31 September 2, 2009
Mentally, it is so difficult to write the word September. But, September it is and the vegetable gardens should still be giving you a bounty of fresh vegetables.
For some gardeners, this years’ vegetable garden has yielded dismal returns. Some people have had to pull up all of the tomato plants. Fungus diseases have ruined squash and cucumber plants. Beans have rotted on the plant.
If you have had to pull up plants and now have empty space in your vegetable garden, there are plants that you can grow from seed that will give you fresh vegetables well into the fall.
Radishes are one of the fastest growing crops that you can grow from seed. Once planted, you can expect a harvest in as little as 24 days. You can plant a short row, then wait a week and plant another short row. By doing this over the next month, you can get a long harvest of fresh radishes.
There are many leafy greens that can be planted at this time of the year. Mache or corn salad is a mild flavored green that can be eaten fresh or cooked like spinach. It is extremely cold tolerant. It survives and grows even in freezing temperatures. Speaking of spinach, there are varieties that are well suited to fall planting. One variety, Lavewa, will give you a harvest in 45 days. A nice thing about this spinach is that the leaves are not as crinkly as some spinach, making easier to clean the leaves.
There are all types of lettuce that you can plant at this time of the year. Most of them are leaf varieties. Leaf varieties do not produce the traditional “head” that we associate with lettuce. Rather, you get a harvest of lettuce leaves over a long period of time. One of my favorites is a variety called Red Sails. The green leaves are tinged with red, giving it a nice color in salads. It has a great taste and will yield in 45 days. Salad Bowl is another variety that has been around for years. It too has a great flavor and will yield in 50 days.
There is a type of greens that is called micro greens. Micro greens are usually a mix of plants that are harvested when the leaves are small. You will find all kind of mixes. One variety that we sell from a seed company called Botanical Interests, has Beets, Pak Choy, Cabbage, Kohlrabi and Swiss Chard. You can pay a small fortune for a small package of these greens in the supermarket. They can also be easily grown in containers and can be grown indoors during the winter!
There are several varieties of Kale that can be planted at this time of the year. Red Winter kale as tender leaves that go well with other salad greens. You can expect a harvest in about 50 days.
Chinese Kale is closer to broccoli in its growth and it flavor. The flavor is sweeter, which is a definite plus for those who do not like broccolis’ strong flavor. Leaves, stalks, and florets can all be eaten. It should be planted now because it needs 60 to 70 days to mature.
Another member of the broccoli family is Bok Choy. You may have had this in stir-fry dishes served in Asian restaurants. It has spinach like leaves but also has white stems that remain crunchy after cooking. Young leaves are used as micro greens. You can expect a harvest in about 55 days.
If you plant these crops in a cold frame, you can expect a harvest over a much longer period of time.
I would like to thank the folks at Botanical Interests for providing some of the information needed for me to give you the tips on seeds you can use for planting at this time of the year.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.