4 Delicious Greens to Grow for a Fall Harvest

fall greens planting

It’s late August: when the nights cool off and the mornings mix with fog, taking their time to lift back into summer’s heat. 

I find myself reaching for a sweatshirt as I make my tea, and even though I’ve still got a few giant zucchinis to turn into zucchini bread, and another succession of cucumbers is trellised in the greenhouse, my mind is drifting to roasted roots and crockpot stews.

In short: fall is whispering in.

Autumn isn’t all roots and stews, though.  As much as I love that slow switch to hearty meals, I still crave green through the cooler months.  Here on our Zone 4 farm, we succession plant greens and mesclun mix all the way into September.

Here are our 4 favorite types of fall greens, plus the varieties we love, to keep us and our customers eating fresh from fall into winter.

Depending on what zone you live in, you still have plenty of time to sow these crops. {Find your USDA gardening zone}

I note the number of days to maturity (DTM) next to each variety, but crops take longer to mature as the weather cools and the sun sets earlier.  To account for this “fall factor,” add 7-14 days onto the DTM.

4 Delicious Greens to Grow for a Fall Harvest

fall greens planted in the hoop house
Fall greens growing in the hoop house. You can also grow them outside with row cover to keep them protected through cool nights.

Spinach: 

Spinach transplants for a fall garden
Spinach transplants for a fall garden

Spinach varieties differ based on weather, and since fall’s weather can be so variable, growing multiple varieties growing at once will ensure you have a continual harvest.

Favorite varieties for a fall harvest: 

Butterflay – 40 DAYS vigorous and slow to bolt, this is our favorite open-pollinated variety

Corvair F1 – 40 DAYS its upright growing habit makes this variety easy to harvest

Renegade F1 – 43 DAYS a rich dark leaf, and most productive variety we’ve grown

Favorite varieties for late fall and overwintering: 

Verdil – 37 DAYS ideal for overwintering or early spring planting, Verdil comes up strong and bountiful even in cool and cold weather.

Giant Winter – 50 DAYS extremely cold hardy with a big leaf size, giant winter is perfect for over-wintering in the hoop house.

Kale: 

Depending on where you live, you may still be able to sow kale for full size plants, especially if you have a hoop house or greenhouse.

Even if you’re in a cooler zone, like we are, or if you don’t have a hoop house, you can still grow baby kale.  And baby kale is one of my favorite tender salad greens in the fall.

Favorite baby kale varieties:

Red Russian Kale – 21 DAYS

Lacinato – 30 DAYS

Beds of mizuna and baby kale outside in the fall garden
Beds of mizuna and baby kale outside in the fall garden

Mizuna

21 DAYS BABY – 40 FULL SIZE

A mildly spicy Japanese green, Mizuna is another one of our favorites to add to mesclun mix in the fall. 

Like arugula, it can be grown for baby leaf for fresh eating, or to full size for sautéing, wilting, and stir-fries.

Arugula

A mildly spicy green, arugula grows well in the spring and fall (summer heat tends to make it spicier).  You can grow full-size arugula for wilting or sautéing, or grow it for baby leaf like we do for salads.

Astro – 21 DAYS BABY the market standard, astro arugula is tender and adds just the right amount of spice to a mesclun mix.

Esmee – 21 DAYS BABY our new favorite arugula, Esmee’s oak-shaped leaves add texture and a nutty flavor to mesclun mixes.  Also delicious eaten on its own!


What are your favorite fall greens to grow and eat?

Let me know in the comments below.

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