Saturday, September 28, 2019

Fall edible bedding plants-time to plant!

Late fall edible garden
Sunday, September 29, 2019

Now is the time to put out your transplants for your winter garden.  Winter producing varieties are the really hardy cold crops that thrive in the cool temperatures of spring, fall and winter. To get the longest harvest possible, look for varieties that say “cold hardy”, “early winter”, “overwintering”, “winter-hardy”, “cold tolerant”, “bred for winter production.”  

With cover, the following will allow you to harvest all winter: arugula, beets, chicory, corn salad, lettuce, mustard greens, parsley root, radicchio, radishes, spinach, and swiss chard.  Edible garden bed winter prep

The following don’t require covering: brussels sprouts, winter harvest cabbage, carrots, collards, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, bunching onions or Egyptian onions, parsnips, rutabagas, turnips, salad burnet.

Any perennial greens can also be planted now.  Your perennial greens and overwintering varieties are the first up in the spring.

If you didn’t start seeds, big box stores, local nurseries and even mail order nurseries have begun to have fall planting veggies so you can still get transplants to plant in time for fall, winter, and spring harvests.  Our local Ace Hardware store has cabbage, broccoli, kale, lettuce, chives, collards, spinach, and mustard greens.

*Asparagus (planted now for spring)
*Sprouting broccoli and broccoli (will come back in the spring, too)
*Cabbage (at this point, look for ones with the shortest days to maturity)
*Carrots (can be pulled all winter)
*Chard (will survive winters if placed in a sheltered area and mulched or in the greenhouse)
*Collard Greens (a southern favorite)
*Corn salad (also called Mache)
*Egyptian walking onions (harvest all winter in a pot or ground)
*Garlic, shallots, leeks (can be planted into November)
*Kale (will survive all winter into spring in a greenhouse)
*Lettuce (can germinate at temps as low as 40 degrees F)
*Mustard greens (love Giant Red and Ruby Streaks)
*Bunching onions (depending on type, ready to harvest Oct-Dec)
*Overwintering onions (all onions can be left in the ground in Zone 6/7)
*Overwintering peas
*Radishes (can be pulled all through winter)
*Rutabaga
*Salad burnet (a perennial has a fresh cucumber/cilantro taste)
*Sorrel (a perennial that has a tart taste kind of like Granny Smith apples)
*Spinach (will survive the winter to mature in early spring in the greenhouse)

Your transplants will grow quickest in the earliest part of fall, slowing down as daylight hours decrease.  From November to mid-January, there will be minimal growth.

Fall and winter harvested veggies are at their crispest and sweetest after a light frost.  The cold temps concentrate the sugars, making them extra yummy!

October 2019 Edible Garden Planner

Bee on zinnia with purple and white basil flowers
Saturday, September 28, 2019

The October garden is very productive.  The summer vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, basil and cucumbers continue to produce at a reduced pace.  These crops are very prolific right now.  The cool season crops like lettuce, carrots, radishes, peas, cabbage, beets, broccoli and cauliflower are coming into maturity throughout October and into November.  Flowers, bees and butterflies are abundant in the fall garden.

Now is the time to save seeds from your favorite fruits and veggie plants from the season if you haven't done so already.  The plants still producing well this time of year are great ones to make sure you have some seeds to plant again next year.  The varieties that do well in your garden conditions are ones you want to invite back!  Seed saving-fun, easy and a cost saver

Basil will turn black when it gets close to 35 degrees.  I pull all the leaves when it is forecasted to get close to freezing or any chance of frost.  You can chop basil, put in an ice cube tray and cover with water to then use any time your recipe calls for fresh basil.  It stores best when frozen in water.  I also dry some to add to my "Herbes de Provence" seasoning mix.  You can also make into pesto and place in freezer bags with just enough for a meal.  Gives a whole new meaning to “fast food.”  Pesto is great over pasta, fish, or as a condiment on sandwiches.  Basil basics-harvesting, preserving, growing basil...

I have plenty of pesto from last year so this year I am letting the basil flower.  The bees just love it!  Bees favorite flowers are those with the small flowers like basil.  The purple holy basil flowers mixed with the white sweet basil flowers are quite pretty, too.

