It’s the first of September, you’re excited again to be able to begin anew starting a new growing cycle, a rebirth in your fall garden! Your Spring and Summer garden, discussed in a previous article “Natures Garden“, is pretty much quit producing, and it’s time to clear out your garden of the dead and dying plants, breaking that material up in pieces and starting a new compost pile. You know you should always have a compost pile with black gold compost ready to use and one in the process of cooking, and a new one you will start. In case you missed it in a previous gardening article, here’s a short video on the easiest way to build a compost pile (1).
Add fresh compost from your oldest compost pile, tilling it in the tops 6 inches of your garden beds. You have been able to freeze a whole winter supply of fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds. More on that shortly. Your thoughts turn to an old quote on value of gardening by Voltaire.
The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.
Pull any weeds that that may have grown in your beds with your weeder tool , because it’ll get all the roots out of the ground, too, and discard of them. DO NOT place them in your compost pile! On removing dried dead flower plants, I always leave at least 2 sunflower plants standing with 8 or 10 seed pods for all the birds to enjoy in the early part of winter, because food is tough to come by and our neighbors come in droves to feed on the seed pods. It’s quit a sight to see a Blue Jay hanging upside down on a seed pod removing sun flower seeds to eat.
You’ve had a very successful spring and summer garden, producing tons of fresh veggies, fruits, nuts, and seeds, more than enough for you and your family, friends, and neighbors, to eat and enjoy all summer long. Plus you were able to replenish your stand-in freezer with veggies and fruits for the long winter ahead, by blanching them and then you placed them in ice water, drained them on paper towels, and fresh-froze them in 3 layers of (one bag inside the other) lunch-size brown paper bags, so it’s tripled-bagged. Learn all you need to know about blanching , like why blanch and how to blanch from Cornell education.
You folded the bags as tight as possible and stapled them closed, and labeled them, prior to freezing them. Of course, blanching, or parboiling the produce in water, is the best method for preserving the quality of the food you’re freezing, because it stops “oxidation” and enzyme actions which otherwise cause loss of nutrition, flavor, color and texture, according to ScienceDirect. Blanching times will vary on the type of veggie you’re blanching. So, use this quick reference table in this Clemson Cooperate Extension article.
We also like freezing in brown bags better because you don’t have a problem of chemicals leaching out of plastic freezer bags, plus, the tripled-bags keep all light out and preserves freshness longer, and you’ll have very little frost form inside the paper bags or experience freezer burn. No, it’s true, research such as the NIH study, confirmed that various forms of food packaging transfer chemicals into our food, with unknown health effects. Quoting the NIH study:
…only a small fraction of the substances migrating from food packaging have been evaluated—less than fifteen hundred—and the majority have not even been identified.
That’s why we recommend plain old brown paper bags.
You were able to freeze yellow squash and zucchini cut up in slices for future dishes and casseroles. Really healthy legumes like snap beans, speckled butter beans, Italian romas, for cooking later. Then there’s white (Silver Queen) corn on the cob, and cut corn. And of course lycopene-containing heirloom tomatoes which will not only contribute to some great tasting sauces, but also plays a role in reducing the risk of chronic diseases, per an NIH study.
Whole and cut up, green and red peppers, banana peppers, and “life-extending” benefits, according to a University of Vermont study, hot peppers of jalapenos and poblanos, with the tops cut off and made ready for stuffing later in the winter. How about antioxidant-rich cholesterol-lowering okra, sliced for rolling in seasoned cornmeal and frying and the smaller ones whole for boiling or smothered?
Don’t forget about carrots, cut in slices diagonally and frozen, for adding to roasts and oriental dishes, and has so many incredible health benefits like antioxidants, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties. And how about healthy strawberries, peaches, cut in pieces, for pies and ice cream, and of course, blueberries, and blackberries and their high antioxidant and fiber health benefits during the long winter months.
