Sunday, October 22, 2017

A late fall tradition-fried green tomatoes!



Sunday, October 22, 2017

Mr. Frost is a knockin’!

Tomatoes will survive a light frost, but not a freeze.  If you still have green tomatoes on the vine, make sure you pull them before the first killing frost.  You shouldn’t harvest tomatoes from a dead vine.

There are a few techniques you can use to prolong your tomato harvest.  
*You can cover your plants with a sheet when calling for frost and removing when it warms in the morning.  
*You can keep them going even longer if you put a portable greenhouse over them.  Be careful to vent your portable greenhouse very well when it is in the 50’s or warmer and sunny.  It will be a scorcher inside and you’ll have roasted tomatoes.
*You can bring any potted tomatoes indoors and they will continue to produce in a sunny spot.

There are several things you can do with your green tomatoes.  
*You can make green tomato relish.  I just love all the fun flavor combo’s I see folks coming up with, from spicy habanero to sweet sorghum.  Your imagination is the only limit!
*You can wrap them individually in newspaper and store them some place dark to ripen.
*Or, you can go all out and have fried green tomatoes!

I remember my Granny making them each year.  I don’t have her recipe, but you can use a spicy fish breading, like Andy’s Cajun.  You simply slice your tomato, dip in the breading, fry in oil, and enjoy!




Even if you have a small space, you can grow tomatoes in a small garden spot or in a pot.  There are lots of varieties out there developed to stay compact.  Compact tomatoes for small spaces and pots

Saturday, October 21, 2017

What is biodynamic farming?

Biodynamic winery in winter

Saturday, October 21, 2017

I have heard the term biodynamic and wondered what was involved.  Some consider it voodoo science and quackery, a scam.  Others feel it is holistic natural way of gardening. leveraging mystical forces.  The description I like is it is organic permaculture with a spiritual twist.  

Biodynamic farming is actually the precursor to organic and sustainable farming.  It is from Dr. Steiner’s teaching of how to work with the earth and heavens to farm in harmony with nature that the term “organic farming” was coined by those describing Dr. Steiner’s farming approach.
What do the terms GMO, natural, heirloom, organic, hybrid really mean?

After WWI, the chemical companies had stock piles of bomb making and nerve gas materials.  They repurposed these into fertilizer and insecticides for agriculture, which are toxic to soil microbial life.  German farmers saw that the health of their crops and animals began to decline.  They asked Dr. Steiner to come see and provide guidance.  Dr. Steiner's philosophy I think is summed up nicely by this quote "You need to stop thinking of your farms as factories and envision them as living organisms-self-contained, self-sustaining, following the cycles of nature, and able to create their own health and vitality out of the living dynamics of the farm."

Biodynamic gardening was developed in Germany in the early 1920’s by philosopher Dr. Rudolf Steiner.  Dr. Steiner believed that the soil, plants, animals and everything in the solar system is interconnected.  The backbone of the method is the making of preparations used in minute amounts to enhance production.  Biodynamic gardening results in much enhanced soil and veggie nutrition and increased top soil depth Biodynamic soil study

Many gardeners feel that the approach is too complicated to implement in their gardens.  However, you can purchase the preparations to add to your compost.  I purchased mine from Malibu Compost.  You can compost in small spaces or even indoors.  Composting is possible in small spaces or even indoors.  

There is a deep devotion to the soil’s health, animal welfare, and the cycles of the moon and stars.  Gardening by the phase of the Moon  It is important that 10% of farmland is set aside as a biodiversity preserve.  As with organic, farms have to be certified to claim their products are “biodynamic” by following the Demeter Processing Standard.  http://www.demeter-usa.org

Free range chickens used for pest patrol (control)
As with organic gardening, biodynamic uses only all natural amendments, pest and weed control.  As with permaculture, biodynamic gardening is self-contained with no outside inputs brought into the farm.  Permaculture-companion planting on steroids   Cover crops are used routinely.  The farm is considered a wholly connected organism.  There is also significant emphasis on water conservation and companion planting.  Planting and harvesting is done by the phases of the moon and astral conditions like those our grandparents followed using the Farmers Almanac.

