It’s been a busy summer, but your dad’s passion for gardening never diminished. It’s the one activity he loves that gets him outside and moving around. Even on hot, humid days, he liked to go tend to his plants and remove weeds and garden pests. 
 
As the summer growing season slows down, now is the time to plant late summer crops. These are some of the best crops before it gets too cool for some things to grow well. 
 
Beets

Caregiver in Northbrook, IL: Late Summer Crops

Beets have a vivid color that makes them stand out in salads. The juice is also a popular way to color Red Velvet Cake without using artificial food coloring. Beets are incredibly easy to grow and take just six weeks to form the edible roots/bulbs that have an earthy, sweet flavor. 
 
In addition to the root, your dad can eat beet greens. Use them as he would spinach or kale. 
 
Kale 
 
Kale relies on cooler weather to grow well. A rainy, cool September and October is an ideal time to grow kale. Ideally, he wants to get it into the garden about six weeks before the first frost typically hits in his town. He can also harvest the younger leaves before then. 
 
Kale is versatile and is a good addition to smoothies. It’s the main ingredient in Tuscan Potato Sausage soup. It’s also popular in raw salads. 
 
Mustard Greens 
 
Like kale, mustard greens do best in cooler weather. Harvest the greens when they’re still small for more tender baby greens. You can extend the season by covering these greens on nights there is a frost. 
 
Mustard greens have a spicy flavor. Add it to your dad’s favorite mix of greens for a salad. On a colder day, use mustard greens in soups like minestrone or vegetable. Turn them into a nutritious side dish by sauteing them in olive oil and garlic. 
 
Potatoes 
 
Your dad won’t have time to grow full potatoes, but in seven or eight weeks he could have a batch of baby potatoes. These small potatoes are ideal for roasting. He could also enjoy the classic dish of boiled new potatoes and peas. 
 
New potatoes and peas is an easy dish for family or professional caregivers to make. Boil the potatoes in saltwater, add peas in the final minutes of cooking, and drain. Toss them with some butter or olive oil, salt, and pepper and serve hot. 
 
Spinach 
 
Spinach grows best when the soil temperature is below 70 F. Waiting until late summer is ideal for this plant. It only takes six weeks for spinach to grow to maturity, so starting the plants in September works fine for many climates. 
 
Add spinach to breakfast smoothies, add it to scrambled eggs, or serve it as a hearty salad at lunch with grilled chicken, fresh raspberries, roasted almonds, and a raspberry vinaigrette. 
 
Are caregivers spending time with your dad when he’s gardening or putting away his harvested crops? He’ll enjoy the companionship they provide. Plus, he has someone to help him plan and prepare healthy meals that use his homegrown crops. 

 

If you or an aging loved one are considering a Caregiver in Northbrook, IL, contact the caring staff atCompanion Services of Americatoday at(847) 943-3786. Our home care service area includes Northbrook, Highland Park, Deerfield, Glenview, Buffalo Grove, Evanston, Des Plaines, Skokie, Lake Forest, Wilmette and the surrounding areas.