Cool Season Vegetables
Here in Northern California we can grow vegetables year round and it’s not too soon to start making plans for your fall and winter gardens. Cool season vegetables are typically those with edible vegetative growth such as leaves, roots and immature flower parts that can tolerate our light frosts.
Preparation and planting for fall and winter crops is no different than tasks you would perform when installing a summer garden. Prepare your site in full sun (6 to 8 hours a day) with well amended soil that drains well, and a water source for your irrigation needs between rains. In particular, the root crops – carrots turnips, beets and so on – do require a loose friable soil for optimum development. Raised beds are ideal for these. Many of the winter crops can be grown easily in small gardens or in containers, particularly leaf lettuces, kale, spinach and green onions. Provide supports for peas and place them where they will not shade out their companions in the garden. Strategize a battle plan for dealing with weeds, snails slugs and other garden pests. Gardeners are happy to see rain return in fall, but so are the weed seeds and a nice thick (3-4 inch) layer of mulch is excellent prevention and will typically reduce the population and make those that prevail easier to pull.
Here are some examples of plant starts that will be arriving at the garden center in the next few weeks:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Onion Sets
And as long as you are out planting, why not dress up that garden plot with some cool season annual flowers? Pansies, Iceland Poppies, and Calendulas will be making their appearance in the garden center soon.