There are 9 “preparations” used in biodynamic (BD):  BD#500 horn manure, BD#501 horn silica, BD#502 yarrow, BD#503 chamomile, BD#504 stinging nettle, BD#505 oak bark, BD#506 dandelion, BD#507 valerian, and BD#508 horsetail.  BD#502-507 are collectively known as the compost preparations.

BD#500 is a cow horn packed with cow manure and buried in the ground for the winter; the preparation smells like chocolate come spring.  BD#501 is silica packed in a cow horn buried in the ground for the summer.  BD#502 is yarrow blossoms sown into a stag bladder that is hung in the summer sun and buried for the winter.  BD#503 is chamomile blossoms stuffed in a bovine intestine and buried over winter.  BD#504 is the entire stinging nettle plant ground up and buried in the ground surrounded by peat moss for a full year.  BD#505 is ground oak bark packed in an empty skull with the membrane intact and buried in swamp like conditions for the winter.  BD#506 is dandelion blossoms stuffed into bovine mesentery or peritoneum membrane and buried for the winter.  BD#507 is the juice of valerian blossoms that is fermented for a few weeks.  BD#508 is a horsetail tea.  

Cover crops are important for soil retention, soil nutrition, and soil enhancement
It is best if the preparations are made on the property that it will be used.  Steiner believed burying the preparations in the ground gave cosmic and earth energy to them.  If you are going to purchase the preparations, purchase them from a farm in the same continent.  

Spray applications of 501 and 507 raises the top level depth from shallow to a depth of 14” over several years according to biodynamic wineries.  Using cover crops and adding compost to the soil is the backbone of organic practices that has been shown to increase top soil depth.  Biodynamic farmers believe the spray applications enhance these practices to another level.

BD#508 spray is used to combat fungal conditions.  I sprayed my garden with BD#508 this summer as I had lots of fungal pressure with all the rain we got last June and the rain is even greater this summer.  I did see a reduction in fungal damage.  It takes a few years of caring for the farm to get it to optimal levels.

To try out the benefit of biodynamic in our garden without personally finding the ingredients and making the preparations, I purchased Bu’s Brews by Malibu Compost biodynamic compost tea bags.  I add the compost tea bags to my water pail and water my pots and garden plants after aerating the biodynamic compost tea as recommended.  I then compost the bags in my compost pile that I add back to the garden.

You can purchase wines and food products that are raised biodynamically.  Whole Foods carries many biodynamic brands or you can search for them on Amazon.  Here is a directory of biodynamic product http://www.biodynamicfood.org

My sister, mom and I at Beckman vineyards
Over the holidays a couple of years ago, my sister and mom wanted to know what “adventure” I was up for during my stay in the Los Angeles area.  I wanted to visit a biodynamic farm to talk to the farmers to get a better understanding of what biodynamic is all about.  We toured a biodynamic winery, Beckmen Winery & Vineyard in Los Olivos, CA, and an organic, regenerative permaculture urban farm, Fairview Gardens in Goleta, CA, http://www.fairviewgardens.org.  

The most well known biodynamic farms are likely wineries in the US.  Frey, Beckmen, Quivira, Bass Vineyards, and Benziger are a few wineries that raise their grapes following biodynamic practices.  Beckman Winery is within driving distance of LA.  Beckmen Winery produces excellent wines.  You can visit the winery, have a picnic, and try their wines in their tasting room.  https://www.beckmenvineyards.com

I am a big fan of organic and working with and supporting nature.  Biodynamic farming embodies this approach.  The additional layer with biodynamic is the preparations used in small quantities in your compost piles to impart the energies of the earth and sky and being self-sufficient within the farm itself.  Dr. Steiner believed all was connected together as a living organism.  Even though scientific proof of how the energies are imparted is a mystery, studies prove the soil and nutrition of plants in a biodynamic farm is higher than conventional.  

