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Fall and winter organic vegetable gardens

Friday, October 23rd, 2009
Issue 43, Volume 13.
Jerry Weiss
Special to the Valley News

A-planting we will go, hi-ho, the derry-o, a-planting we will go! Finally itís time to plant. The varieties are wonderful, the weather perfect, the flavors spectacular. Now is the time to get plants and seeds in the ground for a fall/winter garden.

The following are perfect to plant now. Broccoli can be transplanted all winter. A fall broccoli crop will usually continue to produce. Purple sprouting (or Italian sprouting) broccoli can be planted on the same schedule.

Brussels sprouts require a slightly longer growth season than broccoli. Plant seeds now and/or transplant for a dependable winter crop.

Ballhead cabbage for fall harvest requires the same culture as Brussels sprouts; plant seed or transplant now. January King is one that will usually last extremely well. Savoy cabbage crops will hold in the garden for prolonged periods and can be harvested into early and late winter. Jersey Wakefield cabbage seeds can be planted every six weeks all winter and spring.

Chard planted now will produce a fall crop. White-ribbed cultivars are more frost-hardy than those with red mid-rib.

Chinese cabbage is best planted in late October for a fall crop. Chinese King is a good fall cultivar. Also transplant mizuna, tatsoi and bok choy now.

Beets can be planted all year. A fall crop of carrots will keep in the garden until used. Tender cultivars such as Nantes are sweet and delightful. Grow the rest in fall, winter and spring. Better grown from seed.

Cauliflower culture for a fall crop is the same as cabbage and Brussels sprouts. Winter varieties like Armado and Walcherin can be started on the same schedule.

Witloof chicory or French endive can be planted now. With endive and arugula, plant either the curled or broad leaf types. A light mulch of straw will Advertisement
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protect it from early frosts through the winter months. These are cool season crops.

Plant garlic in late October to November for late spring and early summer harvest.

Kale and collards are excellent fall and winter vegetables. Plant seeds in July and transplant now. Green varieties are best for winter crops. The flower shoots produced in spring on both these crops are delicious as well.

Sow kohlrabi seed for a fall crop. Both white and purple varieties are suitable. Harvest as soon as they are 1.5 to 2 feet in diameter, before they become woody.

Leeks are planted in fall and harvested as needed all winter.

All types of lettuce are suitable for fall crops. Sow head lettuce and Romaine lettuce. Leaf lettuce varieties can be planted: Salad Bowl, Prizehead and Red Sails, butter lettuce, Batavian for crisp heads; almost any variety, grow from seed or transplants.

Plant green bunching onions now for fall harvest. Seeds planted in October will normally be ready for early spring use. Onion sets can be planted anytime during the fall and winter if the soil is well drained and workable. Walla Walla Sweets and Sweet Winter are two cultivars that usually perform well here.

For parsley and cilantro, plant seed now in the fall and in spring.

Peas can be planted now. Green peas and sugar snap are the best and most fun to grow. They come in bush varieties or to grow up a pole.

Potatoes of any color, shape or style will grow now until midwinter. Buy organic potatoes because they do not spray them with growth inhibitors. Plant a foot deep and stand back.

Most of these plants need moist soil, so mulch with straw and water but donít drown them. Should be easy this time of the year.



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