I moved again about a month ago. Just in time to build yet another garden. I have lived in four places in the last year, and have built a garden in each one. I just leave gardens in my path. Hopefully they are all still going strong. The last one was the most impressive in terms of size, but this one was the most impressive transformation. The backyard was the SCARIEST yard I have ever seen. Hands down. My roomies were involved in a kitchen remodel for a show on HGTV over the summer, and all the junk used for that was still in the path to the backyard. I made it back there very few times without being jabbed or tripped by a metal pipe or nail-filled board. But the actual backyard was even more treacherous. GIANT (we’re talkin’ 7 feet tall) spiky weed stalks towered above you, and lurched at you wherever you tried to walk- from every direction. There were two secret gems in the center of the mess–a huge avocado tree and a meyer lemon tree. There was no hope of getting to the avocados, and when I made it to the lemons, I saw they were covered with thick gray spider webs, almost exactly like this.
One day, Wes and I decided we’d clear a portion of the weeds out to create a small fall garden, since I’m obsessed and couldn’t imagine no garden at all. We picked out a space for one raised box, and I got the pick axe and started chipping away. Well the smartest thing we did was wait until early fall to start this project, because the weeds were all dead and came up with shocking ease (although their deadness also meant scarier spikes). It wasn’t long before we realized we could clear the entire yard in the amount of time we allotted for the box. So we did.
A couple of weekends ago, I planted my seedlings I’d ordered long ago, and am excited to try them. I got mostly heirloom varieties this time around, so I’m interested to see what they’re like. I finally found dinosaur kale seeds, multi-colored lettuces, cauliflower, and carrots, got a strange kind of spinach that has edible berries, and the coolest vegetable of all–romanesco broccoli.
If you grow any plant at all (and you should grow something), I’d suggest greens. Any greens you like–spinach, kale, bok choy, cabbage, lettuce, mustard greens… Many greens are cold-weather vegetables, so there’s no excuse not to plant some now. These are awesome to grow for many reasons: they don’t need much space, grow to an edible size fast, often don’t require that you pull out the whole plant at once allowing you to use them in practically every meal all season, and are full of nutrient value which means you should use them in practically every meal all season. Greens are an especially great thing to grow right now, because they sweep up the excess nitrogen left over from many summer garden vegetables.
If you haven’t already tried it, our Tomato and Kale Pasta is a great way to eat your greens. We’ve been making variations of it regularly since we discovered how good kale can be. Change it up by using jarred marinara sauce and vegan sausages now that it’s winter and you’re probably after something more hearty.