We find out more each year of how interconnected everything is.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The next step in garden production and your nutrition-soil minerals

Hummus rich garden soil

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Ever wonder why we need added vitamins and minerals beyond what we get through our food?  Over the decades, the food we eat has gone down in nutritional value as the soil has gone down in fertility.  Truly, we are what we eat.  The nutritional value of what we grow is part the type of vegetable it is and a whole lot of what the plant is “fed” from the soil in which it grows.  

It really all starts with the soil.  Plants grow to the lowest constraint.  Like people, plants need a balanced diet with beneficial microbes, minerals and nutrition.  Veggies can't create minerals, but they can take them up from the soil if they are there.  Healthy veggies can take up more from the soil and create more nutrition in the plant.  A healthy plant will have the most nutrition.

Saying all a vibrant, robust vegetable plant needs is NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium) is like saying all a person needs is carbs, fat, and protein.  Those things are needed to survive, but you need much more to thrive.  Life is much more complex than three compounds!

When we think of the bouquet of the vitamins and minerals we need to be healthy, where do we think this comes from?  We can’t get it from osmosis!  We have to get these from what we consume.

I read a book recently by Steve Solomon and Erica Reinheimer called “The Intelligent Gardener; Growing Nutrient-Dense Food” that does a nice job of giving all the details about how minerals affect the tilth of the soil and the ability of the soil to support healthy, robust plants.  Steve is the guy that founded Territorial Seed Company.  

The minerals and nutrients we should be concerned about are calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), potassium (K), sodium (Na), phosphorous (P), sulfur (S), iron (Fe), copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), boron (B), Zinc (Zn), cobalt (Co), selenium (Se), silicon (Si) and molybdenum (Mo).  There are also other trace minerals that plants and our body needs.  It is a good idea to include Azomite or kelp to your garden each year to supply the additional trace minerals.

Steve recommends getting a detailed soil analysis at the get-go.  For those just beginning to work with re-mineralization of the soil, he recommends Logan Labs for the testing.  You can get all the information you need on collecting the sample and sending off to the lab at      http://www.loganlabs.com/get-started.html.  Steve recommends the standard sample test.  At the moment the cost is $25.  They can also do a particle size distribution (clay, sand, silt) for an additional cost if you have been curious what your garden's soil type is.

When you get the results, Steve has posted a worksheet that you put your results from Logan Labs and it calculates for you what you need for amendments to get your soil super charged for growth and nutrition.  Here is the link:  http://soilanalyst.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/WorksheetRevision-03.pdf  It uses an acre as the basis.  For those of us doing small space gardening, just divide the number of square feet in your garden by 43560.  This will give you the pounds you need to add to your garden for each mineral on the spreadsheet.

It gives a summary of how to put your soil in balance with a worksheet at the end to enter the results from Logan Labs to calculate exactly what you need to add to your garden to get minerals at optimum levels.  He recommends going slow so as to not get any minerals in excess in your garden.  It is a lot easier to add minerals than take them away!
Victory Garden Poster from WWII
I also liked this spreadsheet from Logan Labs that gives by vegetable type their mineral needs:  http://www.loganlabs.com/doc/General-Guidelines-Vegetable-Crops.pdf  This can be handy if you are focused on one type of crop that you want to maximize your yield.

For most of us backyard/flower bed veggie gardeners that grow a variety, Steve’s spreadsheet is the way to go.  You can also do side dressings of amendments specific to certain veggies to give them a boost.  I do this for my fruiting plants like tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.  

If the whole spreadsheet thing is just more complicated than you want to worry about, Logan Labs provides a service for giving you what you need to add to your garden.  There is also a listing on the SoilAnalyst web page:  http://soilanalyst.org  You can use an on line calculator from Erica that costs $9.50/year unlimited usage.  Here is the link:  http://growabundant.com/membership-account/membership-levels/  All you have to do is input the numbers from Logan Labs and it spits out the amendments you need.

If you are applying minerals to mulch and not tilling in, I would recommend to add the minerals in early winter and then a balanced fertilizer in the spring.  This gives time for the minerals to get down to where your roots will be growing in the spring.  

