Do you remember that feeling of fun and expectation last spring when you planted your containers? Just because summer is drawing to an end doesn’t mean that the fun has to end too. It’s a great time to enjoy the fun of container gardening all over again by filling your containers with vegetables that thrive in the fall. Virtually any vegetable can be grown in a container if given enough good soil and proper drainage. The cooler fall temperatures are also said to make the vegetables taste even sweeter and here are some ideas to try in your containers this fall.
One characteristic that many fall vegetables have is that they have short maturity dates. This means the seeds can be planted now and often they will be ready to eat in as little as 45 days. Leafy vegetables in particular are fast growers so why not try growing your own salad garden? You can plant several different types of lettuce and if you have enough space in your containers you can try planting them in two week intervals to have a steady supply of fresh lettuce throughout the fall. You can also try other leafy vegetables such as collards, arugula or mustard greens.
I know it isn’t something you’re probably thinking about now, but if you want to enjoy fresh vegetables for your dinner table this Thanksgiving you’ll have to start planting them soon. Turnips, beets, and carrots are easy to grow in containers and if given the right conditions you might even be able to stretch their growing season until Christmas! Growing root vegetables requires loose soil that is free from rocks and containers are a great way to provide these important growing conditions.
It seems like every week I read another article about the health benefits of “super foods” and there are many vegetables that fit this description. The good news is that these vegetables are also great choices for container gardening. Broccoli, kale, and spinach are popular choices in many dishes as well as smoothies and they flourish in cooler fall temperatures. If you want to try something a little different interplant them with fall flowers like pansies or chrysanthemums for an added boost of color in your containers.
Another trend that I’ve noticed recently is a desire to grow more “exotic” or different vegetables. How about an Asian greens garden? Many vegetables that are the backbone of Asian cooking are well-suited for fall gardening conditions. Tatsoi is a leafy vegetable that is said to taste like a cross between spinach and mustard greens. Mizuna is popular in Japanese dishes and has a pepper-like flavor similar to arugula and it is highly resistant to cold temperatures. If Chinese food is something you enjoy try bok choy which is related to cabbage and cauliflower.
Finally, no fall vegetable garden would be complete without root vegetables. Radish and onions are easy to grow in containers and kohlrabi, a less well-known root vegetable, is also suited for container gardening. Not only are kohlrabi eaten cooked, but they are great as a raw vegetable in a salad or slaw dish and their leaves can be eaten as well.
Another nice thing about container gardening is that it is something that everyone can enjoy. Whether it’s a child or a senior citizen, containers are easy to work with and the convenience of putting the container close to your back door or the kitchen makes them accessible to disabled individuals as well. There really is no good reason to not grow some vegetables in containers this fall, is there?