Fall Gardens: Beautiful and Edible

Table of Contents

    Are you sad to see your summer blooms fade? Don’t fret, the growing season isn’t quite over yet. You can add some delicious, healthy and ornamental plants to your fall garden. While your flowers might take center stage in summer, fall is all about cold crop veggies. There’s nothing like gathering fresh veggies from the garden for dinner. And, if you choose carefully your veggies varieties can also add ornamental value to fall gardens.

    Not sure where to start? That’s not surprising, there are a ton of cold crop veggies for fall gardens. Here are selections of our favorite, all of which will grow in Kansas City fall weather.


    Kale is a leafy green full of nutrients and texture. It can make your garden and your salad very pretty.

    • Crane Series Kale: Incredibly, this tall flowering kale looks like a cut flower, like a rose. While the outside and stem is a deep green, the inner leaves are white and pink and look like petals.
    • Peacock Series Kale: If you’re looking for a low bush-like kale with incredible color, you should choose peacock kale. The center of this plant is white and pink, depending on the variety, and provides high contrast with the deep green or purple exterior leaves.


    Spinach might have a bad reputation among children, but most adults enjoy the slightly bitter taste in salads and savory dishes.

    • Avon Spinach: You’re probably most familiar with smooth baby spinach. This variety offers more texture and a darker green. Plus, it grows quickly.
    • Space Spinach: If you prefer a lighter look and smoother leaves, space spinach fits the bill. Unlike many spinach varieties, this one will grow in all three seasons.


    You can eat mustard leaves and turn the seeds into the tart condiment you’re familiar with. Common mustard has lovely yellow flowers.

    • Red Brazen Brass Mustard: This mustard variety is beloved for its dark reddish, textured leaves that have green undersides.
    • Golden Streak Mustard: Need something a bit lighter? Then the bright, almost sea-green leaves on golden streak mustard will appeal to you. They also have a fine, feathered texture.
    • Red Giant Mustard: This plant is popular in Japan for its wide, intricately textured leaves that don’t look much like traditionally mustard.

    Swiss Chard

    Can’t decide between soft spinach and tough kale? Swiss chard is a nice middle ground that has lots of texture in the garden and keeps some when sautéed.

    • Bright Lights Swiss Chard: This variety is a marvel in the leafy green world, as it’s one of the only plants that offer intense, vibrant reds, oranges, pinks and purples.
    • Peppermint Swiss Chard: Another example of striking color, this swiss chard variety has red and white stalks that contrast the rough deep green leaves.
    • Orange Fantasia Swiss Chard: The bright orange stalks on this variety are very striking in fall gardens, where they play off pumpkins and other fall décor.


    Beets can bring many tastes to your table, from sweet to savory, nutty and earthy. Plus, they have few natural diseases, so if you’re struggling with an infestation of some kind, beets are a good plant to turn to.

    • Bull’s Blood Beets: As the name suggests, this beet has deep red leaves that are incomparable. You can eat the young leaves, while they are still tender, as well as the beets.
    • McGregor’s Favorite Beet: This beet is another great choice to add a vivid color to your fall garden. It has purple leaves and the beets below are just the same shade. The sliced beets will be excellent served as a side.


    Cauliflower grows a low, large crown, which makes it perfect as a focal point in a garden. Of course, it’s a staple side as well.

    • Graffiti Cauliflower: This cauliflower grows a violet head among light green leaves. It’s a statement in your flower beds or in your dining room.
    • Snow Crown Cauliflower: Those with simple, classic tastes will appreciate the stark white head this cauliflower grows.

    How to Incorporate Cold Crop Veggies

    Once you’ve selected your ideal cold crop veggies, you need to choose where to place them. We suggest you use the shorter vegetables as border crops to outline your beds. The taller ones can be used where you’d put annuals. Or, consider adding new window box planters, and placing the veggies in them.

    Looking for even more seasonal color? High Prairie Outdoors can design a landscape that looks good year-round or add seasonal touches to your current landscape. Get started with us today.

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    About The Author

    Robyn is a 2009 Graduate of the Kansas State University Department of Horticulture. She grew up in South East Kansas where she graduated from Humboldt High School. She was a Kansas State University Leadership Scholar and President of the Horticulture Club. She married Bret in 2009 and they have a daughter Ellie, born in 2021. Their family is completed by three adopted dogs.

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