Best Cool-Weather Greens for Your Fall Garden

Best Cool-Weather Greens for Your Fall Garden

A variety of kale grows in raised beds in an organic home garden.
While many of us picture warmer weather when we think of gardening, experienced gardeners know Fall is the perfect time for growing a number of different crops due to its milder temperatures and temperate soil conditions. 
Although the return of Fall means we’re saying good-bye to fresh tomatoes, squash, and other summer favorites, it also means we’re saying hello to a wide variety of cool-weather cropsWith so many to consider, we thought we’d focus today’s list on some of the best cool-weather greens for your Fall garden. The following greens all do extremely well in cooler temperatures with many peaking during a light frost and others able to withstand even the harshest of winter conditions. 

  1. Kale
  2. Collard Greens
  3. Spinach
  4. Arugula
  5. Lettuce 

In this article, we’ll give you a look at each of the above-mentioned greens as well as a bit of info on Fall gardening in general. We hope you find it useful! 

Getting Started: Knowing Your Region’s Average Frost Date

frosty green leaf lettuce
Regardless of what you decide to plant, you’ll need to determine your region’s average first frost. Most of the plants on this list require seeds to be sown about 6-8 weeks before the first frost, so it’s important you have a good idea of when that may be for your region. 
Additionally, while all of the plants on today’s list enjoy cooler temperatures, not all love frost, so you’ll want to make sure you plan accordingly. 
Check out this amazing graphic from the Spruce that visualizes the different zones across the country along with their average frost dates.
Average frost dates by zone across the U.S.
You can find even more specific info on frost dates by zip code on the Farmer’s Almanac’s website

Starter Plants or Direct Sow?

Once you know your zone’s average frost date, you’ll have a good idea of how much time you have to get your greens in the ground. If it’s too late in the season for direct sow (or you simply don’t want to go to all the trouble), no problem! Just head on over to your local garden center and pick up a starter plant to jumpstart things.

1. Kale

You guessed it! 
Number one on our list of cool-weather greens is Kale
Nutrient dense and surprisingly easy to grow, Kale is exceptionally tolerant to colder conditions, peaking after the first frost and even able to withstand a blanket of snow so long as the roots don’t get too wet! 

2. Collard Greens

 A close cousin of Kale, collard greens come in at number two on our list of best cool-weather greens!
Although they are most closely associated with Southern cuisine, collard greens are surprisingly cold tolerant. Like their cousin Kale, collard greens are able to withstand frosty conditions, allowing them to be grown up North as well as down South!

3. Spinach

Everyone’s favorite, spinach, makes third on the list! 
Spinach is a great cool-weather crop as it is able to withstand a light frost, succumbing only when temperatures turn harsh. In some zones, this could be well into December or January, meaning fresh spinach year-round for some! 

4. Arugula

Yep! You know we had to include Arugula on our list!
Known for its peppery taste, Arugula is a quick and easy addition to any Fall garden as it is able to withstand cooler temperatures and produces leaves within a few weeks of sowing seeds.
Although it does well in cooler temperatures, Arugula is not able to withstand harsh conditions, so you’ll want to make sure you act quickly if Arugula is what you want!

5. Lettuce

And last but not least, a staple in just about every salad, your classic lettuce!
Delicate as it may seem, lettuce is surprisingly extremely hardy, thriving in cooler growing conditions. When proper precautions are taken, lettuce is even able to survive throughout the harshness of winter. As such, there’s no way we could leave lettuce off the list!

Need More Help?

If you’re somewhat of a novice and just getting into gardening, you may find yourself needing a bit more help getting started. If this is you, we’ve got you covered! Even if you’re a more experienced gardener, there’s a good chance you’ll find the info useful! 

You may also find it easier to focus on just one plant if you’re just easing in.
We hope you found today’s info useful! Feel free to reach out if you need any more advice on getting your Fall garden started. We’ll be more than happy to point you in the right direction!
Happy Fall gardening, friends!

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