It is late summer and here in California we still have time to grow edible plants to last through fall. Thanks to our good weather there are lots of delicious vegetables that can still thrive at this time.
All you need to do is the basics needed to plant and take care of these easy-to-grow-crops. You can start them from seeds or buy healthy transplants from a garden center. Before planting, remember to use good fertile soil. Also follow the label on required sun exposure, spacing, consistent watering, and fertilize them using organic fertilizer. Equally important, use mulch to keep soil consistently moist. Keep weeds at bay by pulling them as you see them.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a big space. You can certainly grow vegetables in containers. Use raised beds or attractive pots, and they will do just fine.
So if you really enjoy eating fresh vegetables, here are some you can easily grow now……
Swiss chard is packed with vitamins and is excellent for saut´e, soups and salads. The mild taste of this vegetable is similar to spinach. It can also resist heat and drought, and will grow until frost. Pick outer leaves between 6-8 inches long for best taste. If you want an attractive display, try the colorful variety “Bright Lights” which has yellow, cream, purple, red, and pink colors in one plant.
Bok Choy (Chinese cabbage)
Also known as Chinese cabbage, bok choy is rich in minerals and vitamins C, E, and beta carotene. These nutrients help protect cells from damage. If you like green leafy vegetables, it is absolutely delicious in stir fry, sauté and soups. Just remember to keep the soil moist with consistent watering and apply mulch for best growth.
You can grow both bush or vine varieties of beans. They require very little space and produces bountiful harvest. Try growing “Blue Lake”, lima beans, or long beans. It’s best to harvest when the seeds have not swelled through the pods for tender beans.
Snap peas are crunchy, sweet and eaten with the pods. Use chicken wire or preformed trellis to provide support for the plant to grow. Also, keep soil moist and water only the base of the plant to avoid powdery mildew. Harvest daily for best taste. Pick only the smaller, tender pods, or they will be tough to bite.
Radishes are quick-growing (20-30 days) and without much problems. This easy-to-grow vegetable likes loose soil with organic matter and fertilizer. You can either plant them in the ground or in pots. Harvest smaller radishes which are more juicy and tender.
Lettuces are one of the most versatile vegetables available. They’re so easy to grow and very popular in salads, wraps, and sandwiches. It comes in so many shapes, color, and form. Whatever variety you choose, start seeds in flats or directly into the ground. Try “Romaine”, “Buttercrunch”, “Oak Leaf”, “Mesclun” or “Little Gem”.
Kale is a tough edible plant that can endure frost. The leaves of this cruciferous plant come in smooth or curly edges. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Moreover, it is excellent in salads, soups, stews or sauté.
Herbs are popular in any cuisine because of the different flavors and scents they provide. There’s basil, thyme, oregano, sage, dill, mint, parsley, tarragon and chives. So choose and plant only the ones that you enjoy. However, if you’re adventurous in cooking like me, try growing lots of them. There’s almost one or two herbs to use in every dish.