Thursday, May 1, 2014

Gardens Are Not Just For Summer

Tomatoes, peppers, squash...oh, my! Our mouths start watering thinking about them in February, April, and May. But why wait until summer to enjoy the harvest? Here in North Carolina we easily have three growing seasons: spring, summer, and fall. And harvests can be extened into winter with just a little help. In addition to lettuce and spinach, which I mentioned yesterday, read on for more pics and info about some of the wonderful plants you can be growing long before the tomatoes ripen.

Our garden on May 1.


Turnips are a wonderful spring and early-summer treat. Great in soups or diced and turned to "hash browns." And don't forget the greens! Boil them in a pot with some seasonings...mmm!

Swiss chard is also a green green to boil down or sautee with other yummy flavors.



Kale is becoming more and more popular these days. Not only is it beautiful, but it's a very versatile green. We like to bake ours in the oven on an oiled pan, making "Kale Chips." The kids (and adults) love them!


Bunching onions are ready to get their heads chopped off around this time of year, a perfect addition to salads, soups, or stir-fried dishes.


Peas add nitrogen to the soil and are very tolerant of cold weather, and they're delicious! (Never mind the sneaky cat)


You have to think ahead with garlic. Plant it in the fall and you'll enjoy the aromatic flavors of garlic later in the summer.

Beets can't be beat! We like to make "Beet Chips" with them as well. Even better when mixed with Kale.




And radishes add a nice spice to the your freshly-picked salad mix. We plant Watermelon Radishes, which are an absolutely gorgeous heirloom variety. I'll show you a picture when we harvest them; they do look like little watermelons!


And don't forget the potatoes. In Zone 7, plant them in March for an abundant harvest in late June/early July.





These are just a few of the dozens of options you can grow in spring and fall in many parts of the U.S. You could add carrots, collards, broccoli, cauliflour, parsnips, leeks, Brussels sprouts...


It's not too late to start dreaming about your 2014 fall garden. We'll have a workshop and fall garden plant sale in August to help you get started. Click here for more details.

Happy gardening!


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