As you prepare your bed in the fall or spring, you should add fertilizer.  For a balanced organic fertilizer, here is what Steve recommends from his book for 100 square feet of garden space:
2 quarts oilseedmeal (soybean, cottonseed, or canolaseed meal)
1 pint feathermeal 
1 pint fishmeal
1 quart soft/collodial rock phosphate or bonemeal
1 quart kelp meal or 1 pint Azomite
1 quart agricultural gypsum

Once you get your soil in balance, you can keep it that way by recycling back what you take out by composting and using a balanced fertilizer.  Composting is possible in small spaces or even indoors  We do a combination of making our own and getting more that we need from a local horse farm.  Just be sure that if you get your compost from someone else that they are not using a systemic herbicide on their fields.  Herbicides don't know the difference between a veggie and a "weed".  

A quick chart showing the loss of minerals and correlation to disease:  http://www.ecoorganics.com/sick-soil/  Feed your soil, feed yourself.

If all this is a little too much for you, then be sure to add a nice thick layer of compost, use organic fertilizer per instructions on application rate, add Azomite for minerals per the instructions, and cover with mulch this fall.  By next spring, your garden will thank you.

Fall is a great time to put in any new garden beds you have been thinking of so the bed is teaming with worms and ready for planting this spring.  It is really easy to do.  You simply put down cardboard to smother the grass and then use the layers of compost, fertilizer, minerals and mulch.  Easy ways to make a new vegetable garden bed

Interplant your veggies in your new flower beds and get the added benefit of built in pollinators that come to see your flowers and weed suppression with mulch  Weed free, self fertilizing, till free garden beds

Saturday, October 14, 2017

21 no tech storage crops

Storage beans

Saturday, October 14, 2017

There are no tech ways of keeping your veggies like our great grandparents did.  Here is a listing of crops that store for 2 months or longer without refrigeration.  For more on varieties grown for storage, The First Victory Gardens and Colonial Vegetable Garden  

Cool Storage Crops
The following crops can be kept over the winter without any refrigeration needed.
Beans-dry thoroughly and store in Mason jars.  Let bean pods dry until crisp.  Remove from pods and leave in open container to dry for another 2 weeks.  Don't limit yourself to the mainstream varieties of storage beans.  There are so many interesting, ancient varieties to try.  Growing beans  Once dried, they are easy to rehydrate and use.  Even if you don't grow your own, buy heirlooms in bulk to use in winter chilis and soups.  Use dry beans instead of canned
Corn-Pick after husks dry.  Remove husks and store in dry location until kernels come off when ear is wrung.  Store whole in bins or remove kernels and store in Mason jars.  There are so many beautiful, healthy heirlooms out there to grow and use.  
Garlic-After pulling, allow to dry in cool, warm location out of the sun.  Braid and hang after 2 weeks in cool place with moderate humidity like a basement.  Or cut back dry stalk after another two weeks and store in open container.  For those that dry out, I will grind into garlic powder.  I personally like to pickle my garlic in organic apple cider vinegar and homegrown hot peppers.  Garlic harvest is here!
Onions and Shallots-Be sure you have grown storage type onions.  There is a huge difference in how long an onion will last between varieties.  In general, any sweet onion type does not store well.  After pulling, cure in warm, dry location out of the sun for a week or two.  Braid and hang in cool place with moderate humidity.  Or cut back tops, allow to dry another couple of weeks and store in a ventilated storage container.  Everything to know about growing onions
Shallots drying in the shade
Hot peppers-Chose thin skinned varieties like Rocca Rossa that are easy to dry.  I simply place ripe peppers on the counter until they are completely dry and then store in Mason jars or plastic bags.  Other hot peppers that are thick skinned, I cut and put into organic apple cider vinegar to make hot sauce.  Dried peppers can also be used to make spicy olive oil.  Preserving peppers
Potatoes-Look for storage types to grow.  There are many varieties out there and some overwinter much better than others.  Harvest when tops begin dying back.  Cure in cool, dark place with high humidity for 2-3 weeks.  Store in boxes or cloth covered baskets in cool, dark place with moderate humidity like a basement.  Potatoes have to be kept out of sunlight.  If they turn green, do not eat! For more growing and harvesting tips see  Time to plant potatoes, even if you only have a patio
Pumpkin and Winter Squash-Harvest after vine has died before hard frost.  Cut leaving 2" of vine for each squash.  Cure in warm, sunny location for a couple of weeks.  Store in open boxes or on a shelf in cool place with moderate humidity.  My butternut squash would keep on the counter into June.  Look for long storage types.  Harvesting and keeping winter squash  You can also buy pumpkins at the store at great prices this time of year and keep them to use throughout the winter.
Sweet potatoes-Dig at least a month before your first frost.  Cure in warm, humid location for a couple of weeks.  Make sure all skin wounds have scabbed over before moving to winter storage area in a cool, humid area like a basement.  
Tomatoes-Before a hard frost, pick all your tomatoes, including the green ones.  Wrap each tomato in news paper and place in a dark area.  The tomatoes will ripen over time.  They won't be as wonderful as a vine ripened tomato, but much better than a store bought one.  I have had some tomatoes that last into February this way.  Preserving the tomato harvest