Other herbs will do just fine through frosts like parsley, rosemary, thyme, chives, savory, and sage.  It takes good snow cover to stop these herbs.  Many winters you can harvest these herbs the entire season for cooking.  Cut back the extra now, dry and make into seasoning mixes which you can give to the whole family at Christmas.   Make your own "Herbes de Provence" 

I will wait until it gets below 32 degrees before I strip off the eggplant, peppers and tomatoes.  You can freeze or dry these veggies.  Tomatoes are a high acid fruit so you can also easily can sauce from them without using a pressure canner; a stockpot is all that is needed.   Preserving the tomato harvest  Be sure to follow any canning recipes exactly so your canned goods don’t spoil.  For more on preserving your extras for year round use, see Preservation garden

Peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants are tropical perennials that can be brought in to overwinter.  If you have a favorite plant you would love to have in your garden next season, bring it in to an attached garage or even your living room.  I have overwintered peppers and eggplants.  You get a serious jump start on the season in the spring.  I am bringing in my tiny hot pepper plant Chipetlin to overwinter.

Make sure you pull the tomatoes from the vine before the vine dies.  Wondering what to do with the green tomatoes?  You have a couple of options.  You can make fried green tomatoes-yum!  Just use some fish fry seasoning; we like Andy’s Cajun Seasoning.  A late fall tradition-fried green tomatoes!  You can also wrap green tomatoes in newspaper and store in a cool, dark location and many will ripen.  Check about weekly to cull any that spoil.  They won’t taste as good as fresh off the vine, but are better than store bought.

October and November is garlic planting month for the Zone 7 garden!  Plant in the waning cycle of the moon.  Garlic loves loose, well-fertilized soil.  Loosen the soil down to about 6 inches, mix in a couple of inches of compost, and plant your garlic cloves about 2-3” deep.  Time to plant garlic! With growing tips......  Garlic leaves are one of the first greens you will see in spring.

Chard in the forefront with morning glories in the background
Now is also a great time to divide any perennials you have, whether they be herbs, edibles or ornamentals.  This will give them all fall and winter to put down strong roots.  Perennial greens (like chard, sorrel, cultivated dandelions, salad burnet) are always the first up in the spring.  This is the perfect time to plant any perennial plant.  The fall and winter allows the plants roots to grow deep, preparing it for a fast start in the spring.  Perennial veggies in the Midwest garden

It is still not too late in early October to transplant fall crops like cold hardy types of lettuce, cabbage, chard, pak choi, broccoli, kale, parsley or perennial herbs.  You can check your neighborhood nurseries for bedding plants.  I use my Aerogarden to start from seed cold hardy crops I want in my fall and winter garden.  Starting them indoors gets them going quicker.  With less sun and cooler temps outdoors, plants grow much more slowly so getting bedding plants or starting indoors gets your fall veggies to full size quicker.  Add about 2 weeks to the "Days to Harvest" timing for fall planted edibles.

To extend the season, you can order a mini greenhouse to cover your pots or a part of the garden you have planted your cold hardy greens you want to harvest all winter.  You can also purchase row covers that cover plants and provides protection from frosts, but not hard freezes.  Preparing the garden for frost

Portable greenhouse with potted salad greens inside for winter growing

Winter hardy kale, spinach, Austrian peas, carrots and winter onions don’t need to be covered and can be harvested all winter (as long as the ground isn’t too frozen) and into spring.  I grew Austrian peas last winter and they provided greens for salad all winter long.  They have very pretty flowers, too.  Come spring I had lots of early peas too.

I’ll put our portable, plastic mini greenhouse over the greens in my Earthboxes sometime this month or next.  One watchout with green houses-they get very, very hot in sunny weather so be sure to open them to allow circulation in fall and early winter.  They will need to be closed up when winter really sets in December sometime.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Freeze summer extras for fresh year round


Sunday, September 22, 2019

Freezing is a super easy way to preserve summer freshness for all winter.  There are just a couple of tips to keep your frozen veggies fresh tasting for their entire winter stay in the freezer.

For some veggies, like beets, carrots, greens, eggplant, broccoli, and cabbage, you have to stop the enzyme action that will continue even when frozen.  It is an easy thing to do; you just “blanch” them in boiling water, quickly dunk in very cold or ice water, drain, pat dry and then freeze.  If you want to use just a little out of your freezer bag at a time, you can add the step of laying out on a cookie sheet and quick freeze before putting in the freezer bag.

Be sure to label your freezer bag with the veggie and date frozen.  Veggies typically keep their flavor for 6-8 months in the freezer.

Blanching times at a full boil:
Greens-1 minute
Denser veggies like carrot, eggplant slices, cabbage, broccoli-3 minutes

Process:
-Blanch for the recommended time, no longer.  You don’t want to over cook.  When the color gets very bright, they are done.  
-Quickly transfer to very cold or ice water to stop the cooking process, this keeps the veggies tasting like they were just picked from the garden.  I use tongs to transfer them so I minimize the amount of hot water I bring into the cold water.
-As soon as they are cool, remove excess water.  I use a spaghetti strainer.
-Transfer to labeled (with name and date) freezer bag and pop in the freezer.  I lay them flat so they freeze quicker.
-If you want to pull only a couple of leaves or slices from the freezer bag at a time, lay the cooled veggie onto a cookie sheet and put in the freezer to freeze the individual leaf or slice.  After frozen, place into labeled freezer bag.

I don’t blanch tomatoes, peppers, green beans or peas.  I haven’t found that the flavor is affected by just directly freezing them.  For the green beans, I snap and freeze.  For peppers, I cut in half and freeze Preserving peppers.  For more on preserving tomatoes  Preserving the tomato harvest  and basil Basil basics-harvesting, preserving, growing basil




It is wonderful to have fresh garden taste year round and, luckily, it is easy to do with no special equipment needed!

Quick, homemade salsa

Mid summer harvest
Saturday, September 22, 2019

Here is our homemade and very quick salsa recipe using everything from the garden.  It is a little on the spicy side, so you may want to cut back on the hot peppers if you like a milder taste. 
I freeze whole cayenne and jalapenos throughout the growing season to use for homemade salsa.  I just thaw a quart of frozen homegrown tomatoes, 1 cayenne, 1 jalapeno, 1 bell pepper and add 1 fresh onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, a healthy handful of cilantro.  Throw them all into the food processor and viola!  Fresh, spicy salsa.

All the extra tomatoes that come off the vine, I will slice up and freeze so I can use the rest of the year.  Any frozen from the previous year goes into sauce in the fall.  I wait until it is cooler before I can!  Preserving the tomato harvest

I do the same with sweet and hot peppers, freeze the extras that we can't eat fresh.  I freeze the small ones whole and slice up the larger sweet peppers.  They retain their flavor for a couple of years.  Preserving peppers

As the cilantro goes to seed, I use tarragon as a substitute.  It adds a slightly different taste, but is still quite good.

I haven't had the best of luck with large bulbing onions in the garden, but the Egyptian walking onions do great in the garden or in a pot!  For this salsa recipe, I pull one onion and use both the bulb and the stalk.  Egyptian walking onions

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Seed saving-fun, easy and a cost saver


Sunday, September 15, 2019

Seed saving has been going on for thousands of years.  Seed saving is easy.  Always save the seed from the best vegetable you grew! Or the tastiest you buy at the farmers market or store.  

Pick the fruit or plant that has the characteristics you want to grow next year.  The one that was the biggest or had the best taste or produced the most or produced the longest or gave you harvests the earliest or was the most drought or pest resistant.  

Lettuce flower buds
One caveat, you cannot get true to parent plants from hybrids.  If they grow, they will often be totally different than the parent or could get weaker with each generation.  You need “open pollinated” or heirloom vegetables for the seed to produce a baby like the parent.
What do the terms GMO, natural, heirloom, organic, hybrid really mean?

I save seeds from the best eggplants, peppers and tomatoes I have in the garden each year.  I also let lettuce go to seed in the summer and either save their seed or let them self-seed.  You will get many volunteer lettuce plants.

I have finally found/grown two kinds of sweet peppers that produce well.  I'll keep saving the seed and growing them out.  They are now a mainstay for my garden.
Peppers are for every taste and garden

It doesn't cost a thing to save seeds from store bought veggies or fruits you like and you can end up with some great plants for your garden!  To be sure that the seeds you save will come back true to the parent, heirloom is a sure bet.  One of my favorite paste tomatoes is one I started from seed bought from the store.
For garlic, you save the best, biggest cloves.  You divide up the garlic head into individual cloves and plant them in the fall when it cools off.  Typically, sometime in October or November.  Most store bought garlic has been treated to prevent them from sprouting so you may or may not have luck using the ones from the grocery store.  Your farmers market is a great place to get garlic well suited for your area.
In our garden, seeds can be saved from tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, lettuce, broccoli, cilantro, dill, celery, borage, salad burnet, garlic, okra, Egyptian walking onions (bulblets), basil.  I had many zinnia and basil "volunteers" in the garden this year from seeds dropped by the plant last fall.
Try self-seeding veggies and flowers

Lettuce flower seeds
For peppers, squash and tomatoes, just scoop out the seeds, lay them on a paper towel on a plate and let them dry completely.  Some suggest for tomato seed to put them in water and let them ferment a bit.  The ones that sink are the ones you want to keep for planting, not the ones that float.  After drying, I put in plastic baggies and keep in the frig to prolong seed life.
Tomatoes 101, everything you need to know to grow ...
Growing zucchini and summer squash
Warm joys of winter squash

Many greens, like chard, parsley, lettuce, broccoli, will shoot a large stalk up then flower.  This is called "bolting."  The easiest thing to do is to let the seeds form, cut the stalk, then put the stalks with seed heads attached into a paper bag.  Let them dry thoroughly, then shake the seeds out.  Some may require that you roll the seed heads between your fingers to free the seed.  

You can actually re-sow seeds from cool season crops like lettuce, cilantro, parsley, chard, chives and get a second fall/winter harvest!  I re-sow seeding about every other week starting the first of September.  In about two weeks, you will have sprouting greens.  When they have grown a bit more, I will separate and transplant into pots and the garden.  I like starting seeds in long narrow pots what are self-watering to be able to move easily to the best growing conditions.  Can also move under the portable greenhouse when it gets cold.
Ideal soil temperatures for starting your seeds
Outdoor seed starting tips
I put my dried seeds in labelled ziplock bags and store them in the crisper, include the seed type, descriptor and date.  A picture of the plant can be helpful to remember the plant the seed belongs to.  Fun gift to give, too.  The seeds last for years this way!

Grow lettuce through fall and winter

Saturday, September 15, 2019

Plant a variety of lettuce types now via seeds for harvests through fall and winter!  Lettuce enjoys cool temperatures and gets even sweeter as the temps dip.

The challenge to starting lettuce from seed this time of year is that it can be so hot.  The seeds will not germinate well in ground temps above 70 degrees F.  

There are a couple of options for summer time seeding.  You can grow in shade, cover with a shade cloth or start your seedlings indoors move outdoors after they have sprouted.

I like to start in flats in the shade, close to the watering can on the east side of the house.  On a covered patio, porch or deck is an ideal place to start seeds.  The seedlings will be up in 7 days if kept well watered.  I let them grow until they have the first set of true leaves and are about 2” tall.  I then transplant them into their permanent home, keeping them well watered for another couple of weeks.

You can just plant a couple of seeds in re-used 6 packs so you can plant it all in the garden, plant several in a pot and then just transplant into the garden or final pot.  My personal favorite is sowing seeds into my self-watering Earthboxes that I cover later in the season with a portable greenhouse to keep the greens going all winter.  How to extend the garden season

If you want to direct seed in your flower bed, dig a shallow trench about a half inch deep, fill with potting soil, seed, pat down, then cover lightly with more potting soil.  Water well with a gentle stream of water so you don’t wash the seed away.  I use a rain head on my watering can.

Plant a few seeds each day for the next couple of weeks to get a succession of plants for on-going harvests.  This time of year, look for types that are the most cold hardy to last the longest into winter.  Look for varieties marketed as: fast-maturing, short and compact, winter-hardy, frost tolerant, overwintering, for every season, year-round, remarkably cold hardy, etc.  

A few varieties to try are Winter density, Rouge d’Hiver, No Name Red Leaf, Arctic King, Continuity, Salad Bowl, Mottistone.

Don't forget to look around your yard and garden for volunteer lettuce plant seedlings.  I let my lettuce plants go to seed in the summer.  There are many seedlings that will come up in the garden and yard.  I just dig them up and put them where I want them to grow for the fall and winter.  If it is still super hot, move them to a pot in a cool area in the garden or on a deck until it cools down.  Transplant them into the garden when it cools off.


