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Fall Veggies to Plant: Tips from an Expert Gardener

Horticulture's expert gardener and edibles columnist shares tips for what to plant now for fall crops. Plus, how to get your pumpkins perfect by Halloween!

Guest post by Niki Jabbour, Horticulture's edibles columnist, with ideas for fall veggies to plant. Niki plants all year near Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is the author of The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener and Groundbreaking Food Gardens. Learn more at

kale in the field

Come autumn you'll harvest kale if you plant now

Fall Veggies to Plant

Summer may be on the wane, but that doesn’t mean my planting schedule has slowed. I’m tucking fresh seeds and seedlings into my raised beds and cold frames every week. I want to make sure I have plenty of cool- and cold-season vegetables to harvest from October until March. Best bets include kale, spinach, arugula, mizuna, mache and scallions.


Help your pumpkins turn orange in time for Halloween by snipping off any leaves that are shading the fruits. Unsure when to harvest them? Wait until they are fully ripe; the rind will be firm and the fruits will sound hollow when tapped. Cut the stem carefully; do not try to twist or pull it off the vine. Allow the fruits to cure in the sun for a few days before moving them to the front porch or other display space.


Dig up and move any tender or perennial herbs that you want to have indoors for winter use. I like to bring in a few containers of my must-have culinary herbs: mint, parsley, Syrian oregano, lemongrass, chives and at least one ‘Spicy Globe’ basil plant.


When I have a chance in late September or early October, I prep my garlic bed. I plant between 400 and 500 cloves of garlic in late October, and the planting goes much quicker when I’ve taken the time to prep the bed in advance. To ready the planting site, just loosen the soil, amend with compost or rotted manure and place a bag of chopped leaves nearby. You can use them to mulch the bed once the crop has been planted.


Extend the harvest of warm-season vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, zucchini, and cucumbers for as long as possible with a row cover or sheet of clear plastic. You can create a mini hoop tunnel and cover the hoops with the protective cover, or keep it simple and drape the fabric or plastic over the crops on cool days or nights when frost seems likely.