Winter squash and pumpkins

Cold Storage Crops
The following crops needs colder conditions for winter storage.  Can be an unheated garage, buried garbage can or root cellar.  Ideal storage temperatures are 32-40F.
Apples-Store individually wrapped fruits in perforated plastic or waxed boxes to maintain high humidity.  The colder the conditions, the slower the apples will ripen.  Check weekly.  Fruit for small spaces
Beets, Cabbage, Carrots, Celeraic, Parsnips, Rutabaga and Turnips-Harvest before a hard freeze.  Trim tops to half inch and cut long roots back.  Pack in damp sand in sealed container to keep moist conditions and store in cold basement, unheated garage, root cellar, or buried garbage can.  The other option is to freeze.  All about beautiful beets All you need to know about growing carrots All about turnips
Cabbage can also be made into sauerkraut in a crock with simply salt and water.  How to preserve cabbage
Leeks-transplant into a shallow pot after trimming tops back by half and trimming roots.  For growing, leeks are part of the onion family so follow the same growing tips.
Pears-pick when still somewhat green and hard.  Cure in a cool area (40-50F) for about a week.  Wrap only blemish free fruits in paper in perforated plastic bags or waxed boxes in high humidity.

Any blemished veggies can either be chopped and frozen or dried and stored in canning jars or plastic storage bags.Check your stored veggies regularly.  Be sure to remove any that are starting to develop blemishes.  

For other preservation methods like canning, freezing and drying, see these blogs  Easy, low tox canning of summer's bounty Freezing the extras for winter Dehydrate or sun dry your extra veggies

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Plant a last minute edible fall/winter garden

Overwintering onions in pot

Sunday, October 8, 2017

It’s not too late to plant one last garden. Plant now, and enjoy harvesting these 17 veggies through the autumn, into early winter and some even all the way through winter.

If your want to ramp up the flavor and nutrient value of your fall meals, consider planting the season’s last garden using quick-growing crops such as greens, cabbage and radishes. It’s not too late to get plants in the ground for fall and winter harvests and definitely if you live where winters are mild. In fact, many plants get sweeter in chilly weather, and some hardy plants can be pulled right out of the snow for fresh eating like carrots and onions.

If the thought of fresh-picked salads and hearty, nutritious sautéed greens on your fall table appeals to you, use the information here to sow your fall garden and enjoy homegrown flavor, nutritious produce this fall and winter.

A few of the plants listed here can still grow from seed, but for most you will want to use transplants to make the most of the remaining growing season depending on how quickly it gets to freezing in your area.  If you haven’t already started seeds for transplanting, seek out transplants from garden centers.  The ornamental kale and cabbage for sale are not only pretty, but also edible!  Check well-stocked local stores for sturdy, healthy-looking plants. 

Make sure to add a scoop of finished compost to planting holes and organic fertilizer to add nutrients to soil that may be depleted after the summer harvest.  Espoma is readily available at most big box and hardware stores.  For greens type veggies, the general vegetable garden fertilizer is a good choice.