There are some nurseries and even big box stores that carry edible transplants for fall planting.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Peppers love September

Ancho and Jalapeño peppers

Saturday, September 7, 2019

My peppers kick into high gear come September.  They seem to love the lower humidity and cooler nights.  Peppers originated in the mountains of Mexico so September into October are perfect weather conditions for peppers.

Nikita hybrid sweet pepper
Surprisingly, even though peppers originated in the tropics and subtropics of South America, peppers don’t like extremely hot weather.  They get sunburned when the temps get into the 90’s consistently.  Their sunburn looks like dark spots on the exposed fruits.  If you can, move them into the shade when temps are extreme.  They won’t croak, but they are stressed during periods of high heat.
Summer garden tips

Peppers like sulfur, calcium (to protect from blossom end rot), magnesium (helps flowers make fruits), sulfur (makes more nutritious pepper) and phosphorous (for flowering).  You can use the same fertilizer as you do for tomatoes; both encourage healthy fruit growth.

Be careful with the nitrogen.  Nitrogen promotes greenery.  You will end up with beautiful, lush plants with no flowers or fruits.  Also be careful in the type of potting soil you buy if planting in pots to make sure they are not for green leaved plants, but for flowers or vegetables.

Right now, I have Poblano/Ancho peppers, Chipetin (an ancient super hot pepper), and three sweet pepper varieties-Cubanelle, a sweet Jalapeño, and Giant Marconi, growing in pots.  I preserve all that I don't use fresh.  Preserving peppers

The Poblano/Ancho and Anaheim I am drying for chili powder.  The sweet peppers I rough slice the extras and freeze for salsa. I have plenty of frozen hot Jalapeños and Cayennes from last year so didn't plant any this year.  I use them for salsa and some I don’t freeze, but put in apple cider vinegar to ferment for hot sauce for wings for football games.  After about 4 weeks, I put them through the food processor and my hot sauce is ready to use!  Homemade hot sauce wings with homegrown celery
Homemade hot sauce
Yum!  Yum!

If you smoke your Jalapeño peppers, you will get Chipotle seasoning.  I have smoked some Jalapeños, dried them and ground them up to make Chipotle powder for seasoning dishes.  Or you can add natural smoke flavor to the pepper before drying to get that smoky flavor after dehydrated.

The heat of the pepper is in the ribs and seeds.  If you like spicy, be sure to keep these.  When handling spicy peppers, it is a good idea to wear gloves and be careful to not rub your eyes, nose or mouth until you wash your hands thoroughly.

You can also save these seeds and plant in next year's garden.  Just be sure to let them dry before you put them in an air tight container.  I store my seeds in ziplocks in the frig and they last for years.  Seed saving-fun, easy and a cost saver

Pimento peppers
We grow most of our peppers in pots.  I try to grow enough peppers to last us all winter for chili and salsa.  The hot peppers like Jalapeños and Cayenne seem to do best in pots.  The Pimentos were average producers in the ground.  I have grown them in pots in the past and there doesn’t seem to be much difference in production.  The sweet peppers do well in pots.  The Poblano was grown in the garden and the Anaheim in the ground.  Both produced well.  I grow all my peppers in pots unless I run out of pots, then they go in the ground.   Peppers are for every taste and garden

If you had plants that did extremely well, peppers are perennials.  You can simply bring them inside for the winter.  They will continue to produce through January indoors.  When you put them back outside in the spring, you will be the first on the block with homegrown peppers!  If you decide bringing indoors is too much of a hassle or you don’t have the space, save the seeds from the best fruit of the plant so you can propagate next year.  Hybrids will not grow true to seed so you will either have to overwinter or buy a new plant or seeds in the spring.  You can try the seed, but the offspring typically does not turn out with the same traits as the parent.  What do the terms GMO, natural, heirloom, organic, hybrid really mean?

A friend shared with me that he thought he was going to give up trying to grow vegetables because all he got was pretty plants with no fruits.  He was growing them in pots.  

My suggestion-don’t give up!  Since you are doing a great job with greenery, go for vegetables that are leafy, like lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, herbs, chard, and other greens.  Now is a great time to replant with these type of plants.

