By Urban Harvest
It’s not fall yet, but I find myself looking at seed catalogs planning my fall garden. And this is a good time for you to take a break from the blistering heat and do some dreaming about the lush fall garden to come.
I look forward to fall gardening with renewed energy for gardening, for fall is the planting season when so many tasty and nutritious vegetables can be grown. The choice on what to grow often comes down to what I most like to eat and how much space I have in which to grow.
If garden space was not an issue, I would grow everything possible, which is what I have been known to do many years, even if the amount of something like parsnips was limited to only a few plants.
Let’s start with the root vegetables, which include turnips, carrots, beets, rutabagas, radishes, parsnips, horseradish, ginger, sun chokes, celeriac, kohlrabi bulb fennel and potatoes. Now don’t turn your nose up at rutabagas and turnips if you have not tasted them when harvested small and full of their sweet and exotic flavors. And the vast varieties of beets, carrots and turnips can excite you every time you go out to harvest.
Now let’s turn to the big sweet greens which include kale, collards, Swiss chard, and bok choy. Not to be left out are the big stemmed brassicas, which include cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage, broccoli rabe, Brussels sprouts and Chinese cabbage.
Then there are the spicy leafy vegetables including mustards, arugula, endive, escarole, dandelion, radicchio and sorrel.
We will be including the many herbs – both mild and spicy – such as cilantro, dill, parsley, cress, minutina, edible flowers (such as chrysanthemum, calendula or violets) salad burnet, chervil and chives.
The small leafy sweet vegetables, including lettuce and spinach, stand alone with their hundreds of colors, textures, sizes and tastes.
Fall would not be complete without the legumes such as sugar peas, sugar snap peas and bush beans. The sight of hundreds of peas dangling from upright vines makes even the most sour mouth water.
Then we have the leafy grain vegetables like amaranth and quinoa of which both the leaves and seeds are edible.
The onion family and all of their relatives absolutely need to be included, with garlic, green onions, bulbing onions, Egyptian onions, leeks and more.
This column is produced by Urban Harvest. Learn about its farmers markets, youth school programs, gardening classes, community gardens, orchard and more at the Urban Harvest website or call 713-880-5540. This article was written by Ray Sher, who is a gardening and permaculture instructor, vegetable and fruit garden consultant, and works his large intensive home vegetable, fruit and herb garden using organic methods.