Me with a leaf of Giant Winter spinach. The name is no joke!
Is it still hot and buggy where you live? Are you getting tired of your garden? Are you starting to feel overwhelmed by your harvest? (I’m looking at you zucchini, cucumber and tomato plants…)
If so, then I can totally understand why you’re feeling less than enthusiastic about planting a fall garden. I’m an avid and passionate gardener and even I have a tough time getting myself into the garden to plant at this time of year.
The thing that motivates me? The knowledge that cooler weather is coming, and when it does, I’ll be excited to work in my garden again.
And I know my future self, the one who really wants to eat fresh spinach salads throughout October and November, isn’t going to be happy with me if I don’t get my butt out to my garden and plant right now.
The last several weeks I’ve been talking about (harping on?) planting your fall garden on the blog. The reason? Because I love having a fall garden so much that I want to convince you to try it so that you’ll experience the joyful pleasure of harvesting from your garden in November.
If I asked you for a list of your favorite vegetables to eat, beets probably wouldn’t make an appearance in the top five. It’s not the most popular vegetable in the garden patch. And with good reason – most people grew up eating slimy and bitter grocery store canned beets. Blech!
(If you were one of the lucky ones, like many of my neighbors in Wisconsin, maybe you were treated to your grandma’s canned pickled beets instead. Those were probably a little more tasty.)
I have to admit, a beet never graced my lips until I became a gardener 15 years ago. I probably didn’t even know what a beet was until I was in my 20’s. I think my mom was scarred by the aforementioned canned beetsgrowing up, so we never saw one on our dinner table.
But, we gardeners know a secret that many other people don’t – every vegetable that comes out of our gardens is more delicious than what we can buy at the grocery store. Growing and eating your own beets is just like growing and eating your own tomatoes, they’re a completely different vegetable when they come out of your own backyard.
When you think of eating beets, what do you imagine? If you thought of dark nights, warm ovens, and cozy winter dishes you’re not alone! My favorite seasons for beet eating are fall and winter. In fact, I grow a large crop of fall beets and eat them all winter long. Last year, we ate beets from our garden through to the following May.
How did I do this?
Ok, my fellow gardeners, brace yourselves, I have an announcement…
Winter is coming!
I know it’s hard to wrap your head around that fact right now. It’s 90 degrees outside and if you went out your front door you could cut the air with a knife. My sister sent me a text the other weekend that she was watching a movie with a big snowstorm scene and she was actually feeling envious.
We’re in the thick of it right now…summer.
But, this week I was doing some garden planning and I counted out how many weeks we are from our first frost in Madison – 10. And I’ve noticed that I’ve been coming in from the garden each evening a touch earlier. The days of working outside until 9pm are over. (The weather woman on the radio said we’re losing 2.5 minutes of light a day.)
We’re definitely on the downward slope heading towards fall and winter. But, the good news is that your garden season doesn’t have to end with the first frost. If you take the time to plant some fall vegetables you could be harvesting from your garden until Thanksgiving and possibly even until Christmas.