September 4, 2011

Fall Vegetable Gardening

This will be the first year of planting out a fall vegetable garden. Oooo, how fun. Luckily my area tends to stay frost free well into November, so let's cross our fingers that the vegetables will over-winter or reach maturity before the frost. The more winter hardy varieties I am planning to plant include Windsor Fava Bean, Fordhook Swiss Chard, Sugar Snap Peas, spinach, kale, collard, mustard, radish, Zefo Fino Fennel, kohlrabi, garland chrysanthemum, garlic chives, and bunching onions.

The less hardy varieties but yet should still make it are the beets, turnips, and lettuces. And a great variety of Asian greens including garland chrysanthemum a half hardy annual which can be harvested at 21 days and matures at 45 days that produces pretty flowers and readily self-seeds, the young herbaceous leaves are cooked lightly in soups, added at the very end during stir fries, or eaten raw as an herby green accompaniment.

Yu choy or edible rape is similar to kailaan (gai lan) or Chinese sprouting broccoli/kale in that the thick stems and sprouting flowers are eaten and can be cooked by lightly boiling the stems and then frying quickly with garlic and ginger make sure you don't burn the garlic and ginger or it'll be very bitter, or fried quickly and then chicken broth is added and cooked covered to lightly steam. Both yu choy and kailaan are wonderful vegetables served hot or cold with panfried fish and dipped in nuoc mam. Yum.

Then there's the Chinese cabbages like pak choy and tah tasi which are so good in soups in stir fries and only take to 3-4 weeks to mature.

My only set back to fall planting has been the rain. The day after the garden was rototilled it rained buckets. And I can't find the nylon trellis netting that the sugar snap peas will need to grow on. Grrr. I ended up ordering a new bag of netting from Amazon, even though I know somewhere in the shop lurks the other bag.

Here's a beautiful chrysanthemum I picked up from the grocery store, the non-edible perennial variety. It will look pretty planted next to the back porch.