You also prepared several large freezer bags of diced green peppers, poblanos, red onions, garlic, green onions, and shallots, for seasoning when you need them. In smaller individual bags, you froze separately herbs of cilantro, parsley, rosemary, oregano, basil, and chives. Don’t forget about the health benefits of herbs and spices especially in the winter, per this NIH study.
You have got quit a winter’s bounty of fresh, nutrient-dense fruits and veggies, seeds and nuts, jam-packed with micronutrients (NIH review) of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, amino acids, and omega 3s, prepared and in the freezer, that will not only taste really good when it’s 15 degrees outside and snowing sideways, but also provide complete nutrition. And in the nuts and seeds, you also get high quality healthy vegetable protein, per the NIH.
Preparing Your Raised Beds
On the raised beds that you will use for your fall garden, you will add at least a 2 to 4-inch layer of freshly prepared, nutrient-rich compost (black gold) from your compost pile, rake it over the garden soil evenly and turn it and mix it with your garden fork (2), or till it in with your rotary tiller, readying the beds for planting.
You then visit your favorite local nursery and buy young organic seedling transplant plants of 24 broccoli, 12 cabbage, 12 butternut squash, 12 spaghetti squash, 12 cauliflower, 12 Brussels sprouts, and 12 tomatoes. You also pick up organic heirloom packets of seeds of turnip greens, field peas, kale, red leaf lettuce, butter peas, and carrots.
The fall garden will use almost the entire raised bed area for the exception of the 4 outer raised beds, 2 on the end on the right and 2 on the end on the left, of the garden. In those four beds you won’t be using, you will supplement with at least 12 inches of fresh compost, and till it in so those beds will be ready for planting next spring. Now you’re ready to start planting using the following plan:
Planting Your Raised Beds
5 Foot By 12 Foot Far Left Front Bed. Using the edge of a hoe, make 3 shallow troughs (no more than one inch deep), equally spaced, in the soil for 6 feet down the bed running length-wise. Sprinkle the kale seeds in the troughs, as equally spaced as possible, cover with topsoil and pack the entire bed down lightly with the head of your garden rake, and say grow, with a smile. In the back 6 feet of the bed, transplant the 12 young Brussels sprout plants peat pot included, the same depth as the soil, in to equally-divided holes. Pull the soil up around each peat pot and pack down with your rake.
5 Foot By 12 Foot Far Left Back Bed. Transplant 24 broccoli plants peat pot and all (3), equally spaced in 5 foot by 12 foot bed, in the same manner as the Brussels sprouts.
5 Foot By 12 Foot Next Left Front Bed. Make 24 equally-spaced shallow one and half inches deep holes in the bed, plant 2 or 3 seeds of the butter peas in each hole, cover with soil, and pack the entire bed down lightly with rake.
5 Foot By 12 Foot Next Left Rear Bed. Make 24 equally-spaced one and half inch holes in the bed, plant 2 or 3 seeds of field peas in each hole, cover with soil, and pack the entire bed down lightly.
5 Foot By 12 Foot Right Front Bed. Make 3 equally-spaced one inch deep troughs running length-wise 12 feet, sprinkle turnip green seeds sparingly, as equally spaced as possible in troughs, cover with topsoil, and pack down the entire bed with rake.
5 Foot By 12 Foot Right Rear Bed.
In the first 6 feet of the bed, make 12 equally-spaced holes, then transplant the young red cabbage plants, peat pot and all, pull the topsoil up around each pot, and lightly pack down lightly the entire part of bed. In the back 6 feet, transplant the 12 heirloom tomatoes plants in equally-spaced holes, pot and all, pull topsoil up around pot, and lightly pack down that area of bed.
It’s a little late to plant heirloom tomatoes because they have a long growing season, but you will still be able to produce enough ripe tomatoes on the lower vines before the first frost of the winter to enjoy them fresh, that makes it all worthwhile. You’ll most likely have many green tomatoes on the vines that haven’t ripened on the top half of the plants that you’ll have to pick so they’re not damaged by the first frost, which is fine, because you can slice them and roll them in seasoned-cornmeal and have fried green tomatoes, and slice and freeze the others for later.