Choose the Right Varieties
In addition to choosing the right plants for cold-weather harvests, you can also increase fall and winter harvests by planting specific varieties. Look for varieties marketed as: fast-maturing; short and compact; textured (such as curly kale and Savoy spinach), winter-hardy, frost tolerant, overwintering, for every season, year-round, remarkably cold hardy, etc. 

Because daylight hours are getting shorter in the fall, you will need to add about 2 weeks to the “Days to Harvest” your seed packet gives as the seed packet dates are based on spring planting.  Plants grow slower in fall because the days are getting shorter instead of longer. 

The list below starts with the produce that will be ready for harvesting the quickest.  You will want to get the slowest growers (at the bottom of this list) in the ground as soon as possible; you may be able to continue sowing seeds of some of the fastest crops into October or beyond.  Those that are planted as transplants can be ready 2-3 weeks sooner than the dates listed below.

If sowing seeds, be sure to keep the soil moist.  Seeds sown in the fall have the same needs as seeds sown in the spring.  Outdoor seed starting tips

16 Varieties for Winter Gardening
Ready for harvest in: 3 to 9 weeks
Can survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: For small and fast maturing radishes, broadcast seed directly in beds, or use chicken wire as a guide to space seeds 1 inch apart. Harvest after a few weeks in the ground and before the bulb becomes too hot and fibrous. You can sow seeds once a week for continuous harvests.
2-Turnips  All about turnips
Ready for harvest in: 5 to 10 weeks
Can survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: Harvest when roots are mature, but before they become bitter. A “neck” will begin to form when the root has reached maximum size, and quality will decline as the neck elongates.
3-Spinach and other hardy greens   Grow spinach-a super nutritious, easy green
Ready for harvest in: 6 to 7 weeks
Can survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: Transplant seedlings about 6 weeks before first frost. Harvest the leaves around the outside of the plant; always leaving 5 leaves on each plant.  This will let you harvest for weeks from the same plants.  Other hardy greens include miner's lettuce, corn salad, sorrel, arugula, salad burnet.
4-Winter hardy greens  Fall and winter greens
Ready for harvest in: 6 to 7 weeks
Can survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: Sow seeds directly into the garden or pot.  Harvest the leaves around the outside of the plant; always leaving 5 leaves on each plant.  This will let you harvest for weeks from the same plants.  Winter hardy greens include miner's lettuce, corn salad, sorrel, arugula, salad burnet, cultivated dandelions.
Ready for harvest in: 6 to 12 weeks for leaf lettuce; 11 to 13 weeks for head lettuce
Can survive frost: Yes (depending on variety-try Winter density, Rouge d’Hiver, No Name Red Leaf, Arctic King, Continuity, Salad Bowl, Mottistone to name a few)
Fall planting notes: Keep transplants indoors until soil cools. Lettuce seeds won't germinate in hot soil temperatures, above 75-80F.  You can also broadcast seeds in cool soil every two weeks for a continuous harvest. I like starting my seeds in a pot in a cool area and then transplant into the garden.  Harvest in early morning for best taste and structure.  
Ready for harvest in: 6 to 8 weeks
Can survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: I like getting the transplant pots with several colors; then separate and plant into the garden. Harvest sequentially as leaves mature, 1 to 2 outer stalks per plant; be sure to leave at least 5 significant inner stalks per plant for continuous harvesting.
Ready for harvest in: 7 to 8 weeks
Can survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: Plant seedlings deep, leaving 1 to 3 leaves above soil. Harvest as soon as leaves begin to become dull/less green and bulbs stop increasing in size.
Ready for harvest in: 7 to 16 weeks, depending on variety
Can survive frost: Yes (the denser varieties are the most hardy)
Fall planting notes: Plant seedlings deep, leaving 1 to 3 leaves above soil. Harvest at peak size and succulence, before leaves begin to yellow and split, and before plants go to seed.
Ready for harvest in: 6 to 9 weeks
