In the Fall Garden

September 29,2009
Sweet Pea Chef
Jessica Efird( )

Jessica, aka the Sweet Pea Chef, is a former U.S. Senate staffer/weekend gourmet turned full-time mom/family gourmet. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two sons.

I love the autumn, I really do. In the hot summer months, I crave to have the windows open without oppressive heat and humidity sneaking into our house. When the weather cools and we can open our windows again, I am a happy camper. (Side note: despite autumn arriving last week, our weather is just now starting to turn fall-like. I just don’t like having the A/C running when the calendar says late September.) I also love the smells and sights of autumn, but with all this simple joy of the season comes the waning sunlight of shorter days and the end of the growing season. While I am not lucky enough to live in a warm locale like my good friends Jenn and Lee who call Houston and Charleston home, I did do something different this year and stock up early on some fall crop seeds to plant in our garden. Last year I went out seeking fall plants like brussel sprouts, collard greens and peas in late August and found nothing in stock. As a relative gardening novice, I didn’t know that you just can’t find anything but scraggly left-over plants from the spring when you go plant hunting in late summer. So, as I said, this year I went out in mid-summer and bought the seeds to plant a few fall crops, in the eager hope that I could continue harvesting food straight from our own garden into late fall. The boys helped me plant some seeds about 5 weeks ago and so far our results have been mixed. What started out as a vibrant crop of pea shoots has been reduced to: Apparently by Peter Rabbit and Associates, our peas dwindled from day to day, despite my advanced anti-bunny technique of yelling, “Newman!” each time I saw one less pea plant. Now I am left pea plant-less and trying to explain the comic genius of Seinfeld to my two sons. But our collard greens are growing and well established: I have to say, I wish the bunnies preferred collards to peas, but I am pretty excited about harvesting the greens later this fall too. Look for SPH’s trick to amazing collards and a recipe later this fall… SPC