Well, we had a very good spring garden this year at the yardstead. We had bountiful harvests of squash, zucchini, tomatoes, potatoes, onions and cucumbers. Basically everything we planted for the spring did well except our Okra plants. Im not sure why, but the okra plants we started from seed took several weeks longer to begin growing after we transplanted them to the garden than the other seedlings we planted. The okra did eventually grow though, but by the time the plants were growing well I had given up on them and they suffered from neglect for the rest of the season. Overall we were very pleased with the spring garden and were able to put several quarts of veggies away in the freezer. With all the spring vegetables played out, our garden is kind of bare at the moment. Late summer is so hot in our area that its difficult to grow good vegetables. It is however a perfect time to begin planning for a fall garden. A well planned and cared for fall garden can produce fresh veggies right on into the winter. Some good choices ........
.....for fall vegetables are: beets, broccoli, bush beans, cabbage, carrots cauliflower, chinese cabbage, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, onions, radishes, rutabagas, spinach, and turnips. This is just a partial list of course and there are many other choices aviailable too, depending on your Hardiness Zone.
Some of the most popular fall garden vegetables around here are what we in the south commonly call "greens". This includes collard greens, mustard greens and even turnip greens. Some people also include Kale, beet greens, spinach and swiss chard in th "greens" category. Popular throughout the country, greens are loaded with vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. They also taste great and are easy to grow. To start greens from seeds, sow rows one quarter to one half inch deep, then thin the seedlings as they come up to at least 6 inches apart. When the row begins to become crowded, harvest whole baby plants (delicious) leaving about a foot and a half between plants. Harvest leaves from mature plants as they get ready. For the most part, the younger leaves will be milder and more tender. Select leaves with good color that show no signs of wilting or yellowing. Discolored or leaves which are dark at the edges ar too old and should be discarded. If you plan to store your greens, they generally stay fresh longer with the roots and stalks attached. You should never wash the greens until right before you plan to cook them. Washing them before storage can speed spoilage. We always have at least a couple of rows of greens in our fall garden, but I think we might plant more this year. Collard greens and Mustard greens are a couple of my favorites.
Cabbage, chinese cabbage, bak choi and lettuce are also excellent fall vegetables. These vegetables are easy to grow as well and full of good nutrition. They can be planted in much the same way as greens. We usually plant bak choi every year and it is another one we will probably plant more of this year. I seems like we never plant enough of these fall vegetables. Probably because we get used to the spring garden where most of the plants produce fruit for several weeks. Once these plants are harvested there gone and production stops. So you'll need to plant more of these fall vegetables than you would tomatoes or zucchini.
Probably the easiest way to plan your fall garden is to sit down with a good seed catalog like Johnny's Selected Seeds or Burpee. These catalogs usually have all the pertinent information such as hardiness zones for the plants, days to maturity and plant care details listed along with description and pictures of the plants. There are multitudes of vegetables available to grow in just about every zone. Our list here just scratches the surface with some common vegetables, but it is always exciting to try something new. This year we have a Kitazawa Seed Company catalog. Kitazawa specializes in asian vegetables and they carry many varieties not seen in the average garden. We plan to select some fall veggies from them to plant along with our greens this year to add variety and fun. So be sure and order your seed catalogs now and get to planning. If you would like more info about planning a fall garden or more information about anything relatred to yardsteading, you are welcome as always to post questions or comments in the forum.