Pumpkin spice is in the air, the autumnal equinox is rapidly approaching and summer crops are starting to expire…a big patch of unoccupied soil is now staring you in the face. Fill it. Yes, you heard me. Plant yourself some cool weather crops and reap a nice fall harvest. You do not have to live in an overly warm climate to enjoy a second crop. Not only are there vegetables that thrive in cooler temperatures, but there are numerous varieties that mature rapidly. We’re talking 75 days or less! I planted a variety of squash this month that starts producing in just 38 days. That means I’ll be harvesting a second crop of squash by mid September. Do I have your attention now?? Good! I have included a list below of cool weather-friendly crops and I’ve provided varieties (and seed distributors) for each, that mature rapidly for quick harvests. Don’t pack up your hoe just yet, you’ve still got gardening to do!
Beets – This Chioggia variety offered by SeedMail matures in just 54 days.
Broccoli – Broccoli is a frost resistant annual and this Belstar variety is ready for harvesting around 65-70 days.
Cabbage – Aubervilliers Savoy is an heirloom cabbage variety that matures in 75 days.
Carrots – Napoli carrots mature in just 55 days, though there are several varieties available that are ready for harvest in 60 days or less.
Cauliflower – This Amazing variety offered by Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds produces brilliant white 10″ heads in just 75 days.
Corn – The Ambrosia Hybrid ripens in 75 days and produces decadent 8″ ears. Get it sown in early August to enjoy a bountiful harvest before the first heavy frost. Bonus — your stalks will double as festive autumn decor!
Garlic – Garlic is typically a vegetable that gets overwintered. This means that it is planted in the fall and harvested the following summer, usually 8-10 months later. I have included both hardneck and softneck varieties here, respectively, from Gurney’s Seed & Nursery Co.
Lettuce – Little Gem is an organic lettuce variety offered by Eden Brothers that matures in 30-45 days. It is said to be a cross between leaf and romaine lettuces.
Onions – Plants or sets can be purchased this time of year and both take roughly 75-85 days to reach maturity. I strongly recommend going with onion plants, rather than onions sets, but either one will get the job done. Here is a red, white and yellow onion plant mix from Burpee Seed Company.
Parsnips – “Suitable for harvest after frost for late fall delights. ” Andover Parsnips may take a full 120 days to ripen but they are cold tolerant root vegetables that are worth the wait!
Peas – Organic Alaska Shell is a tasty variety that starts producing in just 55 days.
Potatoes – Masquerades are a variety that matures in a quick 63 days. If you’re looking for something more traditional, Yukon Golds are a sub-seventy day variety as well.
Radishes – Holmes Royal Red is an organic variety supplied by the Seed Savers’ Exchange that matures in 25-30 days.
Rutabaga – Don’t let the 90-100 day maturity on this Joan variety fool you. Rutabagas, much like carrots, experience a boost in flavor and sweetness after a good hard frost.
Spinach – Bloomsdale spinach is an organic heirloom variety that matures in 28-45 days.
Squash – Squash is NOT a cool weather vegetable but there are varieties that start producing quickly. For example, these Astia Green Zucchini (mentioned above) mature in only 38 days. Get these babies sown in mid-August and enjoy them for the whole month of September until a heavy frost sets in.
These Early Butternut Hybrids are an 85 day winter variety that can be sown in late July/early August for a fall harvest that is notoriously great for pantry and root cellar storage.
Swiss Chard – Five Color Silverbeet is a best seller for the Seed Savers’ Exchange, coming in at a 50-60 day maturity range.
Turnips – Purple Top White Globe Turnips are rapid developers that mature in only 55 days.
If you weren’t planning to plant a second set of crops, I hope that this post prompts you to reconsider. Many of these vegetables store very well, long term, and therefore make for great fall harvests. If there is something you’d hoped to include in your autumn garden that is not listed here, there are several helpful websites provided under my “Gardening Links” tab that may serve as useful resources to accommodate your shopping needs. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out. Cheers, friends!
Note: All photos shown in this post, below a URL link, have been shared from the source website to provide readers a visual of the distributor’s listing.