I'm taking an organic farming course at Cane Creek Farm in Cumming. Yesterday, I spent seven hours there and among the things we did was to sow lettuce seed.
At my plot at the community garden I set out seed for arugula, my favorite, just last week and it's coming along nicely. I also set out transplants of different varieties of cabbage.
The thing to realize about gardening in fall and on into winter here in Georgia Zone 7b is what you are up against - frost and the occasional freeze - and to prepare accordingly. We may not have extended severe winter weather in this part of Georgia but regular frosts and the occasional severe freeze are part and parcel to our region.
The frost date for our area is expected to be somewhere within the first two weeks of November. If I leave my pretty arugula unprotected at first frost it certainly may turn into green slime. If I want to keep it growing, and if I want to help the cabbages along, the solution is fairly simple. I just cover them with a cold frame or hoop tunnel or some such protection. This is why I love small gardens - they're easy to modify. It's not like I have an acre of arugula and cabbage. I have a 40 square foot raised bed. It's such a small universe in this 40 square foot bed that I can easily manipulate the climate with a little help from Mr. Plastic and Mrs. Hold the Plastic in Place. For an excellent article and instructions on extending the growing season with the use of plastic, please read this article.
Several of the fall vegetables can survive our zone 7b frosts: things like collards and also the cabbages and broccoli and so forth. But they will benefit and grow better if they are in a protected situation. You just have to remember to give them air flow and water. And if we get into unusually warm weather - which inevitably happens down here in fall and winter - you may want to temporarily remove the covering completely.
The fall vegetables from the brassica family, things like cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, are great sources of carotinoids, vitamin C, and have anti-cancer and anti-viral properties. It's easy to grow these things in our fall and winter climate and they are so good for you.
Here is a fantastic way to prepare kale:
- 4 cups firmly-packed kale
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. good-quality Kosher salt (or sea salt)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash, dry and then de-stem the kale. In a large bowl toss the kale with extra virgin olive oil. Spread the kale out over a large, flat pan or baking sheet. Roast for five minutes. Remove from oven and flip the kale over. Roast another 6 to 9 minutes, watching carefully, until the kale is brown and paper thin. Remove from oven, sprinkle with the salt and serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings.