Veggies to Plant Now for Fall Harvest! - Colliers Hill
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Colliers Hill News & Events

Veggies to Plant Now for Fall Harvest!

And you thought planting season was over! For the new or nearly new gardener, these easy-to-grow “cool season” crops are the kind to plant in mid-summer for a successful harvest this fall. Unlike the veggies that are sensitive to frost (“warm season” crops), most fall vegetables will continue to produce until the first freeze. But, you have to plant now to reap the bounty!

Cool season crops include three kinds of veggies: root vegetables, leafy greens and brassicas (veggies with a lot of vitamins C and K and manganese: cabbage, mustard greens, rutabagas, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, turnips, kale and collard greens). To figure out an ideal planting date before you run out of time, check the predicted first frost date in your area . And while the Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts the first fall frost will be September 23 in Erie, the site admits the frost dates are only 30 percent predicts a 90 percent probability for October 24, so roll the dice and plant your produce!

Gourmet Veggies to Plant

According to Modern Farmer, NOW is the best planting date for a few gourmet veggies like some highfalutin’ greens and the chef-fave: fennel bulbs, which take 90 days to mature. You’d be cutting it close, but might make it and these juicy, crunchy anise-like flavored bulbs make a tasty addition to everything from pork chops, sausage and fennel ragout. Even the undersize bulbs you might harvest are succulent, delicious and totally worth the effort it takes to see them to near-maturity!

Wait till early fall to plant super cool veggies like Mache – a petit green with a sweet, mild flavor like baby lettuce. Mache reaches maturity at 30 to 40 days and is harvested by trimming it with scissors. Another quick-growing green, Orach, also known as saltbush, is a distant relative of spinach. It tastes like spinach, but with a uniquely salty bite. Orach is super easy to grow and reaches three to four feet in height, providing plenty of greens for salads and the yummy fall favorite, Spinach, Sausage, Tortellini Soup (more recipes below!). 

You can also plant fava beans, which mature in 70 or so days. These nutty beans are slightly sweet, like a tender “pole bean.” Favas are tasty when consumed as green, tender beans and Planet Natural says when pureed they’re a healthy, hearty base to soups and dips or bean burgers. Experiment with the different varieties of fava beans, like Sweet Lorane or Aquadulce. 

Seeds Now has seed packets of 15 different vegetables you can plant now for fall, like beets, turnips, radishe, carrots, spinach, lettuce, kale, arugula, kohlrabi, cauliflower and more — for gracing your dinner table with nutritiousness this fall. And Johnny’s Seeds has a large selection of “cool season” vegetables to plant now for an October harvest.

This university extension site has a handy list of cool season vegetables, the number of days to maturity and whether or not each vegetable can survive a light frost. For example, beets, green onions, and peas can survive to the high 20s, while collard greens, kale, Brussel sprouts and cabbage survive down to 20 degrees. Garlic will winter over in the ground for you to harvest next July, and spinach may overwinter in the ground, too.

Recipes for Fall Veggies

If you’re using greens to stir fry, you need something sturdy with tough ribs and a cruciferous flavor (like collards) plus this five-star recipe from the New York Times Cooking Section. All you need are your greens, 15 minutes, a few ingredients like rice wine, soy sauce, peanut oil and garlic, plus a flat-bottomed wok or skillet.

The versatile cabbage works well in dishes like the collection from Sweet and Savory Meals: Bacon Fried Cabbage, Slow Cooker Beer Ribs, and Baja Fish Tacos, as well as the highly rated Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls.

Planet Natural offers a few fava bean recipes for your cool veggie harvest. From Fava Bean Hummus and Fava Sausage Bake to Fava Bean Succotash.

Chocolate Gluten-Free Cake (with beets!) is the brainchild of Melissa Knorris – a fifth generation homesteader who helps people get back to homemade, homegrown living. Melissa is all about healthy recipes that taste as good or better than the unhealthy versions, like this cake to which beets give an almost dark red velvet feel. She likes topping the cake with a raspberry sauce/syrup that’ll have gluten eaters coming back for seconds.

Grow Your Own Veggies in Colliers Hill

When veggies are in season, we like to take advantage of the many ways to enjoy them — fresh from the farm or your own backyard to table! The Farmer’s Market in Erie is held Thursdays on Briggs Street, and if you’re not a resident yet of nearby Colliers Hill, swing by before touring this incredible master-planned community. Don’t miss the amazing amenities and the beautiful model homes from Century Communities and Richmond American Homes – and coming this winter – K B Home, with paired offerings. It’s a great time to buy with rates so low – and lots of possibilities from the high $300s.