Five Essentials for your Fall Garden

August 5, 2015

I know it’s still August and your tomatoes, beans, zucchini, basil, are still in full force, but now is a good time to start thinking about your Fall garden!  September is less than a month away and is the ideal time to plant many of your favorite Fall/Winter crops. 

Romanesco Broccoli

 

romanescoIf you’ve never seen or grown this beauty before, it will amaze you.  With its fractally insides, this golden-ratio crop is really dazzling.  The spiky exterior looks like something out of Mario Bros. and is really quite tasty.  Romanesco is easy to grow with the proper care and is very similar to any cauliflower or broccoli you’ve grown in the past.  Cons:  One and Done.  You only get one harvest from Romanescos and no side shoots like most other broccoli.

Purple Cauliflower/Purple Cabbage

purple cauliflowerMany winter gardens have a lot of beautiful shades of green but sometimes lack a little bit of flair.  I love planting Purple Cauliflower and Cabbage not only for the flavor and supposed higher levels of antioxidants, but mainly to add some much needed color to my fall garden. It’s really a great addition to any vegetable garden and great to give out to friend/family for some color on the dinner table. Some cabbage varieties will give you some smaller secondary harvests, but I tend to remove to make room for other crops once harvestable. Most Purple Cauliflower is done producing after one magical head.

Sugar Snap Peas/Oregon Sugar Pod (Oregon Giant)

peasMy fall / winter garden isn’t complete unless I can harvest snap peas for months on end.  Easy to directly seed and the production level for these crops are very high, and so tasty.  Snap peas are great for kids to endlessly harvest and are a great addition to salads, stir fry, or really anything in my mind. Don’t forget to give these guys a trellis or you will be missing out on lots of peas in your future! Cons: none

Garlic

GARLIC-HANNAH-W LOGOIf you have patience, Garlic is a great one to grow. Garlic is in the top five because once it is ready, you can store it for a LONG time.  The downside: You plant in November and will not want to harvest until June.  I like to dedicate part of my garden to garlic because I know that once it is ready, I get to eat my own organic garlic for much of the year without going to the store for it. There are also many varieties of garlic to try.  While not technically in the garlic family, Elephant Garlic gets HUGE and is really fun to grow and harvest! Cons: Time to harvest.

Butter Leaf Lettuce

LettuceI know, I know..lettuce?! Well, lettuce is a little boring, but fall/winter-time lettuce in San Jose and the Silicon Valley usually tastes so much better than if you try to grow it in the summer.  The cooler days often allow lettuce to stay tasty for longer periods of time and tends to not bolt quite so suddenly. It allows the sweetness of the butter leaf to remain as well as the soft exterior without frying in the sun.  Try a few, they don’t take up much space, and you’ll be happy harvesting your own lettuce for the entire winter! Cons: None in the winter

Honorable Mentions

broccoliKale, Broccoli.  These two shopping cart favorites are delicious, healthy, continue to produce for much of the late fall and winter.  Kale is one of my favorites because I have had Kale last for YEARS before it was time for removal.  Production levels are high while taking up relatively low amounts of garden space. Broccoli and its continued side shoots makes for great production and a prolonged harvest loved by all!   

 

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