Leafy Greens take Center Stage in the Fall Garden

October 23, 2013

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.

Collard Greens

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.


Blue Collards

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.


Curly Leaf Kale

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

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!


Purple Kale

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.


Kale Cover Crop

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.


Swiss Chard

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.


Red Giant Mustard

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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  • Denise

    I love looking through gardening and food blogs. My friend just told me about yours and also “Cooking With Mr. C.” on Facebook. I just “Liked” his page and came to see your site. I’m glad when people share blogs with each other. Denise

  • We have a variety of collards, kale and rhubarb in our fall garden. My daughter and I eat the dark leafy greens daily in salads and my super potent green vegetable juices. Of course our furbabies; guinea pig, lionhead rabbit and netherland dwarf rabbit happily munch on them too.

  • The red giant mustard is my favorite. Such a beautiful sight. btw, great blog. Started following 🙂

  • Kenny Point

    Thanks Sharath, I love the mustard varieties that display tinges of red or even purple on their leaves.

  • LJ Grant

    Hi Kenny,

    I revisited your post from 2006 on Lamb’s Quarters. I learned about them ten years ago at a Wild Edible Plants workshop and they’ve been in the top three of my favorite greens ever since!

    Your fall photo tour of all the luscious greens you’ve got in the garden is really impressive, but even more… it just warms my heart to see them, so healthy and strong. That connection to the earth, to sunshine stored in the vigorous green leaves that sprout like magic, that is what makes us strong in body and in spirit.

    Thanks for your enjoyable and pleasant blogging!

  • Kenny Point

    Hi LJ, thanks for visiting the site and leaving a comment. Lambs Quarters is one of my favorite wild edible plants. The hardy leafy greens really do celebrate and thrive during the fall growing season.

  • I like organic vegetables very much.

  • Hey Kenny. Long time since I’ve been on your site.
    My garden is getting better every year.
    I’m still greatly challenged with the Brassicas though. I get wiped out by those darn worms and white butterflies. Two years in a row now. I tried to plant for Fall this year and they still got me. Suggestions?

  • Kenny Point

    Hey Karina, it’s great to hear from you! I have had the opposite experience with those cabbage worms; saw very few of the butterflies and had only insignificant damage due to the worms eating brassica leaves. I hand picked a few but that was not often compared to a few years ago when they were much more evident. I have gotton to the point where I have not been spraying any type of pesticide in the garden, even organic ones, so maybe I have more beneficial predator insects that are established and helping to control the cabbage worms or that are eating their eggs. In your case if you can not control by hand picking the caterpillars then just use Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), it is an organic pesticide, it’s very effective, and specifically targets insects that are in the caterpillar stage of growth such as the cabbage worms.

  • Those leafy vegetables will be great ingredients for a salad.

  • Doug

    I came upon your site when I was searching for alternative ways to stake/trellis indeterminate tomatoes. I too am through with cages and constant staking. Your post validates what I discovered during my research. Many people have recently turned to some sort of sturdy trellis structure for their tomatoes. Next year I am going to try using cattle panels in between fence posts as I plan to use that method for my cucumbers, beans, bitter melon and butternut squash. In case you are curious they are available at Tractor Supply Company for 12.99 which is an about a 5×8 welded galvanized mesh of almost 1/4 inch wire. I may still use your updated approach as I usually plant 32 – 40 plants.

    My real question is about Fall greens. Our family is in love with Tuscan (Dino) Kale, Brussels sprouts, collards, chard and many other greens. What I have struggled with is succession planting. Meaning planning out the beds so that by the time it is proper to plant Fall greens (direct sow) you are using the same bed you grew something in for the Spring / Summer. Most of us are limited by space and time so I was wondering if your experience has taught you what to plant first in (Spring) in the bed you will use Fall greens ?

    Our garden is in Southern Maryland near the water and I have a hard time pulling up tomatoes and string beans because we don’t cool off as quick and I can get decent green tomatoes and beans usually through Thanksgiving unless we get real cold like we did this year.

  • I am first time visitor of your blog. Going through your other posts too. Thanks for this great info. 🙂

  • Eric Ackley

    Kenny–Great photos! I’m in Texas, so winter doesn’t have much effect on us here. Our problem is summer heat. I plant the fall winter vegetables in October, so they aren’t as good-looking as yours, but they are still coming on strong, even in December in Texas.
    -Eric Ackley | theZone9Gardener.com

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