Before you can say ‘pass the sweet potatoes,’ Thanksgiving will be here. As you start planning the menu, consider growing some of what you need for the Thanksgiving Day feast in your own garden! While the turkey and cranberries might not be an option unless you live in a farm on a bog, there are many other items you can easily cultivate.
Whether you like them sliced and roasted, baked in a pie, or mashed to a creamy perfection, sweet potatoes can be the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving. This orange-colored tuber prefers warm, moist climates and is typically grown from young sprouts or vine cuttings. The plants take between 100 and 140 days to grow, so to get them to your holiday table, put them in the ground by the end of July.
Delicious roasted with olive oil or sauteed with honey, carrots get sweeter the longer you leave them in the ground. Plant them in July to get them ready for Thanksgiving.
Another Thanksgiving staple, pumpkins can be used to make pies, soup and other savory dishes. They can also be used as décor for a centerpiece on a table or displayed on a front porch to welcome the season. Pumpkins take about 90 to 120 days to go from seed to harvest.
The easiest things to grow for your Thanksgiving holiday are fragrant, delicious herbs. Herbs can be used in almost everything on the table—from stuffing, salads, and side dishes, to main courses.
Some fall herbs to consider include chives, rosemary, sage, and thyme. These culinary essentials can grow as perennials, returning year after year. Herbs can grow happily in garden beds or pretty planters. In colder regions, they can thrive inside on a sunny windowsill.
Like pumpkins, potatoes take about 90 to 120 days to harvest, and should be planted in cooler weather once frost is no longer a threat.
Greens look pretty on the table, and they offer important vitamins and nutrients. Some leafy greens to plant now include: iceberg lettuce, cabbage, spinach and kale for salads, and other side dishes. They generally grow faster than the denser ingredients, as quickly as 45 to 55 days.
Corn is easy to grow and equally easy to cook. Depending on the variety, it takes to 60 to 100 days to develop.
Great in just about any dish, zucchini is also easy to grow, and can even be started indoors. Come cooking time, it's delicious roasted or sauteed, or baked into a tasty bread for dessert. Zucchini takes between 35 to 55 days from planting until harvesting.