What Can I Plant in Midsummer For Fall in New Jersey?

“What can I plant now – mid-July – to avoid having empty sections in my garden?” Question from Glenda of Sewell, New Jersey.

Answer: Choose cool-season vegetables and flowers that look good until frost. These perform the best as fall temperatures drop. Most even withstand frost. You probably won’t start to see frosts until mid to late October, depending on the year, so these should color your garden for a while. Here are my suggestions.


There are quite a few high-performing flowers that shine fall. Some are commonly known, like pansies, chrysanthemums, and other common nursery fare. But, there are others that you can plant now to fill open spaces now for fall.

Dahlias are a great choice. They can tolerate hot summers but really bloom gangbusters in fall. Plant a few tall or compact specimens in empy garden areas now, and you will be rewarded.

Spike celosia: These colorful, upright bloomers will look beautiful until frost.

Marigolds: Most marigolds will continue flowering until fall.

Salvias: Lots of salvias bloom and continue to feed hummingbirds until frost.

Annual cut flowers are lovely fall garden additions and include sweet peas, love-in-a-mist, and others. (Click here to learn more about seed-starting flowers for fall.)

Perennial fall sedums are also great choices that will fill spaces year after year and offer big color late in the season. (Here’s a great piece on tall flowering sedums.)


Rotate cool-season vegetables into your garden now. These should be planted in midsummer or late summer for fall harvest. Here is the standard list.

Cole crops: cabbage, cauliflower, collards, broccoli, broccoli rabe, kohlrabi, and kale.

Greens: arugula, endive, lettuce, mustard greens, radicchio, and spinach.

Root crops: radishes, scallions, carrots, turnips, leeks, parsnips, and rutabagas.

Peas are another good option. For ornamental fall edibles, choose colorful swiss chard, kales, cabbages, and ornamental hot peppers. (Click here to learn more about seasonal rotation of vegetables.) (Click here for beautiful container designs with ornamental hot peppers.)

Growing Tips

All of the flowers and vegetables mentioned prefer full sun and fertile soil. Good yields and successful flowers will grow best in beds amended with Black Gold Garden Compost Blend and good, all-purpose fertilizer. Container plants really thrive in Black Gold Natural & Organic Potting Mix.

I hope that these tips help!

Happy fall gardening,

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist


Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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