It’s a mad dash to keep ahead of all the produce coming out of my garden. The tomatoes have finally started to come on strong, the zucchini is going crazy and even the eggplant is beginning to share its bounty. I barely have time to process all of it, but right now I’m thinking about how I can extend the season and be eating fresh veggies into winter.
I’ve written in the past about how I always wait too late to get the starts into the ground for fall and winter harvest. Now is the time. There are a few veggies you can sow directly from seed now but most of them you need to be transplanting actual starts. Depending on the variety, you may be harvesting anywhere from September to early spring. Make sure you refresh the garden bed with aged manure, compost or a combination product like Harvest Supreme. Organic fertilizer should be added as well. You may still direct seed the following: Arugula, Fennel, Lettuce, Mustard, Onions, Spinach, Swiss Chard and Turnips. If you are transplanting starts the possibilities increase. Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower are all types that are available in fall and winter harvest varieties. Also available for planting are: Celeriac, Chinese Cabbage, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks for winter harvest, and Peas for fall harvest as well as most items listed for direct sowing. Finally, in September you can direct sow or transplant these varieties for a spring harvest: Fava Beans, Sprouting Broccoli, Carrots, Collards, Peas and Radishes.
There is one pest to be aware of when you plant this time of year. That is the Cabbage moth. The adults are prevalent and they lay eggs, which emerge into caterpillars that chew holes in your leaves and hide out in the heads of broccoli and cauliflower. One way to organically protect your plants is to cover them immediately with Harvest Guard, a floating row cover. It lets light, air and moisture in but keeps the flying insects out. Deer, slugs and snails also love the veggies so be prepared for them as well.
Mid-September to late October will be the time to plant garlic and shallots for next summer’s harvest, so we’ll discuss those at a later date.
I love to plug the Territorial catalog. It contains a wealth of growing tips and information for less than a dollar. They put one out for both fall and spring. The fall one is available now and has a handy chart for when to plant as well as one for cover crops. Another great book is Winter Gardening in the Maritime Northwest by Binda Colebrook. It’s available at Garland Nursery as well.
So make room for some Lettuce and Swiss Chard. They even work great in containers. Then prepare to nibble away all winter long.