Fried green tomatoes are quite a threat! There is another option, you can use reusable plant protection bags to cover at least some of your tomatoes plants especially during nights to keep the frost off and extend the growing season. These bags are relatively inexpensive (like $4.00 each) and reusable season after season.
5 Foot By 12 Foot Far Right Front Bed. Make 3 troughs one and half inches deep equally spaced down the bed 6 feet, sprinkle the red leaf lettuce seeds in the troughs as equally spaced as possible, cover the troughs with topsoil, and lightly pack down the entire planting area. In the back 6 foot of this bed, make 3 more shallow troughs, sprinkle carrots seeds loosely in troughs, cover with topsoil, and lightly pack down the back part of this bed.
5 Foot By 12 Foot Far Right Rear Bed. Make 12 equally-spaced shallow holes and transplant young butternut squash peat pot and all, pull topsoil up around pots, and pack down lightly entire front area of bed. In the back 6 feet of bed, make 12 equally-spaced shallow holes, and transplant the young spaghetti squash in the same manner as the butternut squash.
Final Touches. Use your oscillating sprinkler, set to a gentle spray, and wet the entire raised-bed area giving it a good soaking, but don’t overdo it, so you don’t run the risk of washing-out the small newly planted seeds. Use some sticks with the used seed packs attached and label each of your seeded-areas, so you’ll know what’s planted where.
Look for your planted seeds to emerge from the ground in 7 to 10 days, and that’s when you will be very glad that you decided to plant a fall garden , and you realize that all the hard work has been worth it! After the seedlings get 2 true leaves, thin out over-crowded ones by pinching out the top of the plants, or clip them with small scissors. You don’t want to try to pull the plants out because their roots could be intertwined and you pull out more than you intend to. Take a deep breath and watch them grow into healthy, nutrient-dense vegetable-producing plants in the coming weeks!
Health and Wellness Benefits Of Your Fall Veggies
Now that you have our recommendations on What To Plant In Fall Garden, let us give you supported evidence why we selected these specific vegetables.
Broccoli. When it comes to great-tasting nutrition, broccoli, a cruciferous vegetable, is an all-star food with many health benefits. Broccoli is best known for it’s bioactive potent antioxidants giving protection from free-radical damage and oxidative stress, according to the NIH. The NIH also found that broccoli’s bioactive flavonoids demonstrated strong anti-inflammatory capacity in both animal and test-tube studies. A study in mice on a broccoli diet found reduced levels of inflammation in the colon, as well as favorable changes in gut bacteria, according to the NIH.
While low in calories, broccoli is rich in essential vitamins and minerals, in addition to fiber. Broccoli contains sulforophane, a sulfur-based compound present in many cruciferous vegetables. Researchers are studying the antioxidant and anti-cancer properties of sulforophane and have come to some interesting conclusions, but nothing definitive yet, so more studies are underway. This NIH study provides insight into the potential for broccoli micro-greens to provide a dense source of minerals and other nutrients. Quoting NIH:
Micro-green production could also diversify the average diet, as broccoli is only one of many nutrient-rich micro-greens that can be easily produced and consumed by individuals.
One human study showed broccoli significantly decreased insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes who consumed broccoli sprouts daily for one month, per an NIH review. Another NIH study revealed that mice fed broccoli sprouts revealed a potentially protective effect against cell death and oxidative stress in heart tissue following a cardiac arrest. It contains Vitamin K which is essential for the functioning of many proteins involved in blood clotting.
Vitamin C is present, which builds collagen, and forms body tissue and bone, and helps wounds heal. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and protects the body from damaging free radicals, which is huge. Broccoli contains a lot of fiber and foods high in fiber promote digestive health. A high fiber intake can also help lower cholesterol per an NIH study. It contains ample amount of potassium, a mineral and electrolyte that is essential for the function of nerves and heart contraction. And last but not least, folates, or folic acid, which is necessary for the production and maintenance of new cells in the body.