Can survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: Plant seedlings deep, leaving 1 to 3 leaves above soil. Harvest sequentially as leaves mature.
Ready for harvest in: 8 to 9 weeks
Can survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: Plant seedlings deep, leaving 1 to 3 leaves above soil. Heads grow fast. Harvest before flowering begins. May produce secondary heads. Harvest edible leaves, too — they are even more nutritious than the buds.  I love the leaves in salads.
Ready for harvest in: 8 to 11 weeks
Survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: Carrots don't appreciate being transplanted.  Sow directly in the garden or pot.  You can use the thinnings as tasty baby carrots and salad additions. If you do start in a pot to transplant, handle the transplant carefully and make sure its main root is pointing straight down when transplanted.  Harvest mature roots at maximum diameter while they are still sweet. 
Ready for harvest in: 8 to 12 weeks
Survive frost: Light
Fall planting notes: Plant seedlings deep, leaving 1 to 3 leaves above soil. Cauliflower heads often develops in just a few days. Harvest at full size, before it begins to yellow.  Making sure the head is covered by the leaves keeps the head a nice white.
13-Brussels Sprouts  
Ready for harvest in: 11 to 13 weeks
Survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: Grows best in very fertile soil. Plant seedlings deep, leaving 1 to 3 leaves above soil. When a node begins to grow a bulge out of the stalk to form a sprout, remove the leaf just below it to optimize growth. Harvest when sprouts are at maximum plumpness, before outer leaves become fibrous and sprouts becomes bitter.  Sprouts can be harvested well into winter.  
14-Parsley  
Ready for harvest in: 10 to 13 weeks
Survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: Transplant when seedlings are about 3 inches tall or sow directly in the garden. Choose best seedlings (healthy and vibrant green) to transplant. Harvest outer stalks carefully, leaving 3 to 5 large stalks per plant for continuous harvests.
Ready for harvest in: 12 weeks
Survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: Plant seedlings deep, leaving 1 to 3 leaves above soil. Harvest outer leaves to leave inner leaves to continue growing.  In mild climates, collards can be harvested all winter long.  Baby leaves are good in salads, larger leaves are great steamed or cooked.
16-Onions and Shallots  Everything to know about growing onions
Ready for harvest in: Next spring for mature onions, 6 weeks for green onions
Survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: Onions, leeks and shallots like loose, rich soil.  Be sure to plant varieties for the length of daylight your zone has in the summer.  It is the number of daylight hours that stimulates the onion to form bulbs.  In our lower Midwest garden, we need intermediate onion types.  Don't be tempted to grow Vidalias in Minnesota; they just won't make bulbs.
17-Overwintering Fava Beans and Peas  Grow a European favorite-the fava or broad bean
Ready for harvest in: 4 weeks-Next spring
Survive frost: Yes
Fall planting notes: Inoculate the seeds to get the nitrogen nodules that support more vigorous growth and nitrogen in the soil.  There are snow peas that are ready to harvest in just 30 days.

How Low Can You Go?
Depending on where you live, you may be able to get a decent vegetable harvest even into early winter. Several plants will grow well into the snowy months, and a good frost sweetens them by forcing the plants to make more frost-protecting sugars.

Can Survive Hard Freeze
(nighttime temperatures between 25 and 28 degrees): 
• Broccoli
• Brussels sprouts
• Cabbage, regular
• Carrots
• Chard
• Collards
• Fava beans
• Kale
• Kohlrabi
• Lettuce (depending on variety-look for winter hardy)
Onions, leeks, and shallots
• Overwintering peas
• Parsley
• Radishes
• Spinach
• Turnips
• Winter hardy and perennial greens  Perennial veggies in the Midwest garden

Harvest Longer
In fall, promote faster growth by packing plants a bit more tightly than you might normally do. You can extend your growing season by adding thick layers of mulch around plants, or by using season-extending techniques such as row covers. When nights get chilly, protect plants by covering them with a cloth or blanket.  Extend the season with protection for plants

You can use the greens you get not only for salads but also for juices and smoothies.   Grow your own smoothie and juice garden