Time to Plant Greens!

Posted: August 29, 2011

Fall-Winter Garden Guide and Seed Planting Chart

Fall Garden Guide

In the thick of harvesting tomatoes, squash and eggplants, don’t forget to keep planting seeds. The warm-season crops will soon slow down. Now is the time to sow your late fall into winter harvest. You can plant peas, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, and other cool-weather crops now and reap the reward in October and November. Look at our fall garden guide for more ideas.

Greens are an easy to grow fall crop: lettuce, mesclun mix, kale, mustard, arugula, mache, and spinach. They love the cool temperatures and in some places will produce through the winter.

Think outside the vegetable bed and try putting greens in where ever you can pull out faded flowers or cut back leggy perenials. Put them along your path from the car or sidewalk to the kitchen door. Then you will be able to easily pull a weed or pinch a handful for your dinner on your way inside.

Because of the shorter days and cooler nights in the fall, plants grow more slowly. But you can start harvesting the greens when they’re only a few inches long. Pinch off the outside leaves and let the plant keep growing. Fall also means fewer pests, more rain, and fewer weeds to battle. Hooray.

 

organic arugula rocketGet those seeds in now! All of these greens can be directly sown in the ground. They will germinate quickly due to warm soil temperatures. Make successive sowings of the hardiest of the greens, such as arugula and mache, every few weeks through October to extend the harvest.

Greens are an excellent candidate to plant in cold frames to extend their season. I’ll be doing a post about cold frames soon.

Greens grown in containers won’t tolerate freezing temperatures so these should be harvested and eaten before the deep chill sets in.

Good greens for fall

Mache – HEIRLOOM. (Valerianella locuta.) France. Larger, oval, green leaves. Easy-to-grow. Succession plant for continual harvest. Mache can survive sub-zero temperatures. Mache leaves have a soft and buttery texture and mild flavor. 50 days.
Roquette Arugula – HEIRLOOM. Hardy, dark-green wide leaves. Unique watercress-like flavor. Arugula can take freezing and thawing and still grow. 50 days.
Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach
-  A versatile, nutritious leafy green which probably originated in central and southeastern Asia and spread to the Middle East. Prefers cool weather. Nutrients: vitamins A, E, K, and C, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
Rouge D’Hiver Lettuce - HEIRLOOM. Cool season romaine type with sweet, buttery texture. Semi-open heads with deep-red outer and green-bronze tipped inner leaves. 50 – 60 days.
Buttercrunch Lettuce – Compact, dark green heads with creamy white interiors and smooth, sweet, tender leaves. Slow-to-bolt and free from bitterness. 50 – 75 days.
Dwarf Siberian Kale – HEIRLOOM. (B. napus.) Broad, thick, blue/gray/green plume-like leaves with slightly frilled edges form a cold-tolerant rosette 24″ in diameter at maturity. 50 days.
Ruby Red Chard – HEIRLOOM. A beautiful addition to any garden often grown for its ornamental qualities alone. Foliage is dark green on ruby red stalks. 18 – 24″ plants. 55 days.

 

kaleOld Fashioned Mustard – HEIRLOOM. A cool season, quick-to-bolt mustard popular in the Carolinas with long ruffled, flavorful leaves and good yields. The best mustard variety for salad greens. 40 days.
Mizuna Early
– Asian green. Long slender white ribs with bright green serrated leaves. Delicious mild flavor. Use raw or cooked. Plant early spring or late summer. 21 days to harvest micro-greens and 35 days for mature heads.

 

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