Vegetables to plant in autumn: the 10 best autumn and winter vegetables
These ten vegetables can be grown outside in autumn and will thrive even in stormy weather and cold temperatures.
The summer’s harvest is done, the vegetables patches are getting emptier and winter is approaching. Many gardeners will think, that the gardening season has come to an end. In reality, though, there is a lot that can still be done in the garden in autumn. Various types of vegetables can be planted in the harvested beds to make use of the last warm days before winter arrives. In the following, we will show you the ten best vegetables to grow in autumn.
1. Growing salads in autumn
Many people believe that salads are typical spring and summer vegetables. However, salads are also great vegetables to plant in autumn. If they are sown by the end of August, they will grow without any problems, even outside. Endive and frisée are particularly suitable, but classics such as lettuce or lamb’s lettuce can also find a place in the vegetable patch in autumn. In fact, growing salads in autumn even has some advantages. The low temperatures minimise the risk of the salad plants starting to flower.
2. Growing pak choi in autumn
Originally from Asia, pak choi (Brassica rapa subsp. chinensis) is not only healthy and tasty but is also (like almost all cabbage varieties) perfectly suited for planting in autumn. This vegetable should be ideally sown in August or early September, preferably after the hottest days of the year have passed, as pak choi does not tolerate too much heat and sprouts quickly. After only six to eight weeks after sowing, your pak choi is ready to be harvested.
3. Growing cauliflower in autumn
Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis) is also a cabbage variety and therefore well-suited to be grown in autumn. As it is particularly susceptible to pests in summer, growing cauliflower in autumn can bring about a richer harvest. You should start sowing the seeds inside the house as early as August, as it can take about 30 days for the seedlings to be ready for planting. You can then start planting the vegetables outside in September, preferably in the first week. After about eight to twelve weeks after sowing, you can harvest cauliflower up until October.
4. Growing swedes in autumn
Although they are not very popular anymore, swedes (Brassica napus supsp. Rapifera; also referred to as rutabaga) are a classic among winter vegetables. No wonder, after all, swedes are not only very robust but also tolerate temperatures of about -6 °C. You should sow them at the end of July or beginning of August, so that the swedes stay in the vegetable patch for at least eight weeks before the first frost. Depending on when they were planted, swedes can be harvested from September onwards, at the latest before the first longer frost period.
5. Growing chard in autumn
Chard (Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris) is not only very tasty but also extremely robust. It can tolerate light and medium frosts without any problems. Chard should be sown at the beginning of August at the latest, so that the plant can grow sufficiently before winter arrives. It grows particularly well as a successive crop of peas or beans, because they store valuable nitrogen in the soil. Chard can be harvested after ten to twelve weeks, some varieties even after only eight weeks. In regions with a mild climate, if provided with a thick layer of mulch, chard can survive winter without damage. This way, it can be harvested for a second time in spring.
6. Growing carrots in autumn
Carrots (Daucus carota subsp. sativus) are also among the vegetable plants that we know as spring or summer vegetables. However, carrots can be grown almost all year round. So, if you do not want to do without the crunchy vegetables in autumn or winter, you can simply sow the carrots again in August. But having fresh carrots all year round is not the only advantage of autumn sown vegetables: carrots that are harvested later in the year also taste sweeter than the ones harvested in spring. The reason for that is, that in colder temperatures, carrots start converting their starch into sugar.
7. Growing beetroot in autumn
Beetroot (Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris) is a vegetable classic from your grandmother’s kitchen that comes in red, white or yellow. You should sow your beetroots in mid-August at the latest, as they need some time to develop their delicious tubers. Shortly before the first frost, as soon as the leaves turn spotty, the beets are ready to be harvested and can be dug up. Beetroots can be stored during the winter without any problems. Simply take off the leaves, put them in boxes and store them in a dark, cool place. This way, they can easily be stored until next spring.
8. Growing radishes in autumn
Radishes (Raphanus sativus subsp. sativus) are also among the vegetables that can be grown in autumn. Their pink tubers can be easily sown outdoors until September. However, you should pay attention to the differences to the cultivation of radishes in spring and summer. You should choose a fast-growing variety, so that the vegetables will be ready for harvesting in autumn. Ideally, you might be able to harvest your radishes after only four weeks. When growing the vegetables in autumn, you should also be careful to plant them in a sunny location, instead of a semi-shady spot like you would in summer. If they get enough light, your radishes will thrive without much effort, even in autumn.
9. Growing kale in autumn
Kale (Brassica oleracea var. sabellica) is and will remain the number one winter vegetable. It is therefore not surprising that this vegetable, which is rich in vitamin C, is sown quite late in the year. However, it should be sown in August at the latest. Kale is one of the best vegetables to plant in autumn: it is persistent, robust and not prone to diseases. It is also very frost-resistant and can be harvested all winter long. Many gardeners even swear by harvesting kale only after the first frost. The reason for that is, that the frost reduces the amount of bitterness contained in the leaves and the plant will taste twice as good.
10. Growing spinach in autumn
One thing spinach (Spinacia oleracea) does not tolerate at all is heat. So, what could be better than sowing spinach in the cool autumn? If you want to harvest spinach in autumn or winter, you can sow it from the end of August until the beginning of October. After only six to eight weeks, the first leaves can be harvested. Spinach is very frost-tolerant, therefore, it will provide you with a lot of healthy vitamins and its delicious taste, even when harvested in winter.