A REVIEW OF OUR FALL VEGETABLE SEEDS
Fall gardening is one of the pleasures of the season
Most people think of growing tomatoes, cucumbers and green beans, which are wonderful summer, or hot weather crops, but many stop and miss the best season for growing edibles. Fall allows us to cultivate some of the most tasty foods like peas, lettuce, broccoli and beets. Most of these crops do fine in the spring, but the early summer heat makes them bolt before they are ready to harvest. Growing them into the cooler weather allows them to develop into the lovely vegetables we want. In fact, the onset of fall frosts helps many of these edibles to mellow into wonderfully delicious food.
Cold-season vegetables are frost-tolerant crops and many of them can stand in the garden all winter long with little protection, especially in regions with mild winters like we find here in Northeast Tennessee and Southwestern Virginia.
For a successful fall and winter harvest, you need to time your cold-season crops properly. Although they will continue to grow, at a slower pace as the nights turn chilly, the majority of their growth will take place when the weather is still warm - in late summer and early autumn - and while there is still more than 10 hours of sunlight per day. Cold-season crops should be almost mature by the time the cold weather finally arrives, in late autumn. The vegetables will then hold in the garden all winter long, with a little help using season extenders like a cold frame or a tunnel.
To successfully time your fall and winter crops, you will need to know two pieces of information - the average date of the first frost, for our region that's October 15th (I have seen it snow on Halloween and I have waited until Thanksgiving for the first frost here in Northeast Tennessee, but plan for the earlier date and celebrate if the frost holds off!), and the days of maturity for the vegetable you are planting.
I have taken the time to review the fall vegetable seeds we offer, giving you the days maturity and highlights of each variety. At The Wicked Plant Shop, we are fortunate to have, locally grown seeds for sale. We offer Sow True Seeds, from Ashville, NC and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange from Mineral, VA. I also offer you details of when to start the seeds and where to grow them.
ARUGULA (Days to Harvest - 20-35)
Also known as Salad Rocket or Roquette. Distinctive delicious peppery flavor. Hardy, dark-green wide leaves that give you the freedom to harvest all season long as a cut and come again green. Perfect for spicing up a salad or stir-fry, or be adventurous and try it on top of a pizza!
BEET - BULL'S BLOOD (Days to Harvest - 35 for Baby leaves, 60 for Beets)
Bull's Blood has the reddest foliage we have ever seen. The earliest thinnings spark up spring and fall salads with a leaf color as richly dark red as radicchio. As the roots enlarge, the baby beets are also delicious cooked and mixed with salad. The small sweet red roots are best when harvested young. When sowing, mix beet seeds with fast-sprouting radish seeds to mark the rows. Grows best in cool weather and full sun. Ours are an Heirloom variety!
BEET - CHIOGGIA (Days to Harvest - 54)
An Italian specialty variety that has green leaves, plump and round roots with pinkish-red skin and striking flesh of alternating white and fuchsia rings. A festive and sweet addition to salads when shaved. The green leaves are an excellent spinach substitute. Best quality when harvested promptly, not to be hanging out in the field. Stores amazingly well! When planting, mix beet seeds with fast sprouting radish seeds to mark the rows.
BEET - DETROIT DARK RED (Days to Harvest - 50-60)
An American original! This beet has been a favorite for over a century. A consistent producer for canning, juicing, pickling, or roasting. Burgundy globe-shaped roots with bright green leaves that are as delicious as the roots. When planting, mix beet seeds with fast sprouting radish seeds to mark the rows. The Detroit Dark Red prefers full sun and good drainage, but in most climates can also tolerate partially filtered shade. Can be planted in early spring or late summer.
BEET - EARLY WONDER (Days to Harvest - 48)
A reliable, old variety, dating from around 1810. The Early Wonder beet is a popular heirloom beet plant that produces high yields of deep red roots! A popular beet that is early maturing and produces abundant greens.The tasty and abundant greens are a great substitute for chard or spinach and have high vitamin A and C. Try pickled, fresh, cooked or in borscht. Great for container gardening!
