So, you’ve been slacking. It happens! If you haven’t been able to get a garden planted, you might think you’ve missed your window. This is soooooooooooo not true! There are several crops which do well in the late summer, and have a short time frame before you see fruit.
For example: Radishes, basil, mustard greens, and spinach take as little as one month to mature and can survive a light frost. Lettuce, swiss chard, kale, and collard greens all take about 40 days, and can withstand temperatures in the 20s. Also, you can plant garlic to harvest next summer. It does great over the winter. Beets and cabbage can take two months to mature, but they can also withstand temperatures in the 20s.
If you live in a climate which cools significantly over winter, you will want to stay away from crops which need steady temperatures and/or warm days and nights, obviously. Here in Idaho, we have 50-degree temperature variations in the fall, so it’s not a great idea to plant something which is going to struggle with that. One great resource is this website, which will help you determine your hardiness zone and which plants do well within it.