With the passing of Lammas, the summer harvest is waning. Now is the time to begin planning and planting our fall gardens. Even though temperatures will soon begin to drop, it doesn’t mean that we can’t grow fresh produce. We just need to be intentional and choose plants that thrive in cooler weather. Here are my five must have plants for a Mabon garden.
I grew up in the 1980s and 1990s. I vividly remember when the President declared that he did not like broccoli; therefore, he no longer planned to eat it. It seemed like a good idea to me at the time. (In my defense, I was 9 years old.)
Now, I realize the nutritional value of broccoli. One serving only contains 31 calories. It is also a good source of Vitamins C and K.
In my experience, broccoli is extremely easy to grow. Even though our garden is organic, the broccoli plants don’t usually attract pests. They are also very forgiving to temperature changes. Last year, a random snow storm hit in October. A week later, the temperature went back into the 80’s. The broccoli plants never missed a beat. They kept growing and blooming through everything.
Another advantage of broccoli is that each plant produces multiple blooms. After the first large harvest, the plants continue to produce smaller blooms. I love to let at least a few bloom completely. The bees absolutely love broccoli.
Broccoli is associated with the element water. Considering broccoli is approximately 90% water, this makes sense. According to Scott Cunningham’s Wicca in the Kitchen, it is associated with protection energies.
Looking for recipes to use the broccoli from your garden? The USDA website lists 57 different dishes using broccoli. The broccoli rice casserole is a favorite here.
Cabbage really is a super food. It is packed with Vitamin C and helps your body absorb the iron found in other vegetables. Also, a cup of cabbage only contains 22 calories.
They are a bit susceptible to pests, so be careful and watch them closely. Also, I have found that cabbage attracts wild rabbits. Last year, they managed to eat the majority of the harvest before I discovered them.
Cabbage is associated with the element water. It is associated with both protection and money attracting energies.
Cabbage is also perfect for fermenting. Fermenting is now quite easy to do at home in canning jars. I plan to post more information about fermenting this winter. So, stay tuned for more information.
The USDA has 53 different cabbage recipes available. My family absolutely loves cole slaw. We make it every time that we harvest cabbage.
The primary disadvantage to cabbage is that each plant only produces one bloom. I only planted three the first year and ended up with only three heads of cabbage. It was bad planning on my part, but I was a bit disappointed at the time.
In our area, no fall garden would be complete without collard greens. They are a staple here. Luckily, they are very easy to grow and produce several different harvests.
I don’t know why, but I love to cook greens. The process of washing them and removing the spines is just fun to me. To remove all of the grit, my Grandmother taught me to wash and float the leaves three times before cooking. I still don’t know why three is the magic number, but it really does work.
In the Southern U.S. where we live, collard greens are associated with money. It is traditional to eat collard greens on New Year’s Day in order attract money in the upcoming year.
The USDA has nine different recipes available for collard greens. However, our favorite recipe is still just to saute them and finish them in the slow cooker.
Did you know that collard greens will bloom? When allowed, collard greens will bolt and produce tiny yellow flowers. The bees love the blooms. It helps that collards flower when many other plants are dormant.
One of the wonderful advantages of gardening is growing varieties of vegetables not available in grocery stores. When stores purchase produce, they are concerned about affordability and the ability to endure transport.
When we garden, we get to focus on flavor and nutrition. For example, purple cauliflower is not sold in our local grocery stores. However, I grow it every year. It is definitely a novelty for my family, and it even provides more Vitamin A than white cauliflower.
Cauliflower is very versatile in the kitchen. It makes an excellent base for vegan Alfredo sauce. (Subscribe to the blog to be notified when that recipe is posted!)
Cauliflower is also associated with the element water and protection energies.
Of course, the list would not be complete without at least one herb.
In my experience, rosemary is quite hardy. It doesn’t like frost or snow, but our plants survive the winter here in zone 8. Then, they come back even stronger the next year. Our rosemary plants were among the few to survive last winter’s wide temperature swings.
But there are some things I know for certain: always throw spilt salt over your left shoulder, keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for luck, and fall in love whenever you can.Practical Magic
In permaculture, rosemary is associated protection. The aroma repels pests. It also compliments both cauliflower and cabbage plants. Unlike the vegetables on the list, rosemary is associated with the element fire. It is used for protection, healing and love. It is considered sacred to the goddess Venus.
Rosemary is extremely versatile. It is excellent in soups and stews. I also love to use rosemary in infusions. I currently have a mason jar of extra virgin olive oil being infused with rosemary and lavender. It will eventually become part of an herbal tincture.
What are your must have plants for your Mabon garden? Leave your list in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.