Who says winter gardening has to be boring? With a little planning and patience, your winter harvest can be as bright, colorful and bountiful as the picture you see above!
Although it may seem strange thinking of winter vegetables in the dog days of summer and in the midst of enormous tomato harvests, it is time to start planning your fall and winter crops. Late August and early September are a great time to start planting some cold tolerant veggies and herbs, as they’ll get a burst of early growth from our warm late summer days and then settle in as the temperatures start to drop.
If you’re interested in learning more about about cold weather crops, we’ve got you covered! Join us for the next DIG IT class at Persimmon Park on Saturday, September 3rd where we’ll be talking about The Winter Vegetable Garden. The class is from 1-2pm and, as always, is free and open to the public. We’ll discuss what to plant, how to harvest, soil amendments, winter pests, and more!
If you can’t wait for the class and want to get a head start, please read on for ideas of what to plant at this time of year. You can also check out this planting calendar to see some specifics broken down by month.
One of our favorite things to grow through the fall and winter are leafy greens. The mild Bay Area winter climate is perfect for growing a nice mix of salad and braising greens – everything from spicy arugula and mustards to crunchy lettuces and hearty kales. Or if you’re looking for something a little different, try the edible chrysanthemum greens that you see in the picture above. The small tender leaves are great in salads, while the larger ones can be cooked or stir fried. What’s more, they’ll also eventually produce a pretty pale yellow flower, which is edible or can be dried to make a medicinal tea!
LARGE HEADING BRASSICAS
If you have the space, large heading brassicas such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage can be some of the most rewarding vegetables to grow in your backyard! Keep in mind, however, that they can take a long time to produce and a cauliflower plant (pictured above) can grow to be a couple feet wide and a couple feet high. That’s a lot of real estate for a small garden, but definitely worth the two to three month wait it takes for them to produce.
A general rule of thumb for the Bay Area is that if it can be grown underground, it’s a great fall or winter crop for the home vegetable gardener! We highly recommend seeding delicious beets or for those of you who are impatient, a quick crop of radishes. After seeding, radishes will only take 25 – 30 days to grow to the size of a golf ball and will be ready to be pulled from the ground and tossed into your salad! We also highly recommend carrots, but keep in mind that they don’t need to be a typical orange variety – you can find red, purple, and white carrots, as well as some rounded mini varieties that are no bigger than a radish.
If you have any questions about the winter vegetable garden, we hope to see you at the class on Saturday, September 3rd at Persimmon Park. The more the merrier and we’d love for you to join us!
PHOTO CREDITS HOMESTEAD DESIGN COLLECTIVE
Residents and friends of Bay Meadows are invited to join us every Thursday from 5-6pm for our new dog-friendly community event, Twilight Tails. Kick back in our new lush park, Landing Green, while your pooch plays with the other dogs around town. Or join us on Mondays afternoons for Momdays in Paddock Park for everything under the sun – live music, puppet shows, crafts – the events change monthly. Every Monday from 3-5pm, make your escape to the great outdoors with other parents of kids from all around the city.