Here in Hawaii our seasonal changes are very subtle. With the change from Summer to Fall we notice a slightly cooler feel to the air, another layer of blankets come out and we find activities to do closer to home.
Fall gives us an opportunity to gather up our energies from an active Summer and focus back into the things that really nurture us. A home garden is one of those things.
Fall gardening is a lot of fun and can be very rewarding because the weather conditions are conducive to growing some really impressive vegetables. It is also a good time to renovate and replenish the soil from an active and expansive Summer.
This blog post will cover all the herbs and vegetables that will grow excellently this time of year and of course we will provide some recipes! Also look for tips on how to replenish the soil and where you can find materials to do so.
Lets dig in!
The Roman Emperor Charlemagne was noted for saying that “Herbs are the friend of the physician and the pride of cooks.” Really, what would a meal or a cup of tea be without the addition of herbs and spices? Many of which are easy to grow in Hawaii.
There are several that thrive during the Fall Season. They are:
AKA the spice coriander, which is essentially the dried seeds of the cilantro plant. Cilantro/Coriander is a powerhouse herb. It’s been touted with the ability to rid the body of heavy metals, protect against oxidative stress, help to relieve anxiety, improve sleep, and protect against cardiovascular disease. It does all of this and more! We are really just scraping the surface of the guacamole bowl when we look at the benefits of cilantro.
It’s been a staple herb of Mexican and Indian cuisine for a looooong time. Lately, it has made its debut as the main ingredient in Pesto! Since Basil doesn’t do so well this in the garden this time of year, cilantro is an over achieving substitute. You can find our favorite cilantro pesto recipe here.
Parsley is a source of remarkable nutrition. It’s more than just a garnish on the side of the plate, it actually helps you digest that piece of steak. It contains several times the vitamin C of citrus and is one of the higher sources of Vitamin A, chlorophyll, calcium, magnesium, and iron.
Parsley is one of the main ingredients in the famous tabouli recipe. Tabouli is a fresh and flavorful salad that pairs bulgar wheat and parsley. Try this recipe with almonds and dried apricots for a new spin on an old classic.
Fennel is fun to grow. Its feathery fronds add diversity to the garden. Fennel is crunchy and slightly sweet. It is most often associated with Italian cooking. I like adding it to a potatoes gratin recipe as an aromatic addition.
Fennel helps add digestion as well. The seeds are a popular remedy for gas, and bloating and make a tasty tea which can relieve any type of digestive upset. Be sure to add this to your selection of fresh vegetables/herbs from the autumn through early spring when it is readily available and at its best.
While pumpkin may be an obvious fall delight, it is usually planted in the spring and harvested in the fall. For the purpose of this article we will be focusing on vegetables that thrive when planted in the fall and are harvested during the winter months.
Here’s a few of our favorite fall vegetables to get you inspired:
- Red and Green Cabbage
- Romanesco (ancient cauliflower)
There is nothing quite like growing and more importantly, harvesting a vegetable as big as your head to make you feel proud of your garden!
Your mom had good reason for reminding you to eat your vegetables at dinner. Especially the cruciferous types such as broccoli, collards, kale, and cabbages. They all lower your risk of cancer! They also help to relieve oxidative stress. Much like cilantro! Cruciferous vegetables are also good for the heart and help boost the immune system with their high levels of Vitamin C.
Looking for dishes your kids will gobble up? Here’s a link to The Ultimate Cruciferous Vegetable Recipe Roundup. There are heaps of recipes to try!
Now are you excited about planting some of these superstars in your fall garden? Yes? Great. But…
Where can you find starts?
Robin at Heaven on Earth Starts carefully selects all the finest varieties of these vegetables and starts them off well in her greenhouse.
Robin was our go to source for this article and happily shares tips with anyone asking at the Farmers Market at Kilauea Mini Golf on Saturday mornings. She advises, “It is definitely a good plan to stagger the plantings of cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli so that you don’t wind up drowning in them when they’re ready. This means planting a few every few weeks from about October through January or February. And I say this from personal experience!”
We are thankful to have Robin around to help us get our gardens started off on the right foot!
Secret to Fall Gardening Success? Feed the soil before you feed yourself!
Spring and fall are typically the times of the year that the soil needs some rejuvenation. But how do I do this you ask? What does my soil need?
When in doubt, add rich brown soil goodness – organic matter.
What is organic matter? Organic matter is basically decomposed organic material. Piles of leaves, manure, & plant parts are organic materials. When this is all composted into fine humus then it becomes organic matter. Organic matter is stable in the soil. It has been decomposed until it is resistant to further decomposition.
Compost lends itself to being the top soil amendment of the season. Piles and piles of compost can be added to provide a boost of nutrients to your hungry plants.
Stop by our garden center at the nursery and pick up some compost! If you’re around on Thursdays come in and pick up a gallon or two of Compost Tea to treat your plants to a real boost.
Audrey Hepburn reminds us that “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” I’ll say! Not only to believe in it, but to taste it!
Give yourself something to look forward to this fall by planting a seasonally attuned garden. Just don’t forget to feed the soil first! In turn the soil will feed you.