What’s Growing in the Vegetable Garden


As the garden blogger for Birds & Blooms, I enjoy sharing with you interesting gardening topics and things to try in your own garden.

Today, I thought that I would share with you what is going on in my vegetable garden this fall.

artichoke Swiss chard

A young artichoke, carrot seedlings, Swiss chard, garlic and radishes growing in a corner of the vegetable garden.       

As a horticulturist, I must confess that I didn’t always have a vegetable garden.  I used to be solely focused on ornamental plants such as perennials, shrubs and trees.  But, that was before I decided to take out a few flowering shrubs from my backyard and transform it into a vegetable garden.

Needless to say, I was hooked and now have transformed 3 areas of my backyard into vegetable gardens.

cool-season vegetable garden

Strawberries intermingle with leaf lettuce, carrots and garlic.

I live in the desert Southwest where cool-season vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, leafy greens and radishes are planted in late summer.  Other then the differences in planting times, vegetable gardening is much the same wherever you live.  There are great resources available to help you determine when to plant vegetables in your area.  Here is a planting schedule that will show you the best time to plant vegetables in your zone.


Right now, we have not experienced our first frost of the season yet, so there are still some warm-season vegetables still producing like my green bell pepper plants.

Malabar spinach

Another hold-over from the summer garden is Malabar spinach.  Many people have never heard of this leafy green before, but it is a real star of the summer garden when leaf lettuce and other leafy greens won’t grow in the heat.  Malabar spinach (which isn’t a spinach at all) enjoys the warm and even hot temperatures of summer.  While it doesn’t taste like spinach, it does have a nice citrusy, peppery flavor when cooked.  Use it when you cook stir-fry, in soups or try it in a salad.  It grows easily from seed once the danger of frost is over and does best when given something to climb up on.

cool-season vegetable garden azplantlady

I am a big believer that vegetable gardens not only provide delicious food for your table, BUT can add beauty to your garden as well.  To that end, I like to include flowering annuals among my vegetables like these violas growing in an old watering can.

sugar snap pea flower

Many vegetables have attractive flowers, like the delicate white ones on my sugar snap peas that I have growing in a pot.

Sugar Snap Peas

As the flowers fade, delicious vegetables grow in their place.

Herb container

At the entry to one of my vegetable gardens, stands a large container filled with some favorite herbs.  I added some petunias (planted in warm-climate gardens during the winter months) for added color and beauty in my herb container.  In my zone 9a garden, chives, parsley, sage and thyme will stay green all winter long.  In many colder climates, these herbs can be grown outdoors all year long, but may go dormant during the winter.  Chives are hardy down to zone 3, sage down to zone 4 and parsley & thyme can handle winters as cold as zone 5.


Cauliflower is a huge favorite in our family and are surprisingly easy to grow.  While I like to grow vegetables from seed whenever possible, you generally have better success when growing cauliflower using transplants.


My youngest daughter has celery growing in her vegetable garden plot.  We have never grown celery before, so I don’t have any advice about how to grow it, but would love to hear any special tips you may have :-)

broccoli and nasturtiums

Broccoli takes up a big area of the garden because everyone in our family likes it – including my 11-year olds.  The plant growing next to the broccoli are nasturtiums.  Many gardeners (myself included) believe that nasturtiums act as a ‘companion plant’, which help to repel bad bugs away from vegetables.  An added bonus is that the flowers of nasturtiums are beautiful.  I allow my nasturtiums to self-seed and they come up again every year.

Jalapeño Pepper plant

As winter approaches and with it, our first frost, my heat-loving jalapeño pepper plant will be pulled out.  Thankfully, it has been very productive and I have freezer bags filled with diced jalapeño peppers available for the winter months.

ripening orange

As the weather begins to cool and warm-season vegetables fade while the cool-season vegetables grow larger – there is another edible plant in my garden that is just beginning to come into its own.  My orange tree will soon be filled with sweet, delicious oranges for us to enjoy all winter long :-)

**I hope you have enjoyed touring my vegetable gardens and that maybe you have picked up a tip or two to try in your own garden, whether you are able to grow vegetables now or wait until spring.  It is never to early to start planning what you will plant!

I would love to hear about what vegetables you like to grow…

  1. Penelope says

    Hi Noelle, Beautiful pictures of your garden. What lovely veggies. I’m sad that we didn’t get to start a fall garden this year — just moved into a house, getting settled, etc, but we plan on getting beds ready for the spring. Love to grow anything and everything, but the ol’ stand-by of tomatoes can’t be beat — something about the smell of the tomato vine that brings me right back to early childhood. Happy gardening! Thank you for your fantastic posts!

  2. says

    I really enjoyed your article and loved the pictures. I was particularly intrigued by the malabar spinach. I recently discovered climbing spinach at a local garden centre and it has thick leaves like the malabar spinach but it has a green stem. It’s great for our hot summer when normal spinach just bolts to seed. You’ve given me some good ideas to try out and I must get some nasturtiums to plant in my vegetable beds too. Did you know that the flowers are edible and are great for adding interest to a salad?


  1. […] What's Growing in the Vegetable Garden – Birds and Blooms http://birdsandbloomsblog.com/But, that was before I decided to take out a few flowering shrubs from my backyard and transform it into a vegetable garden. Needless to say, I was hooked and now have … Herb container. At the entry to one of my vegetable gardens, stands a large container filled with some favorite herbs. I added some petunias (planted in warm-climate gardens during the winter months) for added color and beauty in my herb container. In my zone 9a garden, chives, parsley, sage … […]

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