Planting Fall Greens---what's your excuse?
Kevin Milaeger

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While its normal to start shutting down the garden at this time, there is some planting yet to be done. As some plants have finished bearing and look forlorn, I like to remove them from the garden. Their presence is depressing. I don’t need that. But their removal leaves a void. And what better way to resolve that than to put in some fresh new greens?

At Milaeger’s we have been offering our “Greens to Grow” program in both spring and fall for a number of years now. In the spring, it’s a way for gardeners to get a jump on the season, because all the plants we offer are cold hardy. Plant them as early as April 1. In the fall, the crop is available around September 1, and we’ve selected varieties that will withstand the light frosts that usually start around the end of October. Though the fall plants have been ready for several weeks now, I have plenty of poor excuses for not having planted mine. Finally, last week I got it done. It wasn’t a big effort. Once the ground was prepared it took only a half hour or so to plant eight plants each of three kinds of lettuce, and eight each of spinach and Swiss chard.

They perked up by the following morning and I predict the first harvest in 10-14 days. Unfortunately, some varmint already harvested one of the spinach plants. That happened right after planting and nothing has been bothered since. Fingers crossed. My method of harvesting can begin early because I harvest only the outer leaves, and then wait for more to mature. They grow quickly. Alternatively, you could wait until the plant attains full size and then harvest the entire thing, but I like my method because it extends the harvesting season.

Right alongside my newly planted greens are some robust Swiss chard that I planted around April first. They look great. I like them because they are one of the few greens that thrive in summer’s heat, long after most lettuces have flagged. They are colorful too. Many gardeners use them as an ornamental plant. My plants are planted in rows, but that’s just because the garden was empty. You can spot any of these plants around the garden among any other plants, including ornamental ones. Then it would be a true “kitchen garden.” In England, especially before the industrial revolution, many people worked out of their homes, in various “cottage industries.” Of course, they had all meals at home, and they all had gardens, usually right outside the kitchen. The garden was filled with edible plants and herbs, but over the years a few flowers crept in. Right outside the kitchen, it was easy for the cook to grab a handful of something. Because no space was wasted, if a plant died or was finished bearing, something else was put in, so the garden ended up with a somewhat haphazard arrangement. But it made sense to the gardener. I like to keep some edibles planted right outside the door, too. Chives, basil, and parsley for sure, and of course the tomatoes are nice and close. Probably the closer the garden is, the more likely you will use it.


Click on the links below to view the 2019 Tomatomania results


By Category



September 2019 - Planting Fall Greens---what's your excuse?
September 2019 - 2019 Tomatomania Review
August 2019 - The Hypochondriacal Garden
July 2019 - Tomatoes 2019---A New Record!
June 2019 - Tomatoes---Early Summer Progress Report
June 2019 - Dwarf Tomatoes---The Next Big Thing
May 2019 - The Urge to Plant is Getting Stronger
April 2019 - Eat Food. Not too Much. Mostly Greens
April 2019 - Jefferson's Tomatoes & Tomato Nutrition
March 2019 - The Year of the Potato
March 2019 - Tomatoes---America's Favorite Vegetable
February 2019 - The Greens are Coming
January 2019 - Long, Chilly Nights Make Me Think of Tomatoes


June 2018 - Learn the Rules Before You Break Them
May 2018 - To Plant or Not to Plant
March 2018 - Brrr...Can You Plant this Early?
February 2018 - February's Climatological Shift


October 2017 - Remember: Every Tomato Variety is Someone's Favorite
August 2017 - A Tomato Miracle
July 2017 - Our Big Garden & Some Unpleasant News
June 2017 - Mid-June Tomato Report
June 2017 - Tomatoes----The Acid Test
April 2017 - It's Time to Plant Onions
April 2017 - Raspberries: It's time for annual pruning
March 2017 - Warning! Internet Garden Danger!
March 2017 - Tomato Talk---Shorter Varieties are Trending
March 2017 - It's Only the Start of March, but...
February 2017 - Tasty Greens and Winter Tomatoes
February 2017 - Green is Right Around the Corner


October 2016 - Autumn Greens, Eggplant and more
September 2016 - The Tomato Polls are Closed, the Winner is...
September 2016 - Pity the Hornworm? Maybe not.
August 2016 - It's true!---Sometimes tomato beauty is only skin deep!
July 2016 - Summer Heat Means Fast Ripening
July 2016 - July Tomato Update---a few concerns
June 2016 - The Great Bell Pepper Challenge!
June 2016 - Super Start for 2016 Vegetables!
May 2016 - Tomato Planting Date Inches Closer!
May 2016 - Vintage Veggies Now & Disease Resistant Tomatoes!
April 2016 - A Few New Plants & Garden Updates!
April 2016 - Go Outside---It's Time for Planting!
March 2016 - Yep! ----It's Time to Plant Greens! 
March 2016 - The Quest for the Perfect Tomato
March 2016 - Think Green! It's almost time to plant
February 2016 - Pepper Pointers: it's all about patience
February 2016 - I See Greens on the Horizon
January 2016 - Tomato Disease --- What can you do?
January 2016 - Tomatoes on my Mind!


