A few years ago my hubs & I tried gardening and discovered we loved the satisfying process of growing our own food. Not only does it taste delicious *so fresh*, we enjoy growing unusual veggies – not just the everyday stuff you can buy in the store. There is so much more variety in nature than you could ever discover in a supermarket.
Last weekend we planted our fall garden. Living in Texas, we needed to wait until the average temperature dipped below 90. Our growing season is long, because most of the veggies we plant produce and thrive down to 15 degrees.
This is the first season we planted completely from seed (no nursery transplants). It’s strange to know we put in so many hours of work outside and all we can see is dirt today. #PatienceIsAVirtue Technically a few of our herbs are hold-overs from our summer planting, so we have a tiny head start. It’s going to be interesting to watch everything grow from the ground up.
We have one raised bed and about 30 containers in our back yard with vegetables, and about a dozen herb pots on our front porch. Here is what our fall garden should bring us…
LEFT: EASTER EGG RADISHES – I could eat radishes constantly. I love their peppery bite. Easter Egg Radishes are the first one I successfully grew. This is my third season planting them. I love that they’re a mystery. Each one comes out of the ground a different color – red, pink, purple, or white. They have a mild flavor and are the quickest variety to mature – from seed to table in less than 30 days. BLACK SPANISH RADISHES – um, I get to grow a black and white vegetable. They’re supposed to be a little larger than the average radish and very crisp.
MIDDLE: FRENCH BREAKFAST RADISHES – This is my second time growing these. They’re fingerling shaped and are supposed to be great for roasting. I’ve browsed a lot of recipes for cooking radishes, but I keep eating them raw before I get a chance to cook them. Hopefully, this fall I can grow ahead of my cravings and start using them in different ways. PERFECT PLUM RADISHES – These radishes grow in a range of rich purples.
RIGHT: GERMAN GIANT RADISHES – These can grow to BASEBALL size, but can be harvested young to eat. I am going to try to grow a giant!!! WATERMELON RADISHES – Another PRETTY veggie. These radishes are white on the outside, are rimmed with lime green and are a highlighter pink in the middle. Hoping to pickle these.
LEFT: STRAWBERRY SPINACH – I ran across this vegetable on Instagram and tracked down the seeds. This unusual plant does double duty. The leaves taste like spinach and can be used cooked or raw, and the berries can also be eaten – in salads – or in pie fillings, compote, or jams. I am super interested to see what this mild berry tastes like – it’s described to be similar to a mulberry. LOLLA ROSSA LETTUCE – This is my third or fourth season growing Lolla Rossa. It’s so pretty. The color grows deeper as the plant matures. Nice in salads or on sandwiches.
MIDDLE: LUNAR WHITE CARROTS – I love vegetables in unusual colors, these white carrots are no exception. PARISIAN CARROTS – This is my second season with Parisian carrots. I love making peas & carrots and hope to harvest these so I can make a bowl of perfect little balls of green & orange goodness. Hopefully I learned from my previous carrot failures (don’t ask) & this year will give me a better crop. I’ve definitely learned a lot about carrot growing in the off season! SCARLET NANTES CARROTS – Hoping the insides are scarlet, but not really sure. What can I say? It was a carrot seed variety pack…
RIGHT: BAMBINO CARROTS – They’re BABIES! Bambinos grow to the size of baby carrots. It’s exciting to us, because that means those will be ready to harvest before the others. COSMIC PURPLE CARROTS – These reddish purple carrots are pretty and are orange on the inside.
LEFT: EARLY ALASKA PEAS – These peas have the potential to produce all winter and through next spring. It just depends if the actual temperature (not windchill) drops below 15. Should be interesting.
MIDDLE: PURPLETTE ONIONS – I had a few seeds left over from last fall & thought – why not? I harvested them like green onions, except their tips are purple. We’ll see how the Tokyo White come up, I may let these baby purples bulb this season if I have plenty of the other to pick. TOKYO WHITE BUNCHING ONIONS – I love green onions & use them on baked potatoes, salads, and to top soups & chilis. These are supposed to grow and regenerate quickly. Excited to try them.
