A perfectly ripe, juicy tomato, still warm from the sun (fall harvest). Sweet carrots, pulled from the garden minutes (or even seconds!) before they’re eaten are reason enough to grow fall vegetables. Growing your own vegetables is one of those activities that balances practicality and indulgence.
In addition to the convenience of having the fixings for a salad or light supper right outside your door (or on your windowsill), when you grow your own vegetables, you’re getting the most nutritional bang for your buck as well.
For the tastiest veggies with the best nutrition, try growing a few of these nutrient-dense foods in your own garden. And don’t let the lack of a yard stop you — all of them can be grown in containers as well. Broccoli, synonymous with fall vegetables, is high in calcium, iron, and magnesium, as well as vitamins A, B6, and C.
Grow broccoli in containers:
One broccoli plant per pot, pots should be 12 to 16 inches deep. What to watch out for Cabbage worm. If you start seeing pretty white butterflies fluttering around your broccoli, you’re guaranteed to start seeing little green worms all over your broccoli plants. Cover your broccoli plants with a floating row cover or lightweight bed sheets to avoid this.
There is nothing like peas grown right in your own garden — the tender sweetness of a snap pea just plucked from the vine is unlike anything you can buy in at a store. Aside from being absolutely delicious, peas are high in fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, B6, and C.
Provide support for peas to climb up. What to watch out for Hot weather. Once the weather turns hot, pea production will pretty much shut down. Grow peas in early spring, late summer/autumn, or any time of year when temperatures are consistently between 40 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
While snap beans (green beans/wax beans) are a great addition to any garden, the beans we grow as dried beans are real nutritional powerhouses.
Versatile Fall Vegetables For Fall Gardening In the Northwest
Grow beans in containers: Bush beans are your best option for growing in containers. Plant beans four inches apart in a container that is at least 12 inches deep. What to watch out for: Harvest at the right time – what to plant in November. Harvest dry beans when the pods have completely dried on the vine.
Shell the beans, and let them sit out a few days to ensure that they’re completely dry before storing them in jars in a cool, dark, dry place. The bane of many a childhood, Brussels sprouts get a bad rap mostly due to overcooking. When prepared right, Brussels sprouts are sweet, tender, and delicious.
Brussel Sprout is one of the best fall vegetables. Grow one plant per 16-inch deep container. What to watch out for Cabbage worms (see “Broccoli,” above.) Fresh, homegrown tomatoes are the reason many gardeners get into vegetable gardening in the first place. In Florida, they are what to plant in October. Most consider them summer vegetables but tomatoes are fall vegetables in the Southeast. There’s just nothing that compares to eating a perfectly ripe tomato, still warm from the sun.
They’re also a great source of the antioxidant lycopene.
Grow tomatoes in containers:
Container sizes will vary depending on the variety you’re growing. Your container must be at least 18 inches deep if you’re growing an indeterminate variety. For determinate varieties, 12 inches is a good depth, and for dwarf or “patio” type tomatoes, 8 inches is perfect (what to plant in September).
Also watch out for signs of blight, which is a real problem in many parts of the U.S. when harvesting fall vegetables. Red bell peppers are high in potassium, riboflavin, and vitamins A, B6, and C — in fact, one cup of red bell pepper packs an amazing 317 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C and 93 percent of the recommended vitamin A.
Fall Vegetables in the Southeast
While both can be controlled with insecticidal soap, which is a common organic option, you can also make all-natural, homemade sprays to deter these pests. A tomato leaf spray will get rid of aphids, and garlic/hot pepper spray works very well on a flea beetle infestation. Beets are a great “twofer” crop — you can harvest the beetroots, of course, but you can also harvest and eat the greens.
Beetroots are very high in iron, potassium, and vitamin C. Beet greens are even better, as they are high in iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and vitamins A, B6 and C. Grow beets in containers: Plant beet seeds three inches apart in a container that is 12 inches deep.
Thinnings can be added to salads or sandwiches. What to watch out for: Knowing when to harvest. Beetroots are at their best when they are harvested small — between one and two inches across. At this size, they are sweet and tender. Larger beets tend to be woody and less flavorful.
Leaf amaranth is a less-common vegetable that is well worth a try in your own garden. The leaves have a sweet and slightly tangy flavor that works well in a variety of dishes, from stir-fries and soups to simply steaming it all by itself. As a bonus, leaf amaranth is one of the few heat-tolerant greens.
Nutritionally, leaf amaranth is very high in calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, riboflavin, zinc, and vitamins A, B6 and C. Everyone should be growing this!
Growing leaf amaranth in containers:
Scatter the tiny seeds over the soil’s surface in a pot that is at least 8 inches deep. Harvest the leaves when they are two to four inches tall.
Want to learn more about the 2023 victory garden movement? Read the blog post.