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Cool weather crops make for delicious healthy eating
by Liz Marino
October 03, 2012 12:12 PM | 2131 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Douglas Master Gardeners Treasurer and Master Gardener Marjorie Stansel shows a pumpkin the group has grown.
Douglas Master Gardeners Treasurer and Master Gardener Marjorie Stansel shows a pumpkin the group has grown.
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Junior Master Gardener Rose Livingston helps maintain the flowers at the Douglas County Library.
Junior Master Gardener Rose Livingston helps maintain the flowers at the Douglas County Library.
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Master Gardener Kathy Speer looks over vine ripened tomatoes.
Master Gardener Kathy Speer looks over vine ripened tomatoes.
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Hints of fall are in the air as October’s daytime heat turns to an evening’s chill. Savvy gardeners won’t be packing up their tools just yet now that the remains of summer crops have been harvested.

Now is the time to plant turnip greens, collards and cabbage, according to Douglas County Master Gardener Marjorie Stansel, who co-manages a 6,000-square-foot showcase garden with fellow Master Gardener Paul Begg.

The garden, located behind the Douglas County Health Department and Douglas County Library on Selman Drive, is not just for show. It produced 2,800 pounds of garden delights this summer, which is distributed to local charities Mothers Making a Change, SHARE House, Good Samaritan Center and The Pantry, Stansel said.

Other fall crops she recommended are radishes, carrots, onion seeds, spinach and Swiss chard.

Douglasville resident Kathy Speer is a recent graduate of the Master Gardener program.

She has become quite popular with her neighbors and mail carrier with the bounty of fresh organic vegetables she grows — and shares — from her subdivision front yard.

Yes, front yard.

With four raised beds totaling 300 square feet, Speer’s goal is to make her entire front yard edible.

Her fall crop consists of spinach, Swiss chard, broccoli, turnips, kale and collard greens.

“I will plant garlic and onion in October,” she said, “when the [summer] beans get done.”

Douglasville author, speaker and blogger Lynn Coulter, who penned the book, “Gardening with Heirloom Seeds: Tried and True Flowers Fruits and Vegetables for a New Generation,” takes readers along the four seasons of gardening.

“There’s still time to plant many cool season crops, like spinach, kale, mustard, beets, turnips, collards, chard, lettuce, onion, broccoli, cabbage, carrots and radishes,” she said. “Be sure to keep your plants well-watered if the weather continues to be dry and hot, and mulch around the roots to help prevent weeds and retain moisture.”

She noted that one of her personal favorite collard greens is aptly named “Georgia,” an heirloom variety that has been around since the 1880s.

“It’s mild, and like many cool-weather greens, the leaves taste sweeter after a light frost hits.”

She recommended fall as a good time to clean up your garden, by raking up and removing plant debris that might harbor pests or diseases over the winter — but don’t compost it, she warns.

“That could spread potential problems,” Coulter said.

“A little clean-up this fall goes a long way toward making your spring planting go easier and faster.”
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