Tempting as it may be to buy plants in spring when they’re looking full and luscious, the pros know that if you want to achieve your spring garden goals, fall planting is crucial. Autumn is the ideal time for getting most ornamentals and cool-season edibles into the ground: summer’s peak heat is behind, the soil is still warm, and the next few months can bring merciful soaking winter rains. That means immediate and deep root growth for all kinds of plants that reach their prime in spring, if not before. Here are our top picks, including some surprises—plus tips for planting them.