The local grocery store and farmers’ market may have plenty of produce, but growing veggies in your own backyard has many benefits, including increased nutritional value and reduced prices. Of course, many of you already grow tomatoes, zucchini, beans, and more — which all come up in the summer — but what about those veggies that aren’t ready for harvest until later in the year? The Hudson Valley Seed Library, an Accord-based business devoted to developing a high-quality heirloom seed production network in our region, has over 20 varieties of locally grown seeds that can be sold in art or garden packs. Below are some of our favorite fall veggies offered by the seed library. Most of these are high in fiber and vitamins A, C, and K, promoting overall health while also fighting cancer. And while it is too late to plant them for this season, you can get a head start on planning for next year — or go sample them at a local farmers’ market. Visit www.seedlibrary.org for more information.
This leafy green (above left) is best cultivated in late fall and winter, which is why it is often used in soups, stews, and — of course — that old favorite, sauerkraut. This variety is known to be tender and crisp. Cabbage also acts as an extremely effective digestive aid. Plant seeds in May.
Take a cue from our native ancestors and try a staple of their diet – the butternut squash. This cream-colored, sweet-and-nutty winter squash is best in October and November, but can be stored throughout the winter. It’s easy to grow well, even when neglected.
Plant from mid-May to late June.
The peak of these brussels sprouts’ growing season is fall, specifically November. One of the top providers of vitamins C and K, the small green veggies also contain a significant amount of protein. Of course, they’re a great side dish at Thanksgiving dinner! Start seedlings no earlier than May.
This green leafy plant belongs to the same family as cabbage. It can be harvested well into fall, since it becomes sweeter and more developed with each frost. With its mild earthy flavor, it is a good source of iron and calcium and has seven times the amount of beta-carotene found in broccoli. (Beta-carotene enhances your immune system and promotes good eye health, among other things.) Plant approximately six weeks before the first expected frost.