Many greens come into their own in cool weather, with some even improved by a touch of frost on their leaves! Autumn (and winter in warm climates) is the ideal time to grow spinach, mustard, Swiss chard, Chinese
cabbage, and kale. Some varieties, such as Swiss Chard Bright Lights and Kale Glamour Red, are so ornamental that they belong in the annual bed, right beside the Mums, Pansies, and other cool-season flowers.
Others, such as Arugula, Cornsalad, and Lettuce, are super-quick, so you can sow the seeds every week well into autumn to stagger your harvest. Try growing some traditional long-season varieties as "baby greens" in half the time too - Mustard Red Giant, another beautiful ornamental veggie, can be harvested at just 20 days for tender gourmet greens!
Of course, there is much more to be grown in autumn than just greens. Peas stage a fabulous encore to their spring performance - the quick-finishing "mangetout" or snow peas as well as the podded types. Root vegetables such as beets do well even after the soil turns cold. Try a quick-finishing variety such as popular Red Ace for a faster harvest.
And for the quickest finish of all, rely on the humble radish! Perfect for containers as well as the garden, radishes are the closest vegetable we have to "instant gratification," and even children love looking for those rosy-red shoulders to push up through the soil just about a month after planting.
Growing a vegetable garden in autumn is so rewarding. As the days grow shorter and our thoughts turn to Thanksgiving, the idea of stocking our pantry shelves and veggie bins becomes even more appealing. Keep your garden productive right up to snowfall with big, delicious fall crops!
Between tailgating, back-to-school events, Halloween, and Thanksgiving, your autumn garden probably sees a lot of traffic... and your cutting garden has many demands placed on it for attractive bouquets. Add a little more pizzazz to the fall show in your landscape by planting autumn-blooming perennials this season!
For some instant gratification, rely on that fall classic, Mums! We have 3 fabulous varieties available now as plants: the classic Shasta Daisy Becky, the super-floriferous pink Clara Curtis, and the dramatic new Matchsticks, with its bold ember-toned blooms. For a contrasting cooler tone, add some Aster Monch to the display.
One perennial that really comes into its own in autumn is Sedum, and no plant is easier to grow in sunny, well-drained soil. Returning for many years (and often spreading contentedly), it tolerates heat, humidity, and even drought effortlessly. Consider combining it with other sun-lovers such as Echinacea, Salvia, Helenium, and Stokes's Aster, all of which continue flowering into fall after a long summer show.
Of course, you don't have to buy plants to begin a fine fall-blooming perennial garden. Many perennials grow quite readily from seed, and some actually prefer a fall sowing, where they can take advantage of the cold period over winter to stimulate their germination and growth in spring. Consider sowing these autumn bloomers from seed this fall:
Prepare the bed or cold frame carefully, raking the soil to eliminate large rocks and debris. Then scatter the seeds freely, barely covering them with soil or vermiculite. Keep the area free from foot traffic, falling leaves, and other obstructions, and make sure that the soil doesn't entirely dry out. Next spring, you will be delighted by fresh young shoots, ready to grow into perennials that will produce bright blooms for years to come!
For step-by-step instructions on planting a tree in your garden, click here!
Do you have a particularly delicious recipe involving one or more vegetables, herbs, and/or fruit you grew from Park seeds or plants? Would you like to share it with other gardeners who may be harvesting exactly the same varieties?!
If so, you're ready to enter our 2012 Recipe Contest! Just send your recipe to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line of "2012 Recipe Contest" and a photo of the dish if you happen to have one. We'll select a winner to receive a $25 Gift Certificate!
The deadline for this contest is September 30, 2012, and the winner will be announced in an upcoming edition of Park News. So share your creative cooking with others and you may just win! Good luck and have fun in the kitchen!
Here's a great recipe from one of our previous recipe contests:
Reconstructed Tomato Salad
Directions & Method:
Slice each tomato into four even slices, then "reconstruct" the tomatoes layering as you go.
Sprinkle the first tomato slice with salt, drizzle with olive oil, add two basil leaves and a slice of mozzarella, then another slice of tomato.
When you put the top slice of tomato back on, place a toothpick through the centre of the tomato to hold it all together, then cover the toothpick with a sprig of basil.
Drizzle the balsamic reduction on the plate, and serve!
*One entry per person. Entries must be received via email by September 30, 2012. Please remember, sending your content to us implies that you take full responsibility that your submission is completely original, and grants complete permission for us to edit, publish and reuse your content. Click here to read complete Terms and Conditions regarding our use of user content.