Saturday, November 26, 2011

Garden Seeds: Meet Kelly, our Gardening Expert!

I am so excited to introduce Kelly Hedburg as part of our blogging team! She is our resident Gardening Expert, here to answer any green thumb questions and to share her wealth of knowledge with us! Take it away with your first post Kelly!

The fall is my favorite season for so many reasons:  cool-season vegetable planting, the changing of leaves, football, the beginning of the holidays, and, if you live in Arizona, the end of triple digits!!   As I look at my planting calendar, I am inclined to rename it as the Season of Greens. 

November is the right time to plant many edible greens.  This includes: arugula, bok choy, swiss chard, collard greens, endive, kale, lettuce, mustard and spinach.  Planting a variety of greens will give you endless options in the kitchen.  Bok choy for stir fry.  Swiss chard for a Sunday morning quiche.  Kale can be baked until crispy like a potato chip or juiced for a yummy smoothie.  Mustard has an explosive taste after a few chews.  And lettuce?  It’s a daily staple in my home for both my family and our lizard!

I have also found that many of the above listed greens are fairly easy to grow.  If you are a beginner gardener, you can build your confidence with greens.  They also grow above ground (as opposed to root vegetables) and it’s easy to determine when to harvest them.   Most are ready for harvest in 50-90 days.  Use the “cut-and-come-again” harvesting method to maximize your output. 

Greens can be grown in the ground or in pots.  Last year, I alternated romaine lettuce with petunias in a narrow window box.   Swiss chard is also a beautiful compliment to some ornamentals in a large pot.  Add some nasturtiums to include an edible flower. 

As I think this week of all my blessings, I will remember my greens.  I am thankful for their beauty, their diversity, their nutritious value and their wonderful taste. 

Vegetable Planting Calendar for Maricopa County:   HYPERLINK ""

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