Ever notice that mostly-green badge on my sidebar, just below the picture of my exasperating strawberry thief--er, Garden Assistant? It's a link to The Growing Challenge, which is a cool thing started over on a blog called Elements in Time - Creating Edible Landscape. The challenge is to grow one new fruit or vegetable that you haven't grown before, starting from seed.
Isn't this a cool idea? I'm pretty sure that I discovered The Growing Challenge thanks to Gina from My Skinny Garden, but I see Dig This Chick, Susan Harris, and a bunch of other garden bloggers I "know" on the roster, too. Alas, so far I am earning an "incomplete" as my grade in this challenge: While I'm growing plenty of new things in my veggie garden this year, NONE of them are from seed.
Take this kohlrabi, for example. I picked up a 3-pack of these at a local garden center to round out a flat of veggies that I bought in desperation when I realized that it was Memorial Day weekend and I had not started ANY seeds for my garden yet:
I have no idea how I'm going to eat these kohlrabi or even when to harvest them, but they're growing pretty well... and having them in my garden reminds me of my grandfather, who used to grow them every year. (He would eat them sliced and salted, like raw potato, per my grandmother.) So they're a fun addition to my garden, but they definitely do not count toward The Growing Challenge.
Neither do the 'Red Lake' currants, 'Bush Pickle' cucumbers, multiple hot and medium-hot peppers, Florence fennel, red cabbage, or any of my other new edibles, because they were all transplanted instead of seed-started. And the stuff I have started from seed (beets, beans, and so forth) are things I do every year. So they don't count, either.
I'm not throwing in the towel just yet, though. I know that a lot of things can be sown throughout the summer for a fall harvest, so I'll be working on that in the next few weeks. And in fact, I just found "okra" on two of the many fall vegetable planting lists you can access online, so maybe I can even plant seeds from that packet of 'Red Burgundy' okra that I picked up this spring after all...
Does anyone else do a fall vegetable garden? Hints, tips, tricks, and advice like, "don't try that variety of Veg X for fall planting, try this variety instead," are all more than welcome in the comments here. This is going to be a first for me, and I REALLY want it to be a success, so I'll need all of the help I can get!