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10 Vegetables To Plant Late Summer

September in southern Alabama has probably become the hottest month in the last few years. We typically go through a shortage of rain which also adds to the overall harshness. These last couple of weeks we have been in the high 90’s and even hit above 100 a few times.

There are many places around the country that hit 100 and above but anyone who has visited here knows it’s a different kind of heat. The humidity amplifies everything involved. It is also very rough on plants unless they are kept watered. Any crops left from Spring are showing signs of stress unless well taken care of.

Temperatures are too high for tomatoes to produce and many other plants are wilting under the intense heat of the mid to afternoon sun.  Right now, it seems the only thing thriving is Okra. Okra loves heat and does great here.

This is the time of year to start planning your Fall Garden. You can find some great tips about starting a Fall Garden here.

When to Plant

There are several crops you can plant in the fall that mature very quickly. I won’t get into it here, but its not about planting zones at all. What you need to look for is date of maturity on your seed packet. This will determine what you can grow in your fall garden.

In Alabama, we might get a frost in November, and most of these plants will survive the kind of frosts we get. Your climate will more than likely be very different in this aspect.

Check your seed packet for “time to germinate” and add this to your “days to maturity”.  Count BACKWARDS from your first frost date.

Example: If my first projected frost is say, November 25.  Let’s do Spinach. Spinach takes about 7 days to germinate, and about 40 days to mature. You want to sow them on the second week of October. 47 days backwards from November 25th. We just want a little maturity on them before the frost. Young tender leaves may burn from the frost, but I can tell you even ice on a spinach leaf won’t hurt it here. It’s only because our “frosts” might last an hour tops.

These are just basic guidelines for starting seeds in the ground. You may want to start them indoors earlier for a higher success rate.

Most of these fall crops will give results very quickly and we all love that. Most are leafy greens or salad material. The main thing here is growing in cooler weather and a quick maturity date.

Also note: the leafy green crops can be harvested earlier than their mature date. Most people want the younger tender leaves on these crops.

Some are southern staples, while others are a great addition to many dishes, meals and even salsa!

Okay, so let’s get to the list of fall crops that grow quickly in cool weather!


Days to germinate: 7-14

Days to Maturity: 35-40

We’ve all heard of spinach and its abundance of vitamins! Try it on a salad or wilted down as a side dish. Don’t forget Spinach Dip!


Days to germinate: 4-6

Days to Maturity: 30

Pickled or served raw with a green salad is always a healthy hit!


Days to germinate: 10-20

Days to Maturity: 30 – 45

Try this in: Soup, salad, wilted down with olive oil and sea salt.


Days to germinate: 7-14

Days to Maturity:45-50

Add this leafy green to your salad for a peppery bite! 

Try it on pizza, on sandwiches, and in soups.


Days to germinate: 7-14

Days to Maturity: 60

Remove the stems and add to salad, soup or baked with your favorite pork dish.


Days to germinate:10-21

Days to Maturity: 55-60

Boil these down in a huge pot with a big hamhock.


Days to germinate: 7-14

Days to Maturity: 60

Use some of the above ground leaves for spicing up any dish while the bulbs mature


Days to germinate: 14-21

Days to Maturity: 28-35

Great in homemade salsa, guacamole dip and many other dishes


Days to germinate: 10-21

Days to Maturity: 45-55


Days to germinate: 10-14

Days to Maturity: 60-65

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