Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Monday, August 3, 2015

Planning & Planting the Fall/Winter Edible Garden

Good morning gardening friends!

Summer is upon us and by now our gardens are bursting with fresh delicious produce. Yesterday we happily harvested cucumbers, squash, beans, cherry tomatoes, basil, potatoes, chard, and kale. We even harvested our very first slicing tomato of summer. A beautiful 'lemon boy.' What a delicious, fresh, and colorful summer pasta primavera I cooked with all of those spectacular tasty vegetables and herbs.

It is hard to imagine now is the time to begin thinking about a fall and winter garden. During this 100 degree weather my overheated brain is thinking of what I will do with all the tomatoes that will be ripe in another month, creative new salad recipes, or maybe just watermelon for dinner, certainly not on frosty weather. But believe it or not July and August are the months to begin planting your garden for a fall and winter harvest.

Portland’s warm fall and mild winter temperatures make an ideal climate for food growing into winter.
According to the farmer’s almanac our average first frost date has now shifted to November 15th. When thinking about planting fall and winter edibles, in general you want them to be at harvestable maturity by this average first frost date. So if you are interested in planting broccoli and the variety you select says 90 days to maturity you need to count back 90 days from November 15th and plant on August 15th. Other factors that effect plant growth to consider are the shorter day lengths and farther position of the sun during fall and winter.

Some crops that do well in the cooler weather of fall and winter are:
brussels sprouts
endive & escarole
mesclun mix
mustard greens
salad greens
swiss chard

You can also plant seed potatoes in the summer for a late fall harvest.

Many crops are intended to overwinter. You plant them in the fall and they mature for harvest the following spring or summer. Fava beans, garlic, onions and shallots are all overwintering crops. There are also many overwintering varieties of broccoli, cabbage, carrots and cauliflower.

A great resource for timing your fall/winter garden planting is the Territorial Seed Company. Check out their very informative WINTER PLANTING CHART.

Please join me for my upcoming fall and winter gardening workshops

Planning & Planting for a Fall & Winter Harvest
Sunday August 30th 12-2pm

Springwater Studio

It is time to begin thinking about planning and planting for a Fall & Winter harvest. Warm fall and mild winter weather provide an opportunity for growing an abundance of food right through winter. Please join Jolie to learn the basics of a productive fall and winter edible garden including what planning what crops to plant when and cold protection techniques.

Timely Tips for the Fall/Winter Garden
Sunday September 20th 12-2pm

Springwater Studio
The summer edible garden is winding down and the time is perfect to join Jolie to learn about planting overwintering crops like garlic & fava beans, planting cover crops to improve your soil, and putting the garden to rest with sheet-mulching. These simple effective techniques will ensure garden success next spring!

Workshops at Springwater Studio are a suggested $10 donation. For registration please contact Springwater Studio. Springwater Studio is a community arts center located at 120 SW Towle Avenue Gresham OR.

To extend your growing season by providing some frost protection you can purchase a frost blanket from your local nursery. Row covers like a frost blanket are placed directly on plants and freely pass air and water. Frost blankets typically can protect plants down to 26 degrees. You can also construct a simple hoop house or cold frame over your raised bed. Directions for these DYI projects abound on the Internet.

For now enjoy the hot weather and reap the abundant harvest of the summer garden. Grab a glass of iced tea and kick back with your fall and winter seed catalog and planting calendar. Then it is time to get planting. When the winter weather sets in you will be grateful you planned and planted early. Summer planting means winter harvest!

Happy Gardening,

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