Glorious fall gardening after a grueling summer

Fall is in the air with hummingbirds and butterflies everywhere! This is my favorite season to garden, especially after a grueling summer. There are so many different plants that do better when planted in the fall. My favorites are those I can eat and are beautiful in the landscape too.

First, there is Swiss chard, kale, and cabbages. All have varieties that are tasty and lovely in the garden. Interplanting these vegetables in beds of roses or flowers can be very attractive, tasty and healthy.

A favorite variety of Swiss chard is Bright Lights. It has multicolored stems, holds up well in fall and winter, and possibly will overwinter for a nice rebound in spring. It has a mild taste and can be eaten raw in salads or cooked with other greens.

Kale is the latest health food rage and for good reason. It is a low calorie and low carbohydrate food with some protein, and lots of vitamin A, C and calcium. It’s a favorite for adding to smoothies, but it also makes a tasty chip and can be cooked. Many of the frilly leaves are quite ornamental and come in various colors. Favorites varieties are Starbor (green), Red Russian (red) and Dwarf Blue Curled (green with blue tinged leaves). A popular heirloom variety is Black Magic (sometimes referred to as Dinosaur kale). It is very tasty and has black leaves. Kales taste better when we have cold winters and frequently can be overwintered into spring and summer with some shade.

An attractive cabbage for the garden is the Chinese Cabbage, sometimes referred to as a napa cabbage get quite tall — 8” or more — and are a very light green that offsets many of the other darker varieties of cabbage. This is best grown from plant and must be checked regularly for the cabbage worm. It is so tender that the worm finds it irresistible. Best used in stir fry but can be eaten raw mixed with other cabbages.

Some cabbages are grown as ornamentals, but all can be eaten. The ornamentals just don’t taste as good. You’ll also find beautiful red cabbages and purple and purple ones. This variation in colors for these beautiful fall vegetables makes an attractive addition to any flower bed.

You’ll find these varieties and many more at the Master Gardener Herb and Vegetable Sale on October 15 from 9am-12pm. Also drop by for Open Garden Day October 15, 2022, to see the variety of plants growing in the gardens and talk to our Master Gardeners for growing tips. Enjoy these cooler days of autumn and the wonderful vegetables that make gardening and dining enjoyable!

For answers to your gardening questions, please visit the Montgomery County Master Gardeners at
or call

936-539-7824. Master Gardener members are available to help you on business days from 8:00-noon and from 1:00-5:00 at the Montgomery County A&M AgriLife Extension Offices located at 9020 Airport Road, Conroe, Texas 77301.

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