Even though the first light frosts came last week, the potager is still producing and some plants are still growing. Of course, with cooler temperatures, shorter days, and weaker sunlight the growth is slow but some crops love these conditions. The Black Seeded Simpson lettuce is thriving here and there in the potager’s interior borders, self-seeded from the early plants I grew to hide fading tulip foliage. Free salads all autumn, and I didn’t have to do a thing!
The Dwarf Scotch Kale on the left was planted last March, and still continues to produce. In fact, it tastes even better now that frost has sweetened it. The lettuce on the right is Red Deer Tongue. It’s color is even bolder with the cool temperatures. I collected the seed from spring-sown plants, but not soon enough, because it seeded itself in neighboring beds and paths. Some of the seedlings were transplanted into beds, and some were left. There’s no law against harvesting from paths! I just love the deep color.
Radicchio gets prettier as it gets cooler. I’ve been harvesting bottom leaves for weeks to use in salads with roasted beets, bleu cheese and the arugula shown below.
It self-seeded itself, too. Now I’m glad I didn’t pull out the early plants when they began to bolt, or eat all the smokey-flavored flowers. There are still turnips, radishes, leeks, broccolini, carrots and spinach growing. I’m wishing I’d planted lots more spinach, and noted that in my plans for next year. Now I’m trying to decide whether I want to go to the effort of putting row covers over some of the beds to extend the harvest longer into winter.
I should have planned ahead and condensed fall crops into a few beds rather than have a row here and there throughout the potager’s beds. Maybe I’ll cover the bed shown above, since the lettuce is so pretty and the beets are so small. It’s one of the few beds with more than one row. I’ve never done row covers for winter protection, so it would be a learning experience. If you have experience, please share!