Many of you may have started to notice that your plants are starting to wain off. Even if you are taking good care of them, it is nearing the end of the spring/summer plant’s life. It’s time to start your fall/winter gardens! Many people don’t realize that they can plant in early spring and late summer, but many plants will bare product up to late fall into the beginning of winter. If you want to to start from seed, you can start now or wait up to September to do so, but make sure that you are planting them at the appropriate time. Check the back of your seed packets or do a little research online so your plants have the proper amount of time to grow. There are 9 varieties of lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, broccoli, cabbage, kale, onions, leeks, and many other cool season vegetables to choose from. So now all you need to decide is what plants you want for your fall/winter garden.
- Starting with a personal favorite, Kale! Many view kale as a garnish but it is so much more than that! It’s crisp, flavorful leaves are great in a salad. The best, though is kale chips; baking them in a oven with a little olive oil and salt till they crisp! Kale comes in a dark green to a deep purple. It is not only tasty, but a beautiful ground cover and great in a pot.
- Broccoli is always a hardy addition to your garden, if you haven’t planted it already. Broccoli can be planted in spring and it will last through the cooler months of autumn. It is good in soups and alone as a side. As long as you pot in a large pot, your broccoli will produce well into late autumn! There are a ton of delicious winter recipes that use broccoli.
- When it comes to lettuce, you have a lot of options. There are nine different varieties that you can grow through the autumn months. Which ever you choose, this crunchy leaf is packed with flavor and vitamins to help you fight off those winter bugs that are flying around the office! In the same family is spinach, which could add an extra “umph” to your salad or dish. A bit of a bitter taste, spinach isn’t for the faint of taste bud but it is still a good source of vitamins and crunch! Here is a list of lettuce that is good for mid-summer to mid-autumn; Rouge d’Hiver, Four Seasons, Mervellie des Quatre Saisons, Black Seeded Simpson, Red Grenoble, and Reine de Glace.
- Swiss chard is picked small and eaten raw so it is a nice alternative to spinach. You can pick Rainbow or Bright Lights swiss chard and add a lot of color to your garden.
- Although you may not be able to grown onions as well on your balcony/patio, a good substitute is the leek. An onion’s flavor resides in it’s bulb. It is not impossible to grow onions in a pot but it is difficult. Leeks, however, store their flavor in their leaves making them a more favorable pick for the urban gardener. They have a lot of flavor just like the onion, and they produce cute white blooms that can add appeal to your garden.
These are just a few personal favorites but keep in mind that there are plenty of cool weather crops that you can plant on your balcony/patio! Not to mention the color you can bring to it with these crops! So keep gardening Urban Gardeners!