There’s often a fashion show of sorts here to highlight my fall gardens because it is such a special time when things are lush and green with very little effort required to be spent on tasks such as weeding, watering, or even issues related to insect control.
In the past I’ve posted an Autumn Photo Line-Up, Fall Garden Revue, and even an Extreme Makeover post to showcase the joys of a fall vegetable garden. This time around the stage is set to spotlight the leafy green vegetables, which are always the stars and make up the bulk of the plants growing in my fall garden.
I have honored Collard Greens in the past and some things just don’t change so they are up first and it has been a great season for this hardy and nutritious plant. Some have been producing since spring and are now well over four feet tall with huge leaves ready for harvesting.
There is something new in the way of collards this season, the “Old Timey Blue Collards” a heirloom variety with a purplish tinges to the leaf veining and a slightly bluish hue to the leaves themselves.
And of course there is going to be an assortment of Kale Varieties growing in my garden year-round, but fall is when this plant really shines. Here is a picture of a familiar curled-leaf variety, kales are very productive, hardy, and nutritient dense.
Lacinato Kale has become so popular and common that it’s difficult to label it as a rare heirloom any more. For those who prefer to grow unusual varieties the palm leaf kale strains are still a good choice for a plant that will really stand out in the garden beds!
Another showy variety that I grew this year was this Curly Purple Kale, I’d have to check to be sure but this one may even be a hybrid rather than an heirloom. Either way it is a stunning plant with a deep purple color and extremely wavy leaf edges.
I even planted a Kale Cover Crop in one of my beds this fall. Once the tomato plants were removed the bed was seeded with a mix of kale varieties and they germinated into a thick mat of tiny leafy greens that will protect the soil and offer harvests of tasty micro-greens.
The Swiss Chard is still productive and colorful as it takes advantage of the ideal growing conditions that fall brings. Unlike most of the other greens shown here, chard doesn’t reliably over winter in my region but it still makes a great plant for fall gardeners.
Mustard Greens are a great fall crop and this Red Giant Mustard is one of my favorite varieties because it is easy to grow, looks great with its reddish and purple tinged leaves, and is delicious with a spicy, Dijon mustard-like flavor.
Arugula doesn’t display as flashy an appearance as some of the other greens pictured here but it does stand out in the kitchen where it offers a distinct flavor and nutritional qualities make it worth including in every cool season garden.
That’s just a peek at the leafy greens that are growing in the fall garden. In spite of the abundance of leafy greens that I have access to, I’m still patiently awaiting the first fall frosts to arrive and season them with a touch of sweetness that the cold temperatures always deliver. That is when I will really enjoy cooking with them, until then I’ll continue to dehydrate the greens for winter use and also juice them to create healthy and nutritious drinks.
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