Learn all about your Winter Vegetable Garden

Thanks to everyone who attended last Saturday’s Dig It class!  We had a great afternoon talking about the Winter Vegetable Garden, what can be planted at this time of year, and some of the pests we’ve encountered at Persimmon Park over the past couple of months. Here’s a recap of what we covered:

The Winter Vegetable Garden

Many beginner gardeners believe that the growing season ends with the last, ripe tomato that you pick from the vine in late September or early October, but here in the Bay Area there’s no reason not to be growing year round! Our temperate climate through the fall and winter is perfect for “growing your salad” – from peppery arugula and tender butter lettuces to crunchy carrots and beautiful watermelon radishes, your garden can fill your salad bowl through the rainy season (fingers crossed!) and well into next spring.

What Can I Plant At This Time of Year?

Think leafy greens! In addition to a wide variety of lettuces, the fall and winter are a great time to plant all your favorite greens – collards, kale, Swiss chard, radicchio, spinach, arugula, mustards, and more! Here are some of my personal favorites:

Redbor Kale –  If you’re a fan of kale chips, this beautiful, dark purple, curly leaf variety is a must have! Check out a simple kale chip recipe here.

Ruby Streaks Mustards – The smaller leaves add just the right amount of mustard-y spice to a salad. You also won’t find Ruby Streaks at the grocery store or the farmer’s market – they wilt quickly after harvest, but they’re a perfect addition for the backyard gardener or if you have a raised bed just around the corner from your home!

Chioggia Red Preco Radicchio – An Italian heirloom variety that produces medium sized heads the color of, no joke, red wine! Try the leaves mixed in a salad or on the grill with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.

All month long we’ll be doing hands-on planting of a nice variety of fall and winter veggies. If you couldn’t make it to Dig It, feel free to stop by the garden on a Friday (9AM-2:00PM) or a Saturday (9AM-3PM) and I’ll show you what we planted, including collards, edible viola flowers, variegated radicchio, bunching onions, garlic chives, and Berggarten sage. For more ideas, you can also check out this planting calendar for San Mateo county.

Bagrada Bug – An Invasive Species!

Unfortunately, the Bagrada bug has made its way to San Mateo county. Native to Africa, this destructive little critter has crossed the globe, landed in Southern California, and has worked its way up the coast and can now be found in Persimmon Park. It particularly likes mustard greens, arugula, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, and Asian greens including bok choy, tatsoi, and komatsuna. The damage it inflicts is easy to spy – it sucks the sugars out of its favorite veggies, leaving behind white spots and crinkled leaves. I will be setting traps to capture this unwelcome guest, as well as recruiting some of our younger gardeners to squish them on sight! Gardeners of all ages are encouraged to squish them, too, but only if you feel comfortable with that kind of thing. For more information and a picture of the pest, please take a look here.

If you have any questions or concerns about the garden, please feel free to send me an email or to stop by the garden. Mark your calendars, too, for the next DIG IT event on Saturday, October 4th – an introductory class to fermenting!  Please bring your friends and family – everyone is welcome!

Thanks and happy gardening,