By: Tara Feld – Landscape Designer
Contributor’s website:  Tara Feld Design

Delicious green leaf vegetables are perfect to plant in your garden for the coming fall season. Many of my favorite culinary greens are now available and ready to go in starter packs to plant in your raised bed gardens. Lettuces and dark leafed greens are vitamin rich, healthy to eat and fun to grow. 

Commonly known as Rainbow chard, the brilliant colored stalks of the ‘Bright Lights’ Swiss chard are hot pink, yellow, white, and golden orange. Swiss chard is a robust producer of numerous 10-14 inch tall stalks. Harvest tender greens in the early fall and larger stalks in the late winter months. The thick and curly dark green tops are absolutely tasty. I particularly enjoy chopping the stalks and greens into 2-3 inch pieces and
sauteing them with garlic. Serve with a splash of olive oil, sweet balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Rainbow chard is a perfect vegetable side dish when served with beef or lamb. My new addiction is to make pasta with sautéed rainbow Swiss chard, garlic, sliced grilled spicy pork or chicken sausage, topped with aged Parmesan cheese. 

The heirloom ‘Buttercrunch’ lettuce is a staple plant for any garden this season. You can begin planting butter lettuce seeds now, or purchase six pack starter plants. ‘Buttercrunch’ lettuce matures in approximately 45-50 days growing to a size of 8-10 inches in diameter. Enjoy the large lime green leaves of the ‘Butter crunch’ lettuce in salads with ripe avocado, snap peas and sweet baby carrots. Serve with a simple olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper dressing. The contrast of the acidic lemon dressing with the sweet carrots, buttery avocado and crisp green butter lettuce leaves is delightful. Bright green crisp salads pair nicely with fish and roasted chicken. 

The beautiful red, purple and chartreuse marbled leaves of the ‘Red Oakleaf’ lettuce are stunning. Thriving in the cool temperatures of the fall and winter season, the ‘red oakleaf’ lettuce matures in 51 days. The heads range in size from 5-8 inches in diameter. I enjoy the light and earthy flavor of the ‘red oakleaf’ in a salad mixed with ‘buttercrunch’ greens, thinly sliced cucumbers and diced shallots, tossed together with classic French mustard vinaigrette. 

Romaine Lettuce is a salad staple and an essential addition to your fall garden. Romaine is most famously known as the leafy green used in Caesar salads. High in water content, crisp heads of Romaine can be sliced in half lengthwise and charred slightly on the grill with olive or truffle oil and a squirt of lemon. You’re sure to impress dinner guests if you serve your Romaine in this delicious and innovative way!
Arugula is a bitter, tender leaf green that adds bold flavor to your salad garden. Growing to the height of 24-36 inches, arugula greens are superb in cold salads or sandwiches. For a delicious salad, top fresh arugula greens with chopped sweet dates, crumbled feta cheese, chopped pecans and a lemon and olive oil dressing or discover a new twist on pesto by blending together arugula, pine nuts, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese and tossing into cooked pasta. However you use this tasty green, your taste buds will thank you. 
Great for family gardens, nutrient rich spinach is not just for Popeye. This “super” green is easy to grow, rich in anti-oxidants and high in nutritional value. Bright green curly leafed spinach is high in Vitamin ‘C’ and can be eaten fresh, steamed or boiled. Saute with garlic as a tasty side dish, add to lasagna, or nest under poached eggs on your breakfast Benedict. 
A staple of the South, ‘Georgia’ collard greens are a cool season vegetable that matures in 60-80 days and are slow to bolt. A member of the cabbage family, collards should be planted in mid to late summer for fall and winter early harvest. Collards should be harvested by picking the larger leaves when the plant reaches 10-12 inches tall. Remove tough stems to cook this mild tasting green and sauté or boil for 20 min. to an hour until tender. Fantastic flavored with smoked bacon or pancetta. 

These new additions to your home garden are simple to grow, easy to harvest and will add daily joy your healthy eating lifestyle.

Get your kitchen or home vegetable garden started and reap the benefits of these delicious greens all winter by contacting TARA FELD DESIGN.

Special Thanks this month to Diana Lipnick, Athena Lake, Eric Lake, Crystal Perez, Jennifer Dali and Yamaguchi Bonsai Nursery. 

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Contributor’s website:  Tara Feld Design

Image Credits:  All images and photography by TARA FELD DESIGN, copyright TARA FELD 2011.
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