My name is Kathy and I have a passion for growing things that I can eat. I love this time of year, when you can walk through the garden and pick tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis, and more. I like flowers and shrubs, too—but they are even better if I can browse off them (like blueberries).
I hope my blog will help you see that you, too, can raise food in your garden (or on your deck or in a pea patch). I’m not going to try to tell you how you can raise all your food in your own yard—but I am going to tell you that lettuce straight out of your garden and into your salad bowl is way better than the stuff you can buy in the store. I will try to focus on things that are fairly easy to grow, although sometimes things grow well for one person and not for another. (My daughter and I have a running contest over who can grow the best carrots, and she is always the winner.)
This may seem like a strange time to start a garden blog, but this can actually be a good time to start some edibles. It’s a great time to go visit a local nursery that has vegetable starts, and plunk in a few plants of lettuce and kale. Winter here is mild enough that in most years, hardy greens will survive until spring. Kale is always my number one winter success. While the Brussels sprouts just sit there and refuse to grow sprouts for me, the kale produces leaves during the winter and broccoli-like flowers in early spring. That’s a winning veggie to me. (Ick, kale? you say? Bon Appetit’s recipe of 2012 is a kale salad! Check it out at http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2012/09/crispy-kale-salad-with-lime-dressing .)
So, go see what’s in stock at the nurseries (and I mean a real nursery, not a Big Box store) and put a few veggies in the ground right now. Put in a little fertilizer as you plant them, and keep them well watered until the rains start. Always plant the seedlings at the same level they are planted in the packs—do not plant them deeper than they were or their stem can rot. I would suggest lettuce and kale as easy veggies to start with, but you can also plant Brussels sprouts and cabbage. In my experience, it is a little late to plant those, but that won’t stop me from trying! You can also plant seeds of lettuce. If you plant them thickly, you can cut a swath of the small plants for a salad. Cut above the growing point, and they will continue to put out leaves.
Around here, our limiting factor for growing fall vegetables is not cold, but diminishing sunlight. At some point, the plants in your garden will just stop putting out new growth and will wait until the days start getting longer in late winter. But for now, there’s still enough sunlight to encourage us to get out and plant a few for the fall and winter table.