A fall vegetable garden can be very rewarding. Turnips, spinach, kale, brussel sprouts, collards, cabbage, beets, carrots, lettuce and radishes are some of the crops that can be harvested until the start of winter - a few even beyond that. The cool autumn weather actually improves the flavor of some of them.
Turnip greens, spinach, lettuce and radishes can be planted now. In most areas outside the Deep South, it is too late to plant the others, but those already growing in the garden can be enjoyed as long as they last.
Winter Bloomsdale spinach is so hardy it will live through the winter (from a late August sowing) and be ready to supply fresh, tasty greens next spring. This variety survives even in areas of severe cold without any protection.
Green Ice lettuce is especially crips and tasty in salads, Cherry Belle radish adds zip and color, and Bloomsdale spinach gives variety and texture.
Spinach is rapidly surging to the forefront as a delicious ingredient for salads. The leaves need only a cleasing shower, then a draining on paper towels and a thorough chilling before dinner and the tossing with dressing.
Kale and brussels sprouts really take cold weather. These two vegetables usually taste much better after having been frost-bitten, and can be picked from right under ice and snow in the winter.
Such sprouts need to be cooked within a few hours after picking or else stored temporarily in a freezer.
Being partially frozen in the garden, they tend to get soft and spoil if kept long above freezing.
Several kinds of vegetables can be stored for one to four months if it is done properly.
A good method with tomatoes is to pull up the vines just before the first frost and hang them upside down in the basement, in a dry place with good air circulation. The fruit seems to taste better when it ripens on the vine even though the vine is no longer in the ground.
Pull onions when the tops fall over and begin to dry. When tops are completely dry, cut the onions off one inch from the bulbs. Keep the bulbs in a dry well-ventilated place for a week or two before storing in a dry place where the temperature can be kept near 32 degrees. Cucumbers, eggplant and pepper can be kept for several days in a cool, moderately moist place.
White potatoes should be stored in a dark place. Light causes the skins to turn green and spoils the flavor.
Sweet potatoes should be kept at 80 to 90 degrees for 10 to 20 days to cure, and then stored at about 50 degrees with moderate humidity.
Carrots, beets, salsify, turnips and celery need to be kept cool (32 to 40 degrees) and moist (90 to 95 per cent humidity). This may be difficult in the average home.
Store only sound vegetables with good quality. Those that have been cut, bruised or otherwise damaged should be used immediately.
In most cases, and especially for root vegetables which withstand light frost, delay harvesting as long as possible. Harvest and handle with care to avoid cuts and bruises.
Remove soil from beets, carrots, celeriac, parsnips potatoes, rutabagas, salsify, turnips and winter radishes by careful washington. To help prevent rotting, allow excess water to evaporate before storing.