Looking at the fall planting guide provided by Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service, it looks like its time to get working on some greens and things. The okra and the peppers and beans are all doing so well right now that I kind of forgot about getting these cool season greens in. I know what I’m doing this weekend! Break out your seed packets or run to the garden store with me, it’s plantin’ time!
- Chard: a beet relative, chard is basically the greens part of the beet without the big root part. Why grow these? Besides being a nutritional powerhouse, it is a hardy leaf green. It takes the heat and cold better than kale or spinach. Some of the recommended varieties for south central Texas are Bright Lights, Fordhook Giant, Lucullus, and Ruby. I planted Bright Lights in the spring and let a couple of the plants stand through summer. They, survived the heat, and seem to have renewed vigor with this nice, fall weather. Either way, I’m planting some more. They are not only tasty, they are beautiful! Not sure how to use this delicious superfood? Try this simple and delicious recipe. Also, just toss ’em in a salad!
- Collards: a non-heading cousin to cabbage and broccoli, collards are high in fiber and contain multiple nutrients with potent anticancer properties. I’ve not grown these, yet, but I’m going to give it a try this fall. My September planted broccoli is doing okay, but the cabbage just won’t take. Hopefully, collards will fair better. Recommended varieties for south central Texas are Blue Max, Champion, and Vates. Want to try a classic southern collards recipe?
- Garlic: Oh! I’ve so wanted to try planting garlic in my little container garden, but it’s just one of those things where I have to weigh garden space and time-to-harvest considerations. Rumor is, you won’t recognize the deliciousness of garlic grown in your garden as compared to store-bought. Recommended varieties for Texas include soft-necked types like California Early, Lorz Italian, Texas White and Mexican Pink. Oh, and get a move on! Apparently, garlic is popular and quite in demand. Order early from online stores and keep a close eye on delivery dates for your local garden center.
- Lettuce: I never really gave lettuce much thought until I grew some myself. It was just something that added a little crunch to sandwiches and burgers. I know better now. I’ve grown a couple of different types of lettuce, some Romaine-types and butterheads, greens and reds. Besides being crisp and delicious and being comforted by the fact that they’ve never seen pesitcide, I like just being able to run out and snap off a few leaves and leave the rest safely on the plant. I don’t ever have to throw out lettuce because I couldn’t eat it fast enough. Not to mention, they’re pretty easy to grow. Some varieties to try include Buttercrunch, Black-seeded Simpson, red and green Oakleaf, and Parris Island. For containers, try Little Gem. They are tiny and sweet and delicious!
- Parsley: This is great to have around if you’re a fan of tabbouleh. If you haven’t tried it, you’re in for a treat! It’s yummy and good for you, too. Recommended varieties for our neck of the woods include Banquet, Italian Dark Green, Moss Curled and Plain Italian. Some say the flat types have better flavor, but I think the curly are prettier and give texture to a dish.
I’ll fill you in on any planting that goes on this weekend. Let me know now things are going with your garden in the comments section.