Here we are in October already!! Summers in Michigan sure seem to whiz by quickly. But I take heart that there are still several more warm days ahead. By warm, of course, I mean above 50 degrees. Even with climate change we’re not gonna see 70s or above any time soon. All my friends know I love to garden, and at work I’ve been asked more than once: “So Ken, your garden pretty much done now?” “No,” I reply, “there’s still lots of food in there.”
I go on to explain that although the tomatoes are pretty much done, there are still lots of greens to be had. I rattle off names like Swiss chard and wild cabbage and I get some puzzled looks. Many have heard of Swiss chard, although not very many folks eat it from what I can see. And when I try to explain that wild cabbage is an ancestor to broccoli, collards, and other members of the cabbage family, I often get that “deer in the headlights” look. Swiss chard and wild cabbage both thrive in cool weather; and will actively grow right up till Jack Frost starts blowing his wintry breath on the ground.
Turnips are another of my favorite cool weather crops. They do really well when planted from seed in late July. I often dice up the large roots and throw them into a stir-fry. After cooking they are often mistaken for diced potatoes by unsuspecting guests. The greens, normally strongly flavored (almost bitter) in summer, are mellowed out nicely by the cool temperatures. I also use those in stir fry dishes, as well as soups.
So yes, the garden is still going even in autumn.