Fall Planting of Cool Season Vegetables

It's never too late to plan! Very soon, if not already for some vegetables, gardeners here in Tennessee need to begin plating for your fall harvests. Fall crops are generally cool season although warm season crops can continue to produce until the first frost, which is a very important date to know! (If you need to find that information check out the Old Farmer's Almanac). Frost dates in Tennessee vary but I usually plan on mid October then subtract a couple weeks for production so I essentially I plan for the first week of October. Last year our first frost hit us here in Spring Hill, TN at the end of October.

So What Can You Plant for Fall Cool Season Vegetables?

Essentially anything that you grew in the early spring can be grown for a fall harvest. Leafy greens like lettuce and spinach will back in season, as will radishes, beets, onions, cauliflower, and cabbage. There should also be time to get another crop of cucumbers before the killing frost. Short season summer vegetables can still be planted like summer squash and bush beans. This list is not complete but it will give you an idea of what can be done in the fall vegetable garden. For more specific information about varieties in your area check you local State University extension service.

In my garden I will be planting my fall vegetable crop from the following list:

Fall VegetablesWhen to PlantDays to Maturity
BeetsEarly August55-60
Bush BeansLate July - Early August52-60
Cabbage (plants)Early August60-75
Lettuce (leaf)July-Mid-September40-50
RadishesAugust - Mid September25-30
Snap PeasLate July-Early August52-60
Summer SquashLate July- Early August40-50

If you factor in a couple weeks of harvest time then add the maturity dates to it then subtract these days from the first frost date you will end up with a good planting date estimate.

(First Frost Date - Harvest Period - Days to Maturity = When to Plant)

I've adapted this table of fall planting vegetables from a UT publication written by Professor Sams that is extremely useful. I listed the plants that I will be planting this fall for the table but there are several vegetables and great information in the UT document (free download!). It contains more information including specific frost dates for various cities in Tennessee. It is definitely worth a look if you plan on planting vegetables in the fall.

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