Brussels Sprouts. Like broccoli, Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous veggie, low in calories but high in many nutrients, especially fiber, vitamin K and vitamin C, and provides the same health benefits like broccoli. In addition to the nutrients above, Brussels sprouts contain small amounts of vitamin B6, potassium, iron, thiamine, magnesium and phosphorus.
Kale. Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, low in calories, high in antioxidants, containing beta-carotene, it is loaded with all sorts of beneficial compounds, some of which have powerful medicinal properties.
Kale contains very little fat, but a large portion of the fat in it is the form of an omega-3 fatty acid. Kale is high in minerals manganese, potassium, manganese, and copper. Kale is loaded with vitamins A, K, B6, beta-carotene and vitamin C, as well as various flavonoids and polyphenols per the NIH. The NIH found that flavonoids have powerful heart-protective, blood pressure-lowering, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-depressant and anti-cancer effects, to name a few. As broccoli it’s exhibits possible anti-cancer properties, as it contains sulforophane, and has all of the same benefits of broccoli, according to the NIH.
One study of Biological and Environmental Sciences found that drinking kale juice for 12 weeks increased HDL Cholesterol by 27 percent and lowered LDL levels by 10 percent while also improving antioxidant status. Laboratory studies have shown that glucosinolates in kale, which are the plants first line of defense, inhibit inflammatory processes, prevent the growth and spread of tumor cells, and protect healthy cells.
Field Peas and Butter Peas. First, peas are rich in polyphenol antioxidants, which are likely responsible for many of their health benefits according to the NIH. Most peas are fairly low in calories and contain all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants you need to be healthy by keeping your calorie intake low and the weight off said an NIH study.
They’re also high in fiber and protein and both control the rate at which carbs are absorbed, which promotes a slower, more stable rise in blood sugar levels, rather than a spike, found an NIH study. Field peas and butter peas are one of the best plant-based sources of protein, which is a major reason why they are so filling, along with their high amount of fiber for good digestion. They also increases the levels of certain hormones in your body that reduces appetite as well, per the NIH.
Turnip Greens. Turnip greens, or any dark green leafy vegetables, which has the same health benefits as kale, but our favorite choice because of taste, and you can eat the root, too. Dark leafy greens are an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, as in the form of beta carotene and lutein, vitamin C, folate, copper, manganese, dietary fiber, calcium, vitamin E and vitamin B6, per Self NutritionData. You could also choose mustard greens, or bok choy.
Eating a diet rich in leafy greens can offer numerous health benefits including reduced risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and mental decline, according to the NIH. Being a cruciferous vegetable turnip greens have shown to reduce the risk of chronic inflammation and different types of cancer, per another NIH study.
They are high in healthy antioxidants such myricetin and beta carotene which play a roll in reducing stress in the body. They are a very good source of potassium, magnesium, pantothenic acid, vitamin B2, iron and phosphorus. Turnip greens also contain glucosinolates, which are unique sulfur-containing nutrients that are well-known for their link to cancer prevention as well as their ability to support detox processes within our cells.
Red Cabbage. Despite its impressive nutrient content, cabbage is often overlooked. Cabbage is a distant cousin to broccoli coming from the same brassica family, and has basically the same nutrient-dense properties and health benefits of broccoli, and is particularly rich in vitamin B6 and folate, both of which are essential for many important processes in the body, including energy metabolism and the normal functioning of the nervous system.
It is also especially high in vitamin C, which protects against inflammation, heart disease, certain cancers, and loss of vision. Other animal studies have found that foods that contain these plant compounds may have cancer-protective properties, especially against lung and esophageal cancer, according to the NIH.
Another benefit of cabbage is that it can be fermented and turned into sauerkraut, which provides numerous health benefits, such as improving your digestion with probiotic health and supporting your immune system, per this NIH study on probiotics. Cabbage may even aid weight loss according to a Mayo Clinic study.
