Fall Harvest Tips & Recipes

6 November 2017No Comment

As we inch closer and closer to the great day of feasting and family that we all know as Thanksgiving, we, as first-time gardeners may be looking to our gardens and wondering one simple thing, is it ready yet? Cold crops can be notoriously tricky when it comes to maturity. Much of what we planted in early September is already looking delicious, and it would be nice to incorporate some of our harvest into our holiday meals! Here are some simple crop guidelines –and unique recipes- to help you make the most of your bounty.
Green leaf lettuce
Leaf Lettuce (bibb/buttercrunch, romaine, flame, etc)- Picking in a timely manner can ensure a continual, lengthy harvest. Remove leaves sparingly at first, never too much from one plant. Try to rotate your harvest across several plants, and always feel free to throw in new seeds or plant starts where open spaces present. Smaller leaves tend to be tender and mild in flavor while larger leaves can become fibrous with a stronger taste.
Try it! 
Grilled Romaine Lettuce Salad with Polenta Croutons:
We may be a little sick of salad after our last Texan summer, so why not try and grill your greens for a crisp, warm take on a classic.
See the base recipe here.
Kale (all varieties)- In some cases, frost can be a gardener’s –or foodie’s- best friend. As a true cold-crop, kale is one of those special crops whose flavor actually improves after the first frost. We recommend waiting, but if you just have to have it now, wait until the leaves reach the size of your forearm (roughly 1 foot in length).
Try it!
Sautéed Kale with Apple Cider Vinegar and Bacon:
Few meals suit cold weather quite like comforting soul foods. Use kale as a collard green substitute in this smoky, nutrient dense side dish.
See the base recipe here.
swiss chard
Swiss Chard (Pot of Gold, Bright Lights, etc.)- This color-burst of a green lends its leaves to all taste buds. It can be harvested continuously from small leaves to large. Just a warning, the larger the leaf, the more bitter the flavor!
Try it!
Chard & Ricotta Lasagna:
These savory layers of goodness make for a wonderful winter meal.
See the base recipe here.
Chinese cabbage 3
Asian Greens (napa cabbage, pok choi, bok choi)- these crops tend to be a little easier to tell readiness. Wait for the stalk to form a full head, and prepare to harvest the entirety of the plant after the first frost. They, like kale, taste better after a cold snap!
chinese cabbage
Try it!
Stuffed Chinese Cabbage:
While this proves to be incredibly easy to make, it has layered Asian-inspired flavors that make the most of Chinese cabbage’s mild crisp flavors.
See the base recipe here.

While we only touched on greens here, there may be many more questions that arise when it comes to knowing when to pick your produce. Here is a great resource that often helps us determine when our plants are dinner-worthy. Do not forget, gardening is all about experimentation- so never be afraid to try your veggies during all their unique stages of growth. Who knows, maybe you will come across an interesting flavor or fabulous recipe! Email us if you have any cold-crop questions, or if you need any help harvesting!

Happy Gardening!