early fall in the garden

baby lizard

summer is officially over, and it’s time to change things up in the garden. i’ve decided to get the fall plantings going with some cool-weather crops i can keep all winter. i pulled up everything that had stopped producing for summer, turned over the beds, mixed in compost and added supplemental garden soil. i started by watering it to let it rest, and set up some small pots with seeds to transplant in a few weeks. here’s what i’m planting, with supplemental info from wikipedia:

snow peas: snow peas host beneficial bacteria, rhizobia, that fix nitrogen in the soil — this is called a mutualistic relationship — and are therefore a useful companion plant, especially useful to grow intercropped with green, leafy vegetables that benefit from high nitrogen content in their soil.

snap peas: There are several cultivars of snap peas, including ‘Sugar Rae’, ‘Sugar Bon’, ‘Sugar Ann’, and ‘Sugar Snap’. [i planted sugar snap.]

tuscan kale: Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium. Kale contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical believed to have potent anti-cancer properties. Boiling reduces the level of the anti-cancer compounds, however, steaming, microwaving, and stir frying does not result in significant loss. Along with other brassica vegetables, kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.[3][4] Kale is also a good source of carotenoids.

rapini: Rapini (also known as Broccoli Rabe) is a source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium, calcium, and iron.

radicchio: Radicchio is a leaf chicory, sometimes known as Italian chicory and is a perennial. It is grown as a leaf vegetable which usually has white-veined red leaves. It has a bitter and spicy taste, which mellows when it is grilled or roasted. Pliny the Elder wrote of it in Naturalis Historia, praising its medicinal properties; he claimed it was useful as a blood purifier and an aid for insomniacs. In fact, radicchio contains intybin, a blood and liver tonic, as well as a type of flavonoid called anthocyanins.

quinoa: Quinoa is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a member of the grass family. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds. Its leaves are also eaten as a leaf vegetable, much like amaranth, but the commercial availability of quinoa greens is currently limited.

striped roma tomatoes: i chose these because they are a fall variety in zone 10. from the seed company: Beautiful roma shaped tomato, speckled and striped with gold and red, meaty with few seeds, wonderful for slicing, sauces, paste and salsa. Good sweet rich true tomato flavor.

garlic: Immature scapes are tender and edible. They are also known as “garlic spears”, “stems”, or “tops”. Scapes generally have a milder taste than cloves. They are often used in stir frying or prepared things like asparagus. Garlic leaves are a popular vegetable in many parts of Asia. The leaves are cut, cleaned, and then stir-fried with eggs, meat, or vegetables.

radishes: Broadly speaking, radishes can be categorized into four main types (summer, fall, winter, and spring) and a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes, such as red, pink, white, gray-black or yellow radishes, with round or elongated roots that can grow longer than a parsnip. There are red globe radish, black radish, daikon radish, white icicle radish, and California mammoth white radish.

butterhead lettuce: Butterhead forms loose heads. Its leaves have a buttery texture. Butterhead cultivars are most popular in Europe. Popular varieties include Boston, Bibb, Buttercrunch, and Tom Thumb.

oak leaf lettuce: Looseleaf has tender, delicate, and mildly flavoured leaves. This group includes oak leaf and lollo rosso lettuces.

romaine lettuce: Romaine, also called Cos, grows in a long head of sturdy leaves with a firm rib down the center. Unlike most lettuces, it is tolerant of heat.

mesclun: Mesclun is a salad mix of assorted small, young salad leaves which originated in Provence, France. The traditional mix includes chervil, arugula, leafy lettuces and endive in equal proportions, but in modern iterations may include an undetermined mix of fresh and available lettuces, spinach, arugula (rocket), Swiss chard (God’s Breath), mustard greens (Dijon’s Child), endive, dandelion, frisée, mizuna, mâche, radicchio (Italian Spinach), sorrel, and/or other leafy vegetables.

arugula: Arugula has a rich, peppery taste, and has an exceptionally strong flavour for a leafy green. It is generally used in salads, often mixed with other greens in a mesclun, but is also cooked as a vegetable or used raw with pasta or meats in northern Italy. In Italy, rocket is often used in pizzas, added just before the baking period ends or immediately afterwards, so that it will not wilt in the heat. On the island of Ischia in the Gulf of Naples, a digestive alcohol called rucolino is made from the plant, a drink often enjoyed in small quantities following a meal. The liquor is a local specialty enjoyed in the same way as a limoncello or grappa and has a sweet peppery taste that washes down easily.

2 thoughts on “early fall in the garden

  1. I had no idea you could grow quinoa in Los Angeles! Let me know when everything is ready to harvest and I’ll head over for dinner!!


    1. i tried last year and nothing came up, so i’m starting them in containers this time. they say it sprouts in 4 days, so i’ll let you know next week!


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