In our region (zone 5), fall means that it is time to sow hardy roots, greens and a few herbs for cold season crops. There is still time to sow and harvest quick-growing crops like radishes, greens, lettuce mixes, spinach and herbs. The cooler temperatures bring out the sweetness in these fall crops.
Our favorite greens for late August, early September sowing include , chard, kale, arugula, spinach, endive and cress. Asian Greens such as Pak-Choi or Tat Soi and mustard greens such as Bau Sin, Green Wave and Red Giant (photo below) will produce armloads of greens for fresh eating and freezing. An added bonus is that insect pressure is much reduced in the fall.
Favorite lettuce varieties for fall include Winter Density, New Red Fire and Merlot as they are all cold tolerant and tolerate the lower light conditions of fall. Our salad mixes all do well in the cool fall weather as well.
Radishes are a quick growing, cool weather crop that will still produce full size roots and they taste so much better at this time of year. Try sowing beets and carrots for tender baby roots that you can harvest well into winter. A thick layer of straw over the roots will make it easier to harvest once the ground is frozen. Parsnip can be sown now and it will germinate, winter over and produce roots for harvest next year.
Fall gardening is fun. We hope you try it out!