UC Master Gardeners

Plant now to keep those vegetables coming

UC Master GardenerOctober 23, 2013 

Plant coolseason crops, such as these beets, now to enjoy fresh vegetables until springtime.

Q: My vegetables are going to seed. I’d like to use the space to grow some edibles during the winter. Any suggestions? — Beverly D., Cambria

A: When you’ve harvested summer vegetables, cleaned up your bed and replenished your soil with lots of compost, it’s time to plant “cool season” vegetables. Cool season vegetables grow during the shorter days of autumn. Planted now, you’ll have produce to eat in late fall, winter, and early spring.

Onions and garlic are easiest to grow in beds or among ornamentals. Clip a few of the green tops in the winter to use whenever green onions, or scallions, are called for in recipes. In the spring, you’ll have tender, sweet spring onions. In summer you’ll enjoy mature onions and garlic.

Easy-to-grow vegetables to plant now include beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, chard, kale, lettuces, leeks, peas, radishes and spinach. But that’s not all. Arugula, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, Chinese cabbage, collards, endive, fennel, parsnips, salad greens and turnips also grow in cooler months. Asparagus and rhubarb love our cool climate, and potatoes are a fun project for children to grow and harvest.

The popular kale takes time to mature but will last through winter from a single sowing in the fall. Tendergreen mustard spinach can also be harvested throughout the winter with some successive plantings between now and December.

Peas are easy to grow. Just a handful adds so much to fall salads and cooked dishes. If you have vertical space, try Oregon Sugar Pod for large edible