Fall is finally here at the Cooking Light garden: the bean trellis is now a skeleton, and the area where we once grew tomatoes is now home to cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Here's an update and some photos from Mary Beth and David (Warning: Adorable puppy ahead!):
- Radishes: The Purple Plum and Pink Beauties were absolute gems of perfection. They were rounder and prettier than the ones from our warm Spring. We also tossed in a new variety that is an interesting golden-tan: Jaune D'or Ovale. Later-maturing varieties, such as White Hailstone and Watermelon (Chinese Red Meat), should be ready next week.
- Lettuces: Again, like our Spring bed, we have rainbow rows of greens, speckled, red and purple. Fourteen or more varieties are ready for eating. Surprisingly, none have bolted in these hotter fall days but I haven't tasted any to see if they are as sweet as I like. Arugula—both the wild rocket and less spicy varieties—are ready to harvest in 2" baby leaf form, or we can grow out a wee bit more.
- Other Greens: The radicchio are leafing out nicely and will hopefully begin forming tight heads that will color up in the chilly temps. Swiss chard—one of my favorites for ornamental and edible value in the garden—is kicking in gear. Mustards are gaining height and turning purplish-red. We also recently harvested Pak Choi/Bok Choy. Lacinato kale is putting on height and leafing out. Personally, my love for this is akin to the love of summer tomatoes in season. Lacinato is our winter obsession; we crave it all year. Harvesting leaves after a few frosts will sweeten them and make the most delicious raw shaved salad with a lemon vinaigrette. We added a Blue Fizz kale this year that you can see in the photo by the radicchio and zinnias. It's still young but responding to a little boost of compost tea. This kale is a new hybrid that takes the best of Red Russian (a more purple, toothy leaf) with Lacinato.
- Beets: The beets are ready for the radishes to get the heck out of their way. I interplanted radishes inbetween the beets and carrots to make the most of the space. It's a great trick for 30-day radishes that you pull quickly, but these other two varieties are shading out our baby beets. We have golden, a dark red, chioggia and a new one I threw in for kicks: a cylindrical dark red.
- Cole Crops: Our cole crops are finally putting on size after battling the voracious voles. We've lost several plantings and had to replant a few areas twice. Now we are finally seeing the 'Red Ball' Brussels, the broccoli, the rapini, and the cabbages take off!
- In other garden news, we have a new little puppy! Every farm needs great farm dogs and this little black lab is sure to be one. She's already chomping on weeds and keeping good company. We haven't named her yet but will add "Maple" to her name for Maple Valley. Trying to decide between Penelope Maple (aka Ellie), Penelope Maple (aka Ella), and Millicent Maple (aka Millie). Let us know your vote!
Read More: Our Guide to Fall Produce