Get ready for fall and winter with some cool-season veggies!
Our first frost event should arrive sometime this month and you may be ready to harvest the last of your tender veggies and herbs. Some of your plants will actually tolerate some frost thus allowing you to continue enjoying your fresh bounty until that dreaded, mean, awful, cold winter temperature arrives.
Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower will actually survive some sub-freezing. In the past, here at the Tomato Tower, I have harvested these vegetables right up until the Winter Solstice. One of the problems with these vegetables is deer love to eat them. During the mid-autumn growing season, deer roaming the hills within the woods near the armpit of the Urban Ocean (I-65 and I-459) make my garden a nightly stopover on their way to have a drink at the Cahaba River!
Collard greens are harvested through the end of October here. It’s best to get them out of the garden before the first killing frost. Collards should be washed, cooked and then frozen in dinner-sized portions.
The same goes for turnip greens. Usually, I will harvest the turnip greens while leaving some in the ground to continue to grow during the winter. Guess what? They make turnips when left alone! Every now and then the frost will completely kill the greens. If that happens, simply harvest the turnips and enjoy them for dinner, or prepare and freeze.
Speaking of roots, you can also leave the roots in the ground to over-winter for beets, carrots, parsnips and rutabagas. Onions and garlic will also continue to grow during the fall.
If you want to save basil through the colder months, make pesto and freeze it! Basil usually dies at the first frost, so you should pick it and process it before Mother Nature bites it! If you aren’t ready to make pesto right away and a frost is in the forecast, trim it like you would a flower and place the stems in a vase of water. The basil will not only dress up the room, but will keep for a few days until you have a chance to make your pesto.
I hope you’ll all tune in each Saturday from 1-3 p.m. CDT for Home Grown Tomatoes on our new flagship station, WAPZ Montgomery. If you aren’t in the local coverage area, tune in on the Internet by going to http://hgtradio.net and follow the links to listen live!
For more on these and other gardening tips, log on to Home Grown Tomatoes at http://HGTradio.net.