November 2015 - My Late Harvest (The tomato picking continues...No Kidding!)
October 2015 - Its Mid-October---the End is Near!
September 2015 - 2015---Not the Year of the Pepper!
September 2015 - Top Varieties at Tomatomania 2015!
September 2015 - Get the most from September tomatoes!
August 2015 - Tomatomania 2015---Coming Soon!
August 2015 - Oh No!!!......Freaky Tomatoes
July 2015 - A Marvelous Community Garden
July 2015 - Finally----the first ripe tomato
July 2015 - Is it Possible to overdose on peas?
July 2015 - The Garden in July --- I'm still planting!
June 2015 - And Just When Things Were Looking So Good...
June 2015 - Tomatoes, Cukes, and a Whimsical Onion
June 2015 - Trials and Tribulations in the Veggie Garden!
May 2015 - Trouble in Tomatoland!
May 2015 - Tomatoes are Claustrophobic
May 2015 - A Little Chilly, but it's Rhubarb Time!
May 2015 - Joan's Rhubarb Torte Recipe
April 2015 - "Ketchup and Fries" plant video
April 2015 - Early May in the Vegetable Garden
April 2015 - What Vegetables Can I Plant Now?
April 2015 - Making Salad Interesting
March 2015 - Ready... set... GROW!
March 2015 - Unusual Potatoes --- Not Just for Tots Anymore!
February 2015 - Next Month is Spring!
February 2015 - Greens to Grow 2015





September 2014 - Tomatomania Review 2014!
September 2014 - Tomatomania Results by Category or Cummulative
August 2014 - Kale! Kale! The Greens are Here! Click here for Recipe
August 2014 - The August Harvest Begins
July 2014 - Greens to Grow for Fall!!!  Click here for Spreadsheet
July 2014 - My Tomatoes are Blushing
June 2014 - Some Tomato Concerns
May 2014 - Garden Update --- the Cold Weather Experiment
May 2014 - Is it Time to Plant Tomatoes?
May 2014 - Vintage Veggies #4 and Vintage Veggies List 2014
April 2014 - A Chilly Spring... What Can I Plant Now?
March 2014 - Start Growing Your Own Food Right Now
February 2014 - Greens to Grow   Click here for Spreadsheet


October 2013 - Keep Calm and Garden On!
October 2013 - Autumn Vegetables
September 2013 - Tomato Popularity Poll Results Blog
September 2013 - Tomatomania Category and Cumulative Results
September 2013 - Tomatomania 2013 BlogVideo and T-Shirt
August 2013 - Greens to Grow and Spreadsheet
July 2013 - Spaghetti Squash
July 2013 - New Tomato and Zucchini Recipe Blog
July 2013 - Tomato and Zucchini Recipe
June 2013 - Cold Spring - What it Means for Vegetables
May 2013 - Tomatoes in Containers
May 2013 - Vintage Veggies 2013
April 2013 - My Tomato Garden Preview 2013
April 2013 - Don't Forget Rosemary!
April 2013 - It's Planting Time
March 2013 - Onions
March 2013 - Vintage Veggies
March 2013 - Greens to Grow Update
February 2013 - Hot Peppers
February 2013 - Grafted Tomatoes
February 2013 - Greens to Grow


September 2012 - Tomatomania Results
July 2012 - Compass Plant
July 2012 -July 2012 - Heat Wave
June 2012 - Okra
June 2012 - Potato Onion
May 2012 - Gas Plant
May 2012 - My Tomato Garden
May 2012 - Vintage Veggie Fest
March 2012 - Growing Raspberries in SE Wisconsin
March 2012 - Winter Tomato Project
February 2012 - Success with Sweet Peppers
February 2012 - Vegetable Cukes Miniature 
January 2012 - Tomatoes New Varieties


September 2011 -Tomatomania Review  
August 2011 - Tomatomania Preview
August 2011 - Racine Vegetable Garden Tour
July 2011 - Vegetables in my Garden
July 2011 - Vegetables - Squash and Tomatoes
June 2011 - Vegetables - Diseases made Simple
June 2011 - Vegetables - Container Growing
May 2011 - Vegetables - Squash and Tomatoes
April 2011 - Vintage Veggie Fest Event Preview
March 2011 - Vintage Veggie Fest Announcement


September 2010 - Tomatomania Review  
August 2010 - Flowers Late Summer Color 
July 2010 Vegetables Cukes and Tomatoes 
June 2010 Tomatoes New Varieties


September 2009 - Tomatoes End of Season Review  
September 2009 - Tomatomania Review
July 2009 - Tomatoes General and Fruit Set Problems
June 2009  - Tomatoes Fertilization
June 2009  - Tomatoes Personal Experience 
May 2009 - Tomatoes General
May 2009 - Tomatoes Diseases
May 2009 - Tomatoes Selecting and Growing
April 2009 - Tomatoes General