The gardening season isn’t over just because the kids are going back to school! Fall gardening is a prime time for many wonderful fruits and vegetables that are great to incorporate into your meal planning. Consider growing these vegetables and fruits that will flourish this fall:
If you planted any kind of squash seeds or starters this summer you will should be just about ready to harvest them from the garden in the fall. Varieties like pumpkins and butternut squash mature in the fall and add a beautiful color to your table around this time of year. Other squashes, like zucchini, have probably been producing regularly all summer but may still grow well into the fall season. Use these in your daily cooking, home decorations, or give them to friends and neighbors if you have grown too many.
Other big stars of fall are the melons that have been growing in your garden. Due to their size, melons take up a lot of space and time in order to mature fully. Early fall is a great time to harvest those big watermelons from the garden as well as cantaloupes and honeydew. You’ll know that a watermelon is ready when the underbelly, the side that is on the ground, turns yellow for a sweet and juicy fruit from the garden.
Thanks to the cooling temperatures, planting lettuce varieties in the fall is a great time to take advantage of the tail end of the growing season. Lettuce is quick to germinate and can easily be grown in just a few weeks. Consider trying out a few different varieties like kale or cress in order to broaden your horizons. Plant in stages a few weeks apart to have a constant supply of lettuce until the first frost occurs in your area.
This is another cold weather vegetable that enjoys the cooling nights that fall can bring. Broccoli will take longer to germinate and produce than lettuce but it is a great option for fall gardening. Depending on your growing season, make sure to start broccoli off early enough before the first frost. Harvest by cutting off the broccoli stems when the heads are small and compact.
This is another cool season vegetable that is easily grown in the fall. Peas enjoy cooler temperatures so fall is a great time to plant them in the garden. Consider starting them a little bit early in an air conditioned home so that they are big enough to do well outside. Transplant them when the hot summer is waning and cooler fall temperatures have arrived. Make sure to allow the peas to climb up something in order to keep them from getting too bunched.
A favorite fruit this time of year are apples and all of the great dishes that can be made with this sweet fruit. Apple picking is a fall staple as the apples finally are big enough to pick. If you don’t have an apple tree consider visiting a nearby orchard for farm fresh varieties. If you notice that a neighbor has an apple tree that they won’t be using consider asking to pick their apples so that they don’t go to waste.
There are plenty of options for harvesting and planting fruits and vegetables during the fall season. Take advantage of your location and understand how long your fall will be with cooling temperatures. Make sure to take into account the varieties of vegetables that you plant in order to be able to harvest them before the first frost arrives. Consider using these best vegetables and fruits to grow in the fall this year in your everyday meals
Julia Benson takes everything she does in the garden as an edible science project. She loves to experiment with different growing techniques to try to cultivate the most delicious and nutritious food she can.