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The Hardy Fall Vegetables

   November’s garden looks greener than green, with all shades inbetween. Although the temperature has fallen down into the 20’s for several mornings, the hardy fall vegetables are thriving. There’ll be plenty to eat at Thanksgiving.

Thousands of lettuce heads grace the beds with their different colors and shapes. We grow a romaine called Winter Density that weighs in at a pound and a half each, and there still growing. Our Grand Rapids variety is the beautiful Red Sails, a colorful maroon one. Concept and Nevada are the French Batavias, and are my favorites.    Parsley, Swiss Chard and Celery are still producing leaves and stalks by the bushel, all planted in early spring. They get cut each week and keep coming back.    Arugula and Mizuna are also cut and come again greens. Sorrel has made a come back from summer dormancy, and we sent in garlic chives last week.    Kale and Mustard are in their element, they love the fall weather. I sowed them in patches and they have covered the ground with their leaves. Turnip greens are good now too, especially after the frosts.    We have white turnips and red ones, also, besides the purple tops. Another root vegetable we grow is rutabega, a yellow root that is sometimes called a swede. They must be from Sweden.    Dakon Radishes also come in a variety of colors and shapes. Watermelon radish is bright red on the inside, and greenish-white on the outside. China Rose is red on the outside with white flesh. Mizota is green inside and out. The giant daikons can get two feet long and are solid white.    The Chinese Cabbage Collection includes Rubicon and Michihilio. The closely releated Bok choys have names like Mei Qing, Joi Chong and Tatsoi. They come up well when broadcast with the fall over crop mix of buckwheat and erimson clover.    An unusual garden vegetable is Okohlrabi. It is the swollen stem of a plant that looks like broccoli. I thought it was broccoli when I planted three beds of it a few months ago. But I had my seed mixed up. Oh well, the coop gets kotlrabi instead. It is eaten raw or cooked, much like a turnip.    We use a lot of these fall crops for soil improvement. They are good to plow back into the garden. After eating and shipping out what we can, the rest become food for soil microbes. Having green growing things in November means that the sun is still turning carbon back into the garden. And well be grateful for it when we plant again next spring.