Sunday, September 08, 2013

Cool Season Gardening

The planting and harvesting doesn't take a break for winter in my gardens. Now is the time to really get serious about planting crops to harvest in fall, winter, and early spring. I have cabbage and Brussels sprouts planted in pots waiting for the summer crops to be pulled, and peas were planted in the space opened up after the garlic and shallot harvest.

Sprouting broccoli, great because once you harvest the main head, little heads will sprout out below, plus the leaves are tasty too!
While the winter garden is not as productive as the summer garden, winter gardening has it's rewards, one of which is limited pressure from pests; other than slugs/snails, most pests slow way down or are gone during the winter.

Success and harvest time of the winter garden depends on the weather; if your plants just seem to be sitting there doing nothing, don't worry, they are growing roots and getting ready to take off as soon as the weather warms just a little.
Cascadia peas, started in pots, waiting transplant.

This winter I will be growing garlic and shallots, peas, lettuce, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, herbs, beets, chard, leeks, radish, sprouting broccoli, and arugula. If the weather cooperates, I'll quite a harvest. If you want to start a winter garden, here are a few tips, with a list of links at the end of this post.
  • Clean up summer debris, especially fall fruit and leaves of any diseased plants.
  • Add compost
  • Plant cool weather seeds-- radish, lettuce, arugula, beets, mustard greens; keep in mind that seeds may take longer to sprout in cool weather.
  • Plant cool weather transplants --Kale, cabbage, Chard, peas, etc.
  • Plant Garlic and shallots in mid to late October, they will be ready for harvest in July, so place them accordingly.
  • Control Slugs -- hand pick, beer traps, or iron phosphate bait.
  • Soil Test -- check pH yearly, do a complete soil test when building a new garden, or whenever things just are not growing well.
  • Mulch or cover crop all bare soil. Bare soil can be compacted or eroded by winter rains, and bare soil is the perfect place for weeds to grow.

Clackamas County Mater Gardeners 10 minute University Handouts:
Building a cloche:
Oregon Tilth’s Toolshed:   Links to factsheets, resources, and a good planting calendar for our area.

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