While many gardens may start winding down in September, southern areas of the United States are coming into the prime gardening season. Even if you maintain a garden in the northern regions, there are still fast-growing vegetables that you can plant in September to keep your vegetable garden producing well. Find out more about what to plant in September and begin a fall garden.
Autumn is an ideal time to take advantage of the cooler weather. Depending on where you live, some root vegetables and salad greens grow just as well in the fall as they do in the spring. Growing an autumn garden allows you to keep fresh produce on the table without having to tend to a garden in the hot summer sun.
At the very least, lettuce, spinach, and other greens with a short maturity time can be planted later in the season. If you want, you can even extend the growing season by planting under floating row covers or cold frames that will shield plants from frost but still allow light, air, and water to penetrate.
Work Backward from the Frost Date
To plan your fall garden, you will need to find out when your area typically expects its first frost. To find when you need to get your seeds in the ground, determine the number of days to maturity per vegetable then count back the number of days from the first average frost date. Maturity information is typically on seed packets.
Most everything you plant in the spring can be grown in your fall garden, too. Spring-sown seeds are considered cool-season plants, meaning they will tolerate a light frost, thrive in short daylight hours, and perform best with mild temperatures. Some vegetables even taste better when nipped by a light frost.
Vegetables by Region
Below are lists organized by U.S. region featuring the vegetables and herbs you can plant in September. Unless specifically listed as "transplants," the items in this list can be directly sown in your garden during September.
Northern U.S., Midwest, and Southern Canada
These vegetables can be planted in the fall throughout the North and Midwest:
New England and the Mid-Atlantic Region
Whether you are in Massachusetts or Maryland, these veggies do well when planted in September:
- Bok Choy
North Central U.S., Rocky Mountains
These are good vegetables to plant in September if you are in the North Central part of the U.S.:
Plant these vegetables during September if you live in the Pacific Northwest:
- Bok choy
- Collard greens
- Mustard greens
Southeast/Gulf Coast Region
Here are a few vegetables to plant in September if you live in the Gulf Coast region:
If you live in the Southwest, consider planting these vegetables in the fall:
Source: "Rodale's Successful Organic Gardening: Vegetables and Mother Earth News."