Extend the growing season with fall-planted leafy salads Detail Explored

Extend the growing season with fall-planted leafy salads
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URBANA — When people think of fall, the lettuce harvest rarely comes to mind; However, late summer is a great time for gardeners to start planting lettuce, arugula, endives or other leafy greens for salads, says Nancy Kreith, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. Not only are these plants quick and easy to grow when the temperatures start to drop, but they also add a significant source of nutrients to your diet.

“Most leafy vegetables are high in vitamins A and C, potassium, calcium, and fiber and are low in calories,” says Kreith. “Studies have shown that lettuce is rich in antioxidant compounds — red leaves are the highest — that help fight certain types of cancer.”

When growing lettuce, transplants are not as easy to get in late summer as they are in spring. The best option may be to plant the seeds directly in the garden bed. The cuttings can be planted in the ground in early to mid-September, and the seeds should be planted in late August to early September. Check seed packets for specific planting dates for your region. Cultivation is not a great method for most leafy greens, as many go from seed to harvest in less than 45 days.

Whether planting seeds or transplants, first loosen the soil, add organic or synthetic granulated multipurpose fertilizer, plant and water. For transplants, carefully spread the roots, place the plant in a hole and lightly firm the soil around the base of the plant.

The Illinois Amish Heritage Center will break ground for the construction of a barn

For seed, dig a shallow trench, add a sprinkle of seed along the row and cover lightly. Be careful not to plant the seeds too deep.

“Gardeners should think about what types of greens suit their tastes when choosing what to plant,” says Kreith.

This list of some common leafy salads is a good place to start this fall.

  • Lettuce is known for its mild flavor and grows in clumps.
  • Red leafy greens add color to your diet, are high in antioxidants and have a shorter shelf life.
  • Lettuce (Bib or Boston) grows in a soft head with delicate, rounded leaves and is known for its mild, buttery flavor.
  • Arugula grows very quickly and is often harvested as baby leaves. It has a distinct peppery flavor and is quite hot. Harvest this green before it becomes overgrown and hairy.
  • Mizuna is flavorful, not as tender as most leafy greens, and adds texture to salads with its deep-cut, fringed leaves.
  • Japanese red mustard has a pungent flavor with hints of pepper, garlic and mustard. It should be harvested as chicken leaves for use in salads. The larger leaves are often used in stir-fries.
  • Baby bok choy has a light, refreshing flavor and a crunchy, celery-like texture. You can harvest the outer, more mature leaves from this green as needed, or you can wait until the loose head has matured and cut the entire plant from the base.
  • Belgian endives are pale yellow in color and have a dense, long head of crisp leaves. It can be added to salads, but is often used for wraps or other appetizers.
  • Curly endive (Frisée) has beautiful, wrinkled, yellowish-green leaves with a strong, slightly bitter taste.

For more information about growing vegetables, contact your local Illinois Extension County office at go.illinois.edu/ExtensionOffice.

My Town: Clint Walker’s Memoirs of Coles County from the Archives

Cosmic blue comics

From the November 22, 1992 Journal Gazette, this photo of Cosmic Blue Comics in Mattoon; where I spent practically every Saturday afternoon for about two years. That little back room to the right of the Coke sign was where many, I mean many, long boxes of old stuff were kept. I still have my boxed copy of Tales of the Beanworld #1 that I found there. Unfortunately, this place is now just a “green space”.

Mattoon Arcade

Pictured is Bob Murray of Shelbyville in the June 2, 1982 Journal Gazette demonstrating his dominance of the TRON arcade game at the Cross County Mall’s “Carousel Time” arcade, which would later become Aladdin’s Castle, to be in soon nothing more. I spent almost every Saturday in this arcade, maybe with the exact same hairstyle. No overalls though. I was more of an “Ocean Pacific” kid.


Image dated November 28, 1988, Journal Gazette, Icenogle grocery store. Being from Cooks Mills, I didn’t shop at Icenogle often…but when I did, I knew from a young age that this was how a grocery store should be in a perfect world, and not just because she had it Wooden floors, comics on magazine racks, or lots and I mean lots of trade cards in wax packs.

cook dies

By the time this feature article on Adam’s Groceries appeared in the June 13, 1998 Journal Gazette, I had long since moved on from Cooks Mills, but there was a time when I could very well have been one of those kids in this photo; because if it was summer and you had a bike and you lived in Cooks Mills, that’s where you ended up. At last report, they still had Tab in the Pepsi cooler in the back. I am seriously considering asking my money if I can afford to reopen this place.

Mr. Music

Pictured from the Journal Gazette, July 16, 1987, this ad for Mister Music, formerly located on the Cross County Mall. I didn’t buy records at that age, but eventually I did and it all went away. If you think hanging out with your friends at a record store on a Friday night with a fresh driver’s license in your wallet doesn’t sound “cool,” then you’re right. But it’s all a nerd like me could do. Wherever you are today, Mister Music owners, please know that a Minutemen album I found in your bargain bin changed my life.

Throwing the guitar sound source

Portrait of the author as a young man attempting to throw a guitar through a target at this year’s Sound Source Music Guitar Throwing Contest, April 18, 1994, Journal Gazette. Look at my grunge era hoodie and yes…look closely, those are Air Jordans you see on my feet. Addendum: Unlike cutline, I did not win a guitar.

Pictured, clipped from the online archives at JG-TC.com, an April 18, 1994 photo of Journal Gazette of Sound Source Music guitar toss contest winner and current JG-TC employee Clint Walker.


Here Today Gone Tomorrow Vette’s Teen Club, from the Journal Gazette, June 20, 1991. I wasn’t “cool” enough to sit behind the Vette in its “heyday,” and by “cool enough ” I mean “not very practiced”. .” in parking fights”. If I could dare now.


FutureGen: The End of the Beginning and Finally the Beginning of the End, 19 Dec 2007, JG-TC. I wish I had paid more attention then. I probably should have read the paper.



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