to our fall veggie category, http://www.gardenharvestsupply.com/productcart/pc/fall-vegetable-plants-c1198.htm and click on view details of each plant. That will tell you how many days till harvest. Anything with 70 or less days should be okay for you to plant. However keep in mind mother nature can change things and throw an early frost, which may reduce harvesting of some items. Good luck, Joe

  • Reply
    Kathleen Powers
    July 6, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    I live in Dallas/Ft Worth, Texas. We don’t worry as much about the first frost as we do the summer/fall heat. When should we plant fall crops? Thanks – Kathleen

    • Reply
      July 11, 2016 at 7:39 am

      Kathleen, the end of July to the middle of August is the best time to start a fall vegetable garden in Dallas Texas area. Joe

    Leave a Comment