BEET - GOLDEN DETROIT (Days to Harvest - 55)
The Golden Detroit is the ultimate savory golden beet with delicious greens! A colorful beet that won over gardeners with it’s sweet but more mild flavor. Golden Detroit’s vibrant orange-yellow color makes a wonderful addition to salads and meals. Cooked it turns buttercup yellow and melts in your mouth. Light green, with gold veined leaves also mix well into salads. One of the best tasting raw beets that is extremely healthy. Great for adding a splash of color to a dish. Super nutritious, and does not bleed red like its cousins.
BEET - RAINBOW BLEND (Days to Harvest - 54)
A lovely mix of Detroit Dark Red, Golden Detroit, White Albino and Chioggia. The colors are only out shined by the outstanding flavors! It's a beet lover's dream come true! Four superb globe varieties, all as distinctive in flavor as they are in color, can be yours for the price of a single packet of seed! Grow these superb beets as gourmet babies or as full-sized roots bursting with flavor! And don't forget those nutritious beet greens, which reach their peak at about 5 to 6 inches high.
BROCCOLI - DI CICCIO (Days to Harvest - 55)
Introduced in 1890, 'Di Ciccio' is a tasty, old, reliable Italian heirloom broccoli variety perfect for home gardens that you won't find in the produce section. Di Ciccio' broccoli plants are compact, reaching two to three feet in height, and produce a central three to four inch head with numerous side shoots. You can remove each head one at a time and get a continuous harvest from your broccoli Di Ciccio plants. It can be more productive than many hybrids and its non-uniformity in maturity makes it an excellent home garden variety. Freezes well.
BROCCOLI - GREEN GOLIATH (Days to Harvest - 55)
Home gardeners will get early and extended harvests with this old favorite. Large, blue-green heads are tight-budded and mature over a three week period, rather than all at once. Good side shoots follow after the center head has been harvested. A perfect pick for fresh eating or freezing.
BROCCOLI - WALTHAM 29 (Days to Harvest - 60 - 90)
A heirloom variety prized for its lovely dark blue-green heads and marvelous flavor. With large heads and long stalks, this lovely and adaptable broccoli can be planted spring and fall. The 4–6" dark blue-green heads, arrayed with side shoots, make for marvelous fresh eating or can be frozen. Performs outstandingly in the fall; withstands cold.
BROCCOLI RAAB - SPRING RAPINI (Days to Harvest - 55)
An Italian, non heading broccoli raab commonly grown for its asparagus flavored shoots and flowers. Delicious heirloom rapini offers a culinary bonus with the captivating flavor of its green shoots. Enjoy mini-broccolis in salads, as tasty hors d’oeuvres, or as instant healthy snacks. After cutting off the main head at around eight weeks, side-shoots appear, making for a nice harvest of flavor. Matures quickly from seed. Best when grown in cool weather.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS - LONG ISLAND (Days to Harvest - 90)
By far the most popular of the Brussels Sprouts, the Long Island Improved Brussels Sprout is an heirloom variety that’s been producing delicious miniature-like cabbage heads for over 100 years! Great on your dinner table as an accompaniment to any meat or salad dish. Plant Long Island Improved Brussels Sprouts seeds in fall – this is a very durable variety that can withstand cooler temperatures. You can leave plants in the garden into the winter, as they are hardy to 10°F; frost actually improves the flavor.
The compact 24 inches plant will yield up to 100 sprouts over an extended period of time.
CABBAGE - EARLY JERSEY WAKEFIELD (Days to Harvest - 68)
This American heirloom cabbage is a favorite for early harvest, forming a conical, pointed, dark green head with a smooth, sweet flavor. The pyramidal shape with sparse outside foliage permits close spacing.
The head is slow to split and slow to bolt. Good resistance to frost and cabbage yellows. Holds in the garden for 2 to 3 weeks after maturity. Rich in vitamins and minerals. Some gardeners consider this the best tasting of all cabbages.
CABBAGE - RED ACRE (Days to Harvest - 76)
Perk up cole slaw or your favorite stir-fry with this gorgeous, deep-red cabbage. The sweet flavor of cabbage fresh from the garden is much better than store-bought. Solid heads form early on small 2-4 pound, compact plants making 'Red Acre' an ideal choice for small gardens. Resistant to splitting and cabbage yellows disease. Grows best in fall, frost will sweeten flavor. Heads store exceptionally well in the refrigerator or root cellar.
