I grew up thinking September was a time to wind down from summer gardening and switch over to harvesting. But I’ve actually learned that there are vegetables to plant in September that thrive in cooler temperatures, depending on your location.
Root vegetables and salad greens do really well during the fall. By growing these in the autumn months you can enjoy fresh local produce long after the traditional harvest season. Other vegetables to plant in September are the plan-ahead types that will build healthy root systems all winter in preparation for the spring. Here are my favorite five vegetables to plant in September!
You can do double duty with Turnips, eating both the yummy tender greens and sweet roots. Turnips germinate in a few days, so they’re a faster crop to harvest. The greens take about four weeks and the roots are ready in about eight weeks. They work best when soil has cooled to the 40 degree range and have been known to continue to grow even after the first frost. These vegetables go great with potatoes or you can even substitute them entirely!
Want a fast growing fall crop? Look no further than the radish. These will be ready to harvest in three weeks. They like to be planted in sunny spots in the garden and it’s worth mixing in some aged compost and/or fertilizer, as radishes prefer a less compacted nutrient-rich environment. Best to plant radishes four-to-six weeks before the first frost.
Lettuce is an all-star vegetable to plant in the fall, taking only a week or so to germinate, depending on the variety. They may take a little more maintenance at the beginning to thin the seedlings but once the leaves are the size of a tablespoon you can start to harvest for some tender baby lettuce. An added bonus with planting lettuce in September is that certain varieties are hardy enough to return after winter for an early spring crop. It’s best to plant lettuce six-to-eight weeks before the first frost in your area.
Besides being a trendy superfood, Kale is a hardy vegetable that can withstand cooler weather and is even known to survive temperatures as low as ten degrees! In September, it’s best to find kale plants already started at your local nursery. But once transplanted, these will be ready for harvest in about six-to-eight weeks or when the leaf is about the size of your hand, making them a perfect ingredient in your favorite smoothie or fall soup recipe!
Want to get a head start on next season’s crops? Plant garlic in late September. It’s best to plant a few varieties just in case one does better in your region than another. You’ll want to separate cloves no more than two days before planting. Leave the peels intact and place the cloves pointy side up in soil about six inches apart and two inches deep. Add about five inches of mulch on top for insulation. Your garlic will form strong roots over the winter and be ready to take off after the first thaw, for a speedy spring crop.
I’d love to hear what your favorite vegetables to plant in September are, and any tips you have about autumn planting in your region. Tell me what your September garden looks like!