Fall is an excellent time for gardening in Kansas. This season is often overlooked in garden planning. Vegetables maturing in the cool, crisp days of fall are often better flavored than those maturing in the hot, dry days of late spring and summer -- and they can be quite colorful!

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Colorful Fall Veggies

There are a lot of unique vegetables for the fall that have some fun colors, and that might spice up your vegetable garden. This brightly colored leafy green is swiss chard. It’s a variety called Bright Lights. If you look at the stems you can really see why it gets that name. It has some brilliant leaf and stem colors. Swiss chard is great to use when it’s young in a salad, or to chop up and sauté, or add to soup and stews.

The next vegetables we have are some purple carrots. Purple carrots are great for growing in Kansas in the fall. These are still pretty young, but you can eat them at any size. They’re nice and sweet. This particular variety tends to have a beautiful purple, magenta color on the outside, and if you cut into it, then it has a creamy, white core. Even the little ones can really get into vegetables when they’re fun colors.

This next vegetable is a radish. Look at how big it is next to my hand – it’s called a Watermelon radish and it’s a fall radish, like a Daikon. So, it can be eaten fresh, raw, or you can chop it up and sauté it. It’s a Chinese vegetable. And the fun thing about this radish is that the exterior peel is spicy, like you expect from a radish, but the center pink part is nice and sweet.

This is a bok choy, and in this case it’s a purple bok choy. It’s also sometimes called red choy. It’s still pretty small, but oftentimes fall vegetables are the sweetest when they’re still small. It has a beautiful purple color that increases as the weather gets colder. And, you can use it fresh in a salad, or you can chop it up, sauté it, or stir-fry it as well.

A lot of these seeds can be found from local nurseries or garden centers, but for some of the more specialty varieties you may have to go online and find a catalog that sells specialty or heirloom seeds.

This feature story prepared with Rebecca McMahon, Kansas State University Research and Extension Horticulture Agent, Sedgwick County. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.org.

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