CHINESE CABBAGE - MICHIHLI (Days to Harvest - 70)
Michihili cabbage is a popular Chinese cabbage. The most popular open-pollinated Chinese cabbage available! Easy to grow in the home garden, the plant grows quickly into an upright, cylindrical, leafy, loose head. It has a mild delicate flavor and is very popular in a wide variety of Asian cuisines. You can use Michihili cabbage in any of your favorite cabbage recipes. Sweet and crunchy, this all-purpose cabbage is excellent for fermenting, stir-fry, steaming, roasting, wrapping, oh the list goes on! 14" high with 4" diameter heads. Best sown for fall harvest.
CARROT - COSMIC PURPLE (Days to Harvest - 70)
While colored carrots seem to be new to home gardens, they have been around for centuries. In fact, the purple carrot has been around for at least 1,000 years. After losing out to the more popular orange carrots long ago, purple carrots have been rediscovered. Kids will love them as a colorful snack. Besides being high in vitamin A, purple carrots contain anthocyanin (an antioxidant).
CARROT - DANVERS 126 (Days to Harvest - 75)
Haven't had luck growing carrots? Danvers 126 is your champion! Tapered roots hold up well in heavy clay soils. Widely adapted, productive and heat tolerant. Produces crunchy and flavorful dark orange roots 6-7" long. Great for canning, freezing, and making carrot juice. High in Vitamin A. Type found in your supermarkets! Heat Tolerant. Crack Resistant. Resists splitting! Stores well. Strong tops make harvesting easy. Great for container gardens!
CARROT - LITTLE FINGER (Days to Harvest - 60)
This extra-sweet baby carrot really is the size of your little finger! Growing only about 4 inches long, it is a classic baby variety with a crisp consistency and juicy bite that most everyone finds irresistible. The dark orange roots are smooth and do not taper. Higher in vitamins A and B than their store-bought counterparts, home-grown carrots are also rich in calcium and phosphorus -- and they taste delicious!
CARROT - RAINBOW BLEND (Days to Harvest - 75)
A Quintet of Gourmet Baby Veggies! A delightful blend of five different colored carrots all suitable for growth as gourmet baby veggies or full-sized mature roots, our Rainbow Carrot Blend is a treat for every garden! Plant a nice big patch of these beauties and have fun at harvest time discovering the colors you have grown! Includes Atomic Red, Cosmic Purple, Lunar White, and Solar Yellow. You'll love this colorful mix of quick-to-finish, tender-sweet carrots!
CARROT - RED CORE CHANTENNAY (Days to Harvest - 70)
This all-purpose carrot is a real beauty! Red Cored Chantennay is Burpee bred, easy to grow and full of vitamins. Short, thick roots, 5 1/2" long, taper to blunt end are golden orange and have good flavor. A healthy choice, carrots contain more vitamin A than any other vegetable and when raw, they provide important dietary fiber.
CARROT - TENDERSWEET (Days to Harvest - 75)
A heirloom and the sweetest carrot anywhere! Long, tender roots and very rich orange color; coreless. An excellent all-around carrot for cooking, canning, pickling, baking, and juicing.
CAULIFLOWER - SNOWBALL (Days to Harvest - 80)
Known for its vigorous, rapid growth and long harvest. Its head is snow-white and measures 7-8″ inches across. Give this cauliflower fertile soil, full sun and steady moisture and you’ll be rewarded with large, delicious heads that are high in vitamin C. Excellent for fall crops! Self-wrapping leaves save you time by protecting the delicious white heads from heat and sunlight.
COLLARDS - CHAMPION (Days to Harvest - 60)
A traditional green grown in the South. An excellent choice for home gardens. A compact collard plant that has an increased bolt resistance and enhanced winter hardiness, truly making it a champion! Great with a touch of olive oil and garlic and served with ham or pork chops. Perfect steamed, boiled, or stir-fried. Grow in the fall, harvest all winter long! Frost resistant. Waxy leaf surface provides natural protection from cabbage worms.
COLLARDS - GEORGIA (Days to Harvest - 75)
Prized for their sweet, cabbage-like flavor. Leaves are ruffled and blue-green. Leaves taste best when young. Rich in vitamins and minerals. Grows best in full sun, but will tolerate partial shade and even appreciates it in spring in hot climates. Withstands cold weather; frost makes leaves sweet. Great for fall.
