Lately, nights are cooler and our October garden plants love the drop in temperatures. Collards (Brassica olerocea) is just one plant in this family that thrives in cooler temperatures. Other cousins include broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, turnip greens, spinach and mustard greens.
No doubt, collards and turnip greens are a favorite of southerners, year round. But a true tradition to cook on New Year's Day, with ham hocks, black-eyed peas and cornbread seeped in "pot liqueur" or not.
As a kid, I was told eating greens meant dollars in my pocket and peas were change in my pocket the next year. You can imagine, I tried to eat my weight in both! Regardless, I enjoyed the meal.
Our cabbage plants are beginning to head, however, will need at least 6 to 8 more weeks to grown big firm heads prior to harvest.
I love cabbage steamed, in cole slaw, as an addition to stir fry and even in vegetable soup. Also, it's a great diet food, fills you up and burns off more calories digesting than in a serving (0 fat, 0 cholesterol, plus good fiber content).
We planted organic sugar pod snow peas to our cooler weather garden. Usually, we plant these in early spring but decided to try them to harvest late November or early December this year.
These sugar pod snow peas will grow into bushes 24-34" and produce 3-4" pods, unlike most snow peas we have planted early spring in the past needing a trellis or fence.
And, yes the name snow pea does mean, it will continue to grow even if it snows and can survive freezing temps, if not prolonged.
Broccoli, seen above is also a member of the (Brassica olerocea) family. It's hard to tell the difference between the broccoli and collard plants, unless you look close and see the leaves of the broccoli is more scalloped or frilly.
This plant was first introduced to America by Italian immigrants and is no surprise that Italy takes credit for it's origin.
Brussel sprouts is another member of this family, I call "mini cabbages." They certainly look and taste similar. However, Belgium takes credit for the origin, even though this plant was first documented growing in ancient Rome.
The family of cool weather plants we're growing in our garden this year need between 40 - 67 degree temperatures (some can grow in 75 degrees temps and below 40 degrees) to thrive and produce.
There is no doubt all are beneficial to our health, full of vitamins, minerals and vital nutrients. There is no doubt with a little work in the yard or garden they are easy to grow in cooler temperatures (especially in our climate), whether you use a conventional garden, raised beds or containers. So....
Happy Gardening 2013!
Posted by Wilma Smith