It’s been a great year for the fall vegetables here in 2011. We’ve had ample rains and moderate weather, and so far by early November we’ve had several frosts but no freezing temperatures. The greens have been growing lush with all the rain.
We’re growing some old standbys in the fall garden along with some newcomers. The Beira Tronchuda (aka Couve Tronchuda, aka Portuguese Kale) is a lovely plant, with an upright growth habit and leaves that resemble collards to some degree. This is my first time growing it. We’ve yet to harvest any of the leaves, but I do see some Caldo Verde in our future. Renee’s Garden Seeds has a good article about Portugese Kale on their blog, along with a recipe for the soup.
The leaves of the Tronchuda have white stems and veins, with fairly thick medium green leaves. I started our plants from seed back in early June, and set out husky transplants in the bed in early August. The plants are now around two feet tall.
By contrast, the collard greens have slightly smaller leaves with green stems. We’re having a mess of them tonight, served along with some beans and cornbread.
The fall broccoli has certainly taken it’s time heading up. The same plants and varieties (Packman and Windsor), set out at about the same time, produced dinner plate sized heads several weeks ago at the Impact Community Garden. Ours are just now sizing up here. That’s all right – better late than never I say!
I did get a harvest of the primary heads of the Piracicaba and Apollo varieties last week. The main heads on those varieties are smaller than most heading broccolis, but the side shoots are the real treat. The Apollo variety has long and tender stems (like broccolini).
The rest of the kale in the main garden plot is growing strong. We’ve got Beedy’s Camden and Lacinato Rainbow growing thanks to a seed swap with Mr H. from the Subsistence Pattern blog. Both of these varieties are reported to be especially winter hardy. I plan on covering them with some row cover material a bit later in the season to give them a little extra protection. We haven’t harvested any from them just yet. I’m saving the hardier types for later in the season. And the flavor will just keep getting better with more cold weather.
Assuming they make it through the winter intact, I will be saving seed from one of these varieties next spring. I would save more than one, but I am guessing they will bloom about the same time which would result in some unwanted cross pollination. We will see how that works out.
I also have cabbage and cauliflower planted and they are just now heading up. Cauliflower is one of the more difficult vegetables we grow, so it’s always a surprise if they actually give us something to eat. Looking down into the center of the plant in the below photo, there is a tiny little cauliflower starting to form. So maybe there is hope for some this year.
That’s a look at what’s growing here in the main garden this fall. I’ll do an update on what’s growing in the rest of the gardens and greenhouse soon.