KALE - DWARF SIBERIAN (Days to Harvest - 60)
This Russian variety is top quality! Yields nutritious dark green leaves that are lightly crumpled. Hardy plants grow up to 16-inches tall and are very productive. One of our best! Used fresh in salads, on sandwiches, or steamed, in stir-fries, or as a colorful garnish. Excellent choice for home gardens. A heirloom variety from Russia.
KALE - LACINATO (DINOSAUR) (Days to Harvest - 60)
Italian heirloom with blue-green leaves loaded with flavor. Also known as Tuscan Kale, this lovely Italian heirloom dates back to the 18th century. (Fun fact: Thomas Jefferson grew it at Monticello). Sweeter, milder, heavily crinkled blue-green strap leaves impart excellent flavor. Harvest when young and after first frost. Enjoy fresh, blanched, broiled, or braised—a flavorful nutritional bonanza.
KALE - RED RUSSIAN (Days to Harvest - 50)
Delicious heirloom grey-green leaves turn purple in cold weather. This delicious grey-green kale is pretty enough to plant among the flowers. Much larger than regular kale (2 to 3' tall), the stems are purplish and the leaves are shaped like big oak leaves and colored a velvety gray green. The purple colors become richer after frost, when the flavor becomes sweeter. Surprisingly, the big leaves are very tender and delicious. Garden Hints: Kale requires good cultivation; mulch or hoe frequently to keep soil loose and weed-free. Plants may be left outdoors all winter. Frost improves flavor.
KALE - DWARF BLUE CURLED SCOTCH (Days to Harvest - 55)
An early kale that produces tasty greens when used in salads or steamed. The blue-green leaves are finely curled and very attractive reaching 12-15" in high, and spread to 20-35" in width. Extremely hardy and productive. Will over winter with little protection. This is one of the best frost resistant kales. A perfect source of nutritional greens during the cool season.
KOHLRABI - EARLY PURPLE VIENNA (Days to Harvest - 60)
An heirloom variety that is one of the most productive and easiest crops to grow in cooler seasons. Very mild kohlrabi! Purplish leaves and globes with mild turnip-cabbage flavor. Leaves are eaten like kale and white-fleshed bulbs are eaten like broccoli. Plants grow to 18" tall, with globes growing above the soil. Plant in late summer for fall and winter harvests. Harvest bulbs when tennis-ball sized. Peel and remove all tough and woody parts before slicing and cooking. Somewhat resistant to the cabbage worm.
LETTUCE - BLACK SEEDED SIMPSON (Days to Harvest - 49)
One of the fastest lettuces to maturity, completing its growth cycle within 45-60 days. Baby greens can be harvested in less than a month after germination in many growing environments. Black Seeded Simpson is also one of the more durable greens, and will show good resistance to heat, cold, infestation and other potential problems. The light-green leaves are especially juicy, and are suitable for salad and other dishes.
LETTUCE - BUTTERCRUNCH (Days to Harvest - 50)
Extremely popular lettuce has a luscious, buttery texture. The soft heads are creamy yellow inside and have some heat resistance. Plant every 2 weeks into fall for continuous harvest. Protect from heat with shade cloth. Likes fertile soil, ample water. Best when picked minutes before your meal. A good source of vitamin A and phytonutrients. Grows best in full sun, but will tolerate partial shade.
LETTUCE - HERB SALAD MIX (Days to Harvest - 35)
Sow heavily for a cut-and-come-again harvest. Make an instant salad or liven up a heavier dish. A tasty mix of Black Seeded Simpson, Red Salad Bowl, Mervielle 4 Seasons and Rouge de Hiver lettuces, Tatsoi, Mizuna, Cilantro, Dill and Arugula. Harvest at baby leaf stage. Plant every 2 weeks into fall for continuous harvest.
LETTUCE - JERICHO (Days to Harvest - 28 for Baby leaves, 60 for Full Head)
Especially heat-tolerant, juicy romaine originally from Israel. Full heads of upright sword-shaped leaves with crisp, juicy texture and sweet, fine flavor. A great choice for the south!
