Best Plants For Late Summer and Fall Fruit Harvest

Quince fruits on a tree
(Image credit: Ralers)

Not everyone lives in a region with at least 150 frost-free days and mild winters, which are optimal growing conditions for most tree fruit crops. Having fewer warm early winter days however, doesn’t mean you can’t grow fruits that yield a nice harvest.

The key to successful fruit production in any climate is selection of appropriate crops and varieties. The right fruit crop spells the difference between success and frustration.

Late Summer Fruit

Some of the best late summer fruits are berries. They are also sweet and delicious. For the earliest harvest, go for strawberries that start ripening in June. Pick them when the entire fruit is red. Most berries may be harvested for three to four weeks.

Most types of berries mature in midsummer, including blueberries, which also offer an autumn show of foliage color. But why not try something a little different? Elderberry – a multi-stemmed shrub – produces blossoms in early summer and fruits in July and early August. The 1/4-inch (6 ml.) purple-black berries are typically used in jellies and jams. 

What Fruits Are Harvested in the Fall? 

Who doesn’t like apples, America’s favorite fruit? Both delicious and nutritious with a crisp texture and a juicy flavor, apples are ripe for the picking from late summer through early fall. 

Figs are another fruit with plenty of vitamins and flavor. Like apples, figs are harvested from late summer into fall. The color of the fruit will tell you when the crop is ripe and ready, or just taste one. Ripe fig fruit is sweet and tender. 

Seasonal Fall Fruits

Among other fall fruit tree options, persimmons are stand-outs. These fruits are honey-sweet when mature, and they ripen after they’ve been harvested. So go ahead and start taking in your persimmons in autumn when the weather is still mild and the fruit is still apple-hard. Let them mature at room temperature in a cool, dry area. They are ready to eat when soft to the touch. 

Another good fall fruit alternative is quince. The fruits, called pomes, look a little like golden apples, but don’t take a big bite or you’ll get an unpleasant surprise. The fruit is best eaten when fully ripened and cooked.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.