Heirloom Tomatoes. Tomatoes are the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. They are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin K. Tomatoes are a good source of fiber and 87 percent of the fibers in tomatoes are insoluble, in the form of hemicellulose, cellulose, and lignin, and found beneficial in aiding digestion per an ScienceDirect study.
Increasing evidence from clinical trials shows that lycopene supplementation is effective at lowering LDL cholesterol and tomatoes are the richest dietary sources of lycopene in the Western diet, providing over 80% of dietary lycopene in the United States. Low levels of lycopene and beta carotene are linked to increase risk of heart attacks and strokes according to an NIH review.
Clinical trials of tomato products have also shown benefit against inflammation and markers of oxidative stress per another NIH study. According to an NIH review, observational studies have found links between tomatoes and fewer incidences of prostate, lung, and stomach cancers. Let another NIH study offered that high concentrations of carotenoids found in tomatoes may protect against breast cancer.
Red Leaf Lettuce. This food is low in sodium, and very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It is also a great source of folates, thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, and a very good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin A (beta carotene), Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, iron, potassium and manganese.
Red leaf lettuce is especially rich in the antioxidant beta carotene, a carotenoid pigment that your body converts into vitamin A which is beneficial for development and function of many vital organs like heart, kidney, and lungs, and for skin and eye health and mucus membranes such as the lips.
Flavonoid antioxidants fight inflammation and are linked to improvements in heart disease risk factors, such as HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol, per an NIH study. Lettuce is also a good source of vitamin K, which stimulates osteotrophic activity in the bones and can help increase bone mass and is crucial for blood clotting, per the NIH.
People suffering from Alzheimer’s disease also benefit from vitamin K as it limits neurological damage in the brain, per this NIH study. Furthermore, re leaf lettuce contains vitamin C, which helps the body fight off infectious agents such as viruses. Red leaf lettuce high 95 percent water content acts like an amazing thirst quencher, promoting fullness and curbing hunger, helping to maintain a healthy weight, per an NIH study. Lettuce and other potassium-rich foods is good for regulating blood pressure according to the NIH.
Carrots. According to the NIH, carrots are high in antioxidants, beta carotene, and also rich in vitamins, such as A and K, minerals, and fiber, and we have all heard since we were a child, “Eat your carrots so you don’t go blind!” Well, there a lot of truth in eating carrots and your sight, according to tons of research! Carrots are considered low-glycemic foods is linked to numerous health benefits and considered particularly beneficial for people with diabetes.
Certain soluble fibers found in carrots can impair the absorption of cholesterol from your digestive tract, lowering blood cholesterol, per NIH. Another NIH study found that carrots has been linked to lower blood cholesterol levels. A variety of dietary carotenoids found in carrots have been shown to have anti-cancer effects, and immune functioning, due to their antioxidant power in reducing free radicals in the body. Consuming more beta carotene may reduce the risk of colon, prostate, and stomach cancer, and other studies, according to an NIH review, have found that carrot juice extract could kill leukemia cells or inhibit their progression.
Butternut and Spaghetti Squash. Winter squash such as butternut and spaghetti, has high levels of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, which converts to Vitamin A and is essential for regulating cell growth, eye health, bone health, and immune function, and also a good source of vitamin C which is a water-soluble nutrient needed for immune function, collagen synthesis, wound healing, and tissue repair, per the NIH. A review of 13 studies indicated that higher blood levels of beta-carotene found in butternut were related to a significantly lower risk of all-cause mortality, including death from cancer, said a NIH study.
Butternut is a healthy source of fiber, both soluble and insoluble and soluble fiber has been associated with fat loss and been shown to reduce appetite and overeating and weight gain. The NIH found that carotenoids found in these squash protect heart health by lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and controlling the expression of specific genes related to heart disease.
A 13-year study reviewed by the NIH in 2,983 people associated a carotenoid-rich dietary pattern with enhanced memory recall, visual attention, and verbal fluency during aging. Butternut contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, and polysaccharides, which help regulate or control blood sugar and lowering blood pressure. According to an NIH study, polysaccharides not only lowered blood sugar levels but also reduced total triglyceride level, and…
were effective in blocking cascade of inflammatory events in the treatment of T2DM (type 2 diabetes) to block overweight progresses to obesity.
