What’s more fun than fall vegetable gardening? Growing unusual fall vegetables! Sometimes it’s a veggie you’ve actually never even heard of, and other times it’s simply a unique variety of an old favorite — but adding a funky new food to your fall gardening repertoire is always a fun way to infuse some excitement into your normal routine. Here are some deliciously new garden eats to grow in your fall garden!
Try These 5 Unique Fall Garden Eats
Celeriac: Let’s start with one you may have never heard of! Celeriac is a root veggie in the celery family, with the same taste as celery, but grown for its root and not its stalks. While not the most attractive of the root veggies, the root is bulb-shaped and about the same size as a grapefruit. Use it in soups and stews, grate it into salads, or pureé it into a silky smooth texture — but first, you’ll need to peel off its outer knobby and rooty skin.
- How to grow: Celeriac needs cool weather to grow, so cooler growing zones should plant it in the spring while warmer zones should plant in late summer for a fall harvest. It requires up to 120 days to reach harvest, so plan accordingly for your area. Give it full sun and rich, well-drained soil that retains some moisture. Keep the top few inches of soil moist at all times.
Romanesco Broccoli: Can you grow cauliflower? Then you can grow romenesco broccoli. In fact, this broccoli actually tastes more like cauliflower than it does broccoli, and for those of you who are science nerds, you’ll find its fractal form enthralling. It also has a vivid chartreuse color, making it pop in every recipe. Saute it, roast it, pickle it — just don’t overcook it or it will lose its fascinating shape.
- How to grow: Grow it in full sun with well-drained soil, spacing the plants out 2 feet apart. Give it regular water and stay on top of competing weeds — the growing requirements are very similar to those of cauliflower. Warmer, more mild climates can plant in late July or early August for a fall harvest.
Kaleidoscope Carrots: Kaleidoscope is actually a mix of differently colored carrot seeds with hues ranging from red and orange to white, yellow, and purple. The carrots grow to 8” long by 2” wide and make an eye-catching addition to the harvest table.
- How to grow: All carrots love deep, well-drained soil with full sun — if you garden in rocky or thin soil, be prepared to build some raised beds. Sow seeds directly in the soil, as carrots dislike being moved once they germinate. Add compost regularly to the soil and give the growing carrots deep, regular watering. Colder climates should harvest carrots before the ground freezes, while warmer growing zones can harvest throughout the winter.
Bogatyr Garlic: How about garlic with all of the rich flavor you love and a flash of spicy heat? Try Bogatyr garlic, a hard-neck garlic in the Marble Purple Stripe family. The bulbs have 6-8 fat, dark purple-brown cloves that store well once harvested.
- How to grow: Plant in rich, well-drained soil in full sun in the fall for harvest the following season (October – November in the northern climates, November – January in southern climates). Plant each clove with the basal root end down and the pointed end up, 2” deep in the soil and 6” apart. Remove the flower stalks or “scapes” so that the plant then puts its energy into the bulb — this is an early June chore for northern gardeners, and a March/April chore for southern gardeners.
Black Radishes: Love radishes? Then you’ll adore the black radish with its dark, spicy root. The taste is similar but more intense, and the color is all drama. While the flesh is white, the outer peel is black — and if it’s just a bit too spicy for you, simply remove the black peel before eating.
- How to grow: Grow black radishes just as you would its rosy-colored sibling — although they take about 2-3x longer to mature (about 55 days), so be sure to plan accordingly. Plant in mid to late summer in well-drained loamy soil with full sun and consistent moisture.
A Few Fall Gardening Tips
When it comes to fall gardening, you need to pay particular attention to your growing zone. Colder climates are done with fall gardening in early fall, while southern/warmer climates continue to plant and harvest all through their mild winters. Be sure you know your USDA Hardiness Zone, and refer to planting times that are recommended for your area.
Climates with early frost dates will plant their fall garden plants in late July – August as nighttime temperatures begin to fall. Get your veggies in the ground on time, and choose those varieties that have a shorter number of days to maturity.
Warm climate gardeners can plant in late summer and all through the fall, and just like their cold climate colleagues, you’ll need to refer to planting times that are best for your area. Plant too early and the heat will keep your veggies from growing properly.