alpine flowers at Grey Rock

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fall and Winter Gardening

If you haven't worn yourself out with summer gardening, you can think about planting crops for fall and winter.  I should have posted this in August as it is too late for this year, but something to think about if you are missing your supply of fresh vegetables from your garden. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, Binda Cloebrook has the Bible on the subject in her Winter Gardening in the Maritime Northwest.  It gives time tables for planting to have things to eat now.  Her information dates back to the beginnings of the organization, Tilth, in the early 1970's, and she has a friendly view of the subject.  Eliot Coleman's Four Season Harvest is the other book I know gives specific instructions on planting for fall and winter production.  The timing is the tricky part, more so than temperature.  If the days are not long enough and your spinach isn't already up and with it by mid-September, it just can't seem to muster the energy to make big leaves.  Root crops are perhaps the exception.  With their growth underground, day length is not such a factor, though cold days prevent the soil from warming enough for growth.  Makes for over-wintered dinky carrots that will grow again in spring though they may be hairy.  All in all, experimentation is always the best to figure out what grows well for you.  Cold frames, cloches, tunnels, and greenhouses break all the rules each extending the seasons a bit.

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