Plant Mid-Summer for a Fall Vegetable Harvest

close up of a head of lettuce

The middle of the summer in the vegetable garden has a lot of harvesting, weeding, and watering. Gardeners can also do planting! Some of the cool-season crops like lettuce, peas, and broccoli can be planted in mid-summer for a fall harvest to fill the holes left in the garden by the spring crops that have melted away with the hot summer temperatures.

Many of the vegetables that have the best success with a second crop are tolerant of cool, sometimes freezing temperatures. In fact, some gardeners swear the flavor of Brussels sprouts, spinach and other cool-season veggies is better when they are hit with a light frost! Other vegetables, like beans or basil, may not tolerate cold temperatures but grow very quickly from seed allowing you to “squeeze” them in before the end of the growing season.

To determine the latest you can plant a fall crop and still expect a harvest, simply count back the days of maturity from the typical first frost date. At Reiman Gardens the typical first frost date is October 10th.

Keep in mind, this is an average – you may be able to go longer or get cut shorter depending on the weather. Utilize row covers or other season-extending techniques to plant a little later or try something that takes a little longer.

Below is a list of vegetables well suited for mid-summer planting and fall harvest.

Days to Maturity

Latest Planting Date

(for harvest by October 10)

Cold Hardiness

Brussels Sprouts  90-100 July 12th  Survives hard frost (25°F)
Parsley  70-90  August 1st Survives light frost (28°F)
Peas  70-80 August 1st  Survives light frost (28°F)
 Cauliflower 60-80  August 11th  Survives light frost (28°F)
 Cilantro 60-70  August 11th Survives light frost (28°F)
 Green Onion 60-70 August 11th Survives light frost (28°F)
Cabbage 50-90 August 21st Very cold hardy (20°F)
Broccoli (transplants)  50-70 August 21st Survives hard frost (25°F)
Kohlrabi  50-60 August 21st Survives hard frost (25°F)
 Beet (root)   50-60 August 21st Survives hard frost (25°F)
 Carrots (baby)    50-60 August 21st Survives hard frost (25°F)
 Turnip (root)    50-60 August 21st Survives hard frost (25°F)
 Bush Beans 45-65 August 26th Killed by frost
 Collard Greens 40-65  August 31st Very cold hardy (20°F)
Kale 40-65  August 31st Very cold hardy (20°F)
 Swiss Chard  40-60  August 31st Survives light frost (28°F)
Lettuce 40-60  August 31st Survives light frost (28°F)
Spinach 35-45 September 5th  Survives light frost (28°F)
 Turnip (greens)  35-45 September 5th Survives light frost (28°F)
 Basil  30-60 September 10th Killed by frost
Radish  30-60 September 10th Survives hard frost (25°F)
 Mustard Greens 30-40 September 10th Survives hard frost (25°F)
Beet (greens) 30-40 September 10th Survives hard frost (25°F)

Prepared by Aaron Steil, Assistant Director  |  photo caption: Brassica oleracea ‘Flat Dutch’