On the other hand, if you get all greenery and no fruit and your plant is in full sun, the most likely culprit is too much nitrogen fertilizer.  This can happen to any fruiting plant.  I fertilize once a month with an organic fertilizer and typically one for tomatoes as they are made with the nutrients fruiting plants need.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Peppers a Plenty in September

Ancho and Jalapeño peppers

Saturday, September 7, 2019

My peppers kick into high gear come September.  They seem to love the lower humidity and cooler nights.  Peppers originated in the mountains of Mexico so September into October are perfect weather conditions for peppers.

Nikita hybrid sweet pepper
Surprisingly, even though peppers originated in the tropics and subtropics of South America, peppers don’t like extremely hot weather.  They get sunburned when the temps get into the 90’s consistently.  Their sunburn looks like dark spots on the exposed fruits.  If you can, move them into the shade when temps are extreme.  They won’t croak, but they are stressed during periods of high heat.
Summer garden tips

Peppers like sulfur, calcium (to protect from blossom end rot), magnesium (helps flowers make fruits), sulfur (makes more nutritious pepper) and phosphorous (for flowering).  You can use the same fertilizer as you do for tomatoes; both encourage healthy fruit growth.

Be careful with the nitrogen.  Nitrogen promotes greenery.  You will end up with beautiful, lush plants with no flowers or fruits.  Also be careful in the type of potting soil you buy if planting in pots to make sure they are not for green leaved plants, but for flowers or vegetables.

Right now, I have Poblano/Ancho peppers, Anaheim pepper, sweet yellow banana pepper, Nikita hybrid sweet pepper,  Pimento peppers, Chipetin, a Sicilian pepper Bocca Rossa, Pizza sweet pepper, Feher Ozon paprika and Healthy sweet pepper growing in pots or in the ground.

The Poblano/Ancho and Anaheim I am drying for chili powder.  The sweet peppers I rough slice the extras and freeze for salsa. The pimentos, I chop and freeze for salads; they stay firm even after frozen.   I have plenty of frozen Jalapeños and Cayennes from last year so didn't plant any this year.  I use them for salsa and some I don’t freeze, but put in apple cider vinegar to ferment for hot sauce for wings for football games.  After about 4 weeks, I put them through the food processor and my hot sauce is ready to use!
Homemade hot sauce
Yum!  Yum!

If you smoke your Jalapeño peppers, you will get Chipotles.  I have smoked some Jalapeños, dried them and ground them up to make Chipotle powder for seasoning dishes.  Or you can add natural smoke flavor to the pepper before drying to get that smoky flavor after dehydrated.

The heat of the pepper is in the ribs and seeds.  If you like spicy, be sure to keep these.  When handling spicy peppers, it is a good idea to wear gloves and be careful to not rub your eyes, nose or mouth until you wash your hands thoroughly.

You can also save these seeds and plant in next year's garden.  Just be sure to let them dry before you put them in an air tight container.  I store my seeds in ziplocks in the frig and they last for years.

Pimento peppers
We grow most of our peppers in pots.  I try to grow enough peppers to last us all winter for chili and salsa.  The hot peppers like Jalapeños and Cayenne seem to do best in pots.  The Pimentos were average producers in the ground.  I have grown them in pots in the past and there doesn’t seem to be much difference in production.  The sweet peppers do well in pots.  The Poblano was grown in the garden and the Anaheim in the ground.  Both produced well.  I grow all my peppers in pots unless I run out of pots, then they go in the ground. 

If you had plants that did extremely well, peppers are perennials.  You can simply bring them inside for the winter.  They will continue to produce through January indoors.  When you put them back outside in the spring, you will be the first on the block with homegrown peppers!  If you decide bringing indoors is too much of a hassle or you don’t have the space, save the seeds from the best fruit of the plant so you can propagate next year.  Hybrids will not grow true to seed so you will either have to overwinter or buy a new plant or seeds in the spring.  You can try the seed, but the offspring typically does not turn out with the same traits as the parent.

A friend shared with me that he thought he was going to give up trying to grow vegetables because all he got was pretty plants with no fruits.  He was growing them in pots.  

My suggestion-don’t give up!  Since you are doing a great job with greenery, go for vegetables that are leafy, like lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, herbs, chard, and other greens.  Now is a great time to replant with these type of plants.

On the other hand, if you get all greenery and no fruit and your plant is in full sun, the most likely culprit is too much nitrogen fertilizer.  This can happen to any fruiting plant.  I fertilize once a month with an organic fertilizer and typically one for tomatoes as they are made with the nutrients fruiting plants need.