RIGHT: WINDSOR FAVA BROAD BEANS – This is another seed I picked based on it’s ability to handle colder temperatures and possibly over-winter. Fava beans cook like a lima bean, which we like, so fingers crossed.
LEFT: BUTTERCRUNCH LETTUCE – My go-to, tried & true, top performing lettuce. This is my fifth time to plant buttercrunch, but the first time from seed. BRIGHT LIGHTS SWISS CHARD – Swiss Chard is easy to grow & hard to kill. it’s a bitter green, like kale, and I prefer it cooked. I think this is my third or fourth season growing it. I’ve seen a cool recipe on Pinterest for the stems – which I’ve never used before & am excited to try! (Parmesan Baked Swiss Chard Stems, Sriracha Swiss Chard Stem Refrigerator Pickles)
MIDDLE: SPINACH – You can’t go wrong with spinach – but I’ve only ever grown it once before. I usually opt for collard greens and kale, but I decided to not grow those this year, because let’s face it, I’ve gone a little berserk. I think having no spring garden and maybe 10% of my summer garden has taken it’s mental toll, and I’m gardening with a vengeance! ELEGANT SALAD MIX – I laugh when I see this title. They sell little plant containers like this, as well as seed packets. Just say “leftover mystery lettuce seeds”, because that’s what it is. I dutifully planted my “elegant”/mystery container. Because, it’s just fun to have a big variety & figure out what all you got afterwards. I believe one of these mystery mixes is how I tried Lolla Rossa for the first time. So #bonus. ROCKET ARUGULA – I must eat a full bag or box of arugula a week. It’s my favorite leafy green. If I have bacon in the house I fry up a piece or two and start the day with an arugula, bacon, & tomato salad. I also use it in my warm cauliflower bowl recipe, which I make for lunch quite often now. Hoping the Rocket is easier to grow than the jumbo variety I tried in the past. The other ones reached a shocking 2 feet in perimeter and the plants choked each other out.
RIGHT: CHABLIS CARROTS – Still carroting from my variety pack. The Chablis should be a really pretty pale yellow. This rainbow of veggies should make for some very pretty salad photos in a month or so. RED CORED CHANTENAY CARROTS – They are surprisingly not red. The photos I found online don’t show their core. I can only hope it’s really red. If not, that’s a stupid name for this carrot.
LEFT: FERNLEAF DILL – Third (and final) attempt. I’ve killed two dill plants so far. I started to wonder if they prefer cooler temps, so I’m giving it one more go. Love dill on fish and with veggies, so I hope it works out. SLOW BOLT CILANTRO – I’ve grown an LOT of cilantro over time, but this is the first I’ve heard about slow-bolt varieties. I am VERY excited to see how this does. Like four pots of cilantro planted excited. Ready for tacos, salsa, pico making! ROSEMARY – My go to for lamb, steak, and potatoes. *Added bonus, it keeps mosquitoes off my porch.*
MIDDLE: MOJITO MINT – It’s just mint, but that was the name on the label. Mint is by far the easiest thing I have ever grown. Make sure you keep it in a container, or it will take over your entire yard! GENOVESE BASIL – Genovese is a sweet, traditional, Italian-style basil. I’m going to harvest it as long as I can – but it turns black & dies the minute the wind chill gets to 32, so the clock is ticking.
RIGHT: PARSLEY – I always thought parsley was pretty useless until I came across this sauce recipe. It’s the best thing that has ever happened to noodles. LEMON BALM – this is another hardy herb that grown like mint, but the leaves smell like cut lemons. Great for infusing water, adding to tea, or garnishing desserts. GARLIC CHIVES – These little hybrid chives have a mild garlic flavor. Great for garnish. Lovely, delicate white blooms.
OMG, If you read my whole garden write up, you’re a real fan, a serious gardener, or a member of my family (hi)! I can’t believe how much I had to say about vegetables (but I love them). Best of luck with your planting & subscribe to my personal Instagram feed to see photos of everything I harvest this season & some of what I cook with it!