LETTUCE - LETTUCE MIX (Days to Harvest - 40)
The perfect cut-and-come-again selection for an instant salad! A wonderful blend of four lettuce varieties: Merveille 4 Seasons, Rouge de Hiver, Red Salad Bowl and Black Seeded Simpson. Harvest at baby leaf size. Cut above growth point to allor for regrowth.
LETTUCE - PARRIS ISLAND ROMAINE (Days to Harvest - 66)
This heirloom lettuce is named after the actual Parris Island off the coast of South Carolina. Flavorful pale-creamy green heart is surrounded by thick green outer leaves on enormous upright plants. Parris Island Cos romaine lettuce seeds can be planted close together for a long harvest of baby leaves for gourmet salads. Given space and time to grow, Parris Island will form huge crazy size heads up to 12" tall. Even at this size, the leaves are tender and succulent, with mild flavor.
LETTUCE - RED SALAD BOWL (Days to Harvest - 45)
A very popular loose-leaf heirloom lettuce that is heat resistant. This variety is an appealing, slow bolting deep red leaf lettuce with finely divided leaves. The Red Salad Bowl has a sweet and tender flavor and is a colorful delight for many dishes and salads! This variety is a favorite for being quick grow and great for cut and come again harvesting.
LETTUCE - ROUGE DE HIVER (RED WINTER) ROMAINE (Days to Harvest - 62)
An heirloom variety, Rouge d’Hiver originated in France in l885. This red Romaine is unabashedly gorgeous, reliably hardy and perfect for baby greens. Rouge d’Hiver produces large, robust heads of reddish-bronze, green-veined leaves which tolerate both heat and cold well. Even after being dressed, its showy red leaves stay crisp and their heft makes them ideal with weightier salad ingredients.
LETTUCE - TOM THUMB (Days to Harvest - 48)
English heirloom butterhead's yellowish-lime-colored leaves have mild, creamy taste. A unique English heirloom lettuce that can take the heat and stars in the kitchen. Mild and creamy, the bright yellowish-lime green leaves from the tiny, 4-5" butterhead are just right for individual salads. The bright, yellow-lime green leaves form medium-tight central heads even in hot weather and ignore the heat when fully mature in the garden, resisting bolting and allowing for a longer harvest. Cut the individual leaves or pick the entire head.
LETTUCE - WINTER DENSITY (Days to Harvest - 58)
A French heirloom from the 19th century. Thick tender dark green leaves for superb eating. Starts out looking like a bibb then wrapper leaves fold tightly, forming a head like a romaine when mature. Combines the substance of romaine with the tender succulence of bibb. Cold-hardy through the winter.
MIZUNA - (Days to Harvest - 30-45)
Bright green, serrated leaves of this heirloom Japanese mustard add welcome pizzazz to gourmet salads. The bright-green leaves of this heirloom Japanese mustard add peppery zing to mixed-green salads and are delicious simply sautéed or stir-fried. Plants produce a flurry of thin stalks with bright-green and heavily serrated leaves with a picturesque feathery look that adds interest to the garden bed. A cut-and-come-again plant that keeps producing.
PAK CHOI - (Days to Harvest - 45)
Easy to grow and fast to mature. Also known as bok choy or Chinese white cabbage, Pak choi is grown for its stalks, which are used in Asian cooking. It is also delicious raw. Each plant bears 10-14 erect stalks, 8-10" long. Grows best in cool weather and can be grown as a spring or fall crop.
MIXED GREENS - BRAISING GREENS - (Days to Harvest - 30)
Our specially blended stir-fry mix! Gourmet-quality greens for quick cooking. Harvest at baby or teenage stage for a diverse stir-fry mix. Mix with other popular stir-fry items such as scallions and snow peas. This mix includes green mustard, red mustard, kale, tatsoi, and Hon Tsai Tai.
MIXED GREENS - SPICY MECLUN MIX - (Days to Harvest - 24)
Spicy and tangy salad mixture. The French approach to salad greens--"mesclun" means "mixture." Early sweet lettuces and tangy, tender greens are pre-mixed to grow together for easy cutting. They're as pretty in the garden as they are in the bowl. Consisting of 20% each of arugula, endive, red looseleaf lettuce, radicchio, and mustard.