Enjoying a Fall Garden in the South
That wonderful time of the year has returned to the south. You know, when you can finally take a step outside and not make that audible, "ugh", sigh of discomfort due to the unbearable heat and humidity. Our vegetables are sharing our appreciation for slightly (it's still going to be almost 90 degrees this week, yikes) milder highs and lows that finally dip into the 60s/50s. If you are fortunate enough to still have tomatoes, you may notice an increase in blossoms and fruit production and sweeter flavor due to the cooler nights. My late planting of tomatoes is finally starting to produce considerable yields and just in time to start canning, freezing, and salsa-ing for winter!
Beyond the psychological relief of cooler and generally less miserable days in the garden, fall offers a beautiful abundance of color and flavor. The ability to simultaneously harvest cool-season crops like salad greens and root vegetables, and the stoic summer veterans still left standing after the relentless abuse of sun, bugs, weeds and humidity allows for an increase in culinary options.
Homemade biscuit BLT with fried green tomatoes, braised turnip greens, and Dukes Mayonnaise, why not?
Radish-top pesto on roasted eggplant? Yes please.
Or maybe fish tacos with yellow fin tuna, a tomato and tomatillo salsa, and a shiso-radish slaw made with a sesame duck egg mayo?
Aaaand we're back. If you're like me the best part about having a garden is what ends up coming out of the kitchen. Preserving the fruits of your labor, enjoying the freshness and creativity associated with cooking seasonally is what its all about, and fall is a magical time for that.
The beauty of fall in the south, (or as a yankee transplant like myself calls it, "less hot summer"), is that there is still so much time left to plant fall and winter crops. If you haven't already, start seeding beets, carrots, radishes, kales/salad greens. Wait a few weeks and seed another round of your favorite cool season veggies to enjoy in the winter. With a few cold-hardy varieties and/or some season extension methods you can grow food year round.
I say bring on the sweatshirts and carrots!