Save the seeds that you scoop out of your winter squash! Seeds are a healthy and delicious snack food and can prepared the same way as pumpkin seeds. The oils in squash seeds are 75 percent linoleic acid and oleic acid, naturally polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and according to the NIH, healthful plant and seafood sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats have important health benefits in the context of a healthy dietary pattern.
The Missing Fall Vegetable
Unfortunately, the one and only best nutrient-dense organic, non-GMO, whole-food vegetable plant that we can not recommend in our list of What To Plant In Fall Garden, and you will not be able to grow in your fall garden, at least in the US and any where else in the world except in Peru, is the Adaptogen, Peruvian Maca. P Maca is a cruciferous root plant similar to a turnip (turnip greens), and most likely a distant relative, but with far-greater health benefits and healing properties, than any of the cruciferous veggies you will be planting in your garden. Don’t misunderstand, all the vegetables recommended are great for health and should be planted and eaten, it’s just that P Maca is by far the best!
Not only can you not get the young seedling transplants to plant directly in your garden, you can’t get the seeds either. The Peruvian Government does not allow the export of any fresh form of Peruvian Maca either in the whole fresh root or seeds, because it’s considered a heritage plant.
However, outside of Peru, we are able to get fresh processed forms of P Maca in powders, gelatinized, and in chunks. If you are interested in learning more about this incredible healing plant and why you should be supplementing with it and purchase it, read these articles “What Is In Maca Root?” which covers all of Maca’s incredible nutrients and benefits with documentation and Maca Powder Health Benefits, which covers Maca’s long colorful history and other facts. Then, you’ll also want to read Benefits In Maca that covers the many wide-ranging health benefits with documented studies.
Source For Nutrient-Dense Fall Veggies
If for some reason, you decide not to plant a fall garden, or not take up gardening at all, you will still want to find a good reliable source for fresh nutrient-dense organic non-GMO winter vegetables and in the spring and summer, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Use these links for more information, documented studies, and to purchase fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds (A): fresh organic fruits, vegetables, raw nuts, and seeds.
Incredible Sources For Nutrient-Dense Meats and Fish
We assume you don’t raise your own farm animals either, so you will need a reliable source for those as well. Use the links below for more information, documented studies, and to purchase a wide-range of nutrient-dense meats, fish, whole grains, fermented foods, herbs and spices, and antioxidant drinks. The U.S. Government 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommends that people should aim to meet their nutrient requirements through a healthy eating pattern that includes nutrient-dense forms of foods.
Nutrient-dense foods are low in calories but are also high in other micronutrients. Here are the nutrient-dense foods we recommend for a lifetime of wellness: grass-fed finished lean meats, fresh, organic, free-range finished poultry, grass-fed finished dairy and eggs (A); fresh cold-water or wild-caught fish and seafood (A); and organic whole grains and complex carbohydrates, natural fermented foods, monounsaturated oils like extra virgin olive oil, fresh organic herbs and spices, and antioxidant drinks, infused water, naturally fermented red wine and beer, and fruit and veggie smoothies (A). And, reward yourself with a piece of dark chocolate. Now, we didn’t say milk chocolate.
One final thought on nature’s bounty, and it was best said by Mahatma Gandhi….
Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed
Are you going to follow our recommendations on What To Plant In Fall Garden when the time comes? Or, do you still have question? If so, please leave your questions or comments below.
(1) CaliKim29 Garden & Home DIY Video
(2) Learn To Grow Video
(3) Learn Organic Gardening At Growing Your Greens Video
For you ladies, before you leave, request your FREE 7-night trial sample of JULVA! And, you men, go ahead and request a free sample for your better-half.
(A) Use these links for additional information, more documented studies, and to purchase any of these nutrient-dense foods for the benefit of your overall optimum health and well being.