I can’t make up my mind. Which word I like better – Fall or Autumn? Fall is short and to the point. Efficiency is good. It immediately reminds us to Fall back. Night falls earlier. The leaves Fall from the trees. I’d say most people I know say Fall.
Then there’s Autumn. The word conjures visualizations of warm woolen socks, cuddling under a hand crocheted afghan, and snuggling near a crackling fire. The trees turn from simply green to a warm adjective rainbow of golden ochre, spicy umber, and rich carmine.
There’s no doubt that whatever you call that season between summer and winter, it’s many gardeners' favorite season. The weather cools to a pleasant 72˚ making it possible to work in the yard in the middle of the day. The trees give us a plethora for the mulch pile, and it’s time to plant edibles.
In alphabetical order, vegetables suitable for planting in warm regions of Southern California are: artichoke, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chives, cilantro, collards, dill, endive, fava beans, garlic, kale, lettuce, onion, parsley, parsnip, peas, radish, Swiss chard, thyme. I bet you’re wondering if it’s Brussels sprouts or Brussel sprouts. Yep, it’s Brussels with an ‘s.’ I googled it.
Not only are Brussels sprouts delicious roasted with balsamic vinegar and pine nuts, this member of the cole crop family is darn right impressive in the garden. The edible sprouts grow like buds in helical patterns along the side of long, thick stalks of about 24 to 47 inches in height, maturing over several weeks from the lower to the upper part of the stalk. Picking sprouts by hand will likely yield 5 to 15 sprouts at a time and offer several harvests.
OK, OK, that pungent flavor isn’t for everyone, so let’s not forget to plant kale. Kale is enjoying a revival among the health conscious since being named “one of the healthiest vegetables” around. You’ll find at least 10 recipes for homemade kale chips on the internet. Believe it or not, ornamental kale is as edible as any other variety. I love mixing kale into my non-vegetable garden to brighten it up with bold shades of white and purple.
As long as we’re being health conscious, let’s plant Swiss chard too. Along with kale and collard greens it is one of several leafy green vegetables often referred to as “greens.” This tall (9-12 inches) leafy green beauty has a thick, crunchy stalk that comes in white, red, or yellow wide fan-like green leaves. Chard can be harvested while the leaves are young and tender, or after maturity when they are larger and have slightly tougher stems. Harvesting is a continuous process, as most species of chard produce three or more crops.
I still can’t make up my mind. I probably never will. With life’s blessings and so much to be thankful for I guess I’ll just have to Fall into the garden and plant my Autumn edibles. May your harvest be abundant.