The top 12 veggies to plant in autumn
As the days shorten and become cooler, summer plantings such as tomato, cucumber and zucchini begin to wind down. As you remove these spent plants, there is space in the vegetable garden for new plantings. There are many veggies to plant in autumn, which you can then grow and harvest through winter and even into early spring.
Autumn veggie planting advice
As conditions are mild through autumn, crops are often easier to grow and the fresh harvests just as rewarding. Once you choose which veggies to plant in autumn, you can grow from seed if you're patient, or plant seedlings for a head start. When planting, always follow the recommendations on the packet or label for correct spacing between plants to give them enough room to grow. To keep the harvests coming over a longer period and avoid a glut of produce all at once, make several small plantings two to three weeks apart.
Veggies grow best in rich, fertile soil in full sun with protection from cold winds. Read this article for a great guide to creating the perfect soil for your veggie garden. Keep plants growing vigorously with regular watering (especially if the weather is warm or dry) and liquid fertiliser applied every 7-10 days. We recommend Harvest for this.
Our top autumn vegetable picks
Here are our 12 top veggies to plant in autumn. Select your family’s favourites from among our list.
Direct sow seeds in early autumn to harvest in 10-12 weeks. Keep plants growing strongly for a tasty crop. Harvest when beetroot is a good size. The top of the root will be visible on the soil's surface.
Direct sow in autumn and winter for crops in 18-20 weeks. Broad beans need support and can be planted in blocks or against a frame. Flowering and fruit formation may be delayed by cold or frosty weather. Pick small pods to eat whole as a green bean, or wait until the pods are larger to eat the contents.
This is the easiest of all the brassica crops to grow. Sow seed, or plant seedlings, through out autumn for harvest in 12-16 weeks. When the large main head of broccoli is removed, side shoots will continue to provide a good crop.
Plant seedlings in early autumn for harvest in 16-20 weeks. Keep plants well-supported and growing upright with firm soil – if necessary, stake them. Sprouts form on the main stem and mature from the lower part of the stem upwards. Pick when sprouts are firm and a good size.
Both forms of cabbage make fantastic veggies to plant in autumn and grow throughout winter. Sow seed or plant seedlings in autumn (crops can also be started in spring). Expect to harvest in 8-16 weeks depending on the variety with smaller cabbages and Chinese cabbage maturing more quickly. Harvest when heads are large and firm.
Plant seedlings in early autumn for harvest in 14-26 weeks. Mini varieties mature more quickly, while large-headed forms are slow to mature.
Plant seedlings in autumn and begin harvesting leaves when the plant is well-established, around 7-8 weeks from planting. There are many kale varieties available, so select your favourite or opt for a mixed punnet.
Seed can be sown or seedlings planted almost year round for a continual harvest. Soft-hearted varieties are the best to grow as leaves can be harvested as needed or harvest the full head after 8 weeks.
All members of the onion family grow well through winter from autumn plantings. Onions can be harvested in around 24-32 weeks, but spring onions and leeks are ready much sooner in just 8-12 weeks.
Peas are a very rewarding crop to grow in autumn and winter with harvests extending in to spring. Tall growers need support, or grow bush varieties. Harvest when pods are well formed, or for a faster crop grow snow peas.
These are fast-growing veggies to plant in autumn. Direct sow during autumn and spring and pick the tiny red radishes in just 6-8 weeks. Left too long, or allowed to be come stressed, the roots become more peppery in flavour.
English spinach is a delicately flavoured, leafy veggie that’s best grown through winter. Sow seed or plant seedlings throughout autumn. Harvest larger leaves as they mature after around 8 weeks.
Autumn veggie pests
Keep an eye out for snails and slugs on your veggies, particularly when seedlings are germinating. Silvery trails on the ground and chewed leaves suggest snail or slug activity. These can be kept at bay with regular inspections, hand removal (squashing) or the use of snail baits – iron-based baits are the safest for the environment and do not harm pets or wildlife. Our top recommendation here is Multiguard Snail and Slug Killer Pellets.
With all brassica crops (including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, cauliflower and kale), watch out for cabbage white butterfly larvae (green caterpillars) on the leaves and heads. Netting over the crop is the best protection against this pest, but you should also remove any caterpillars noticed by hand or use a registered organic pesticide such as Nature's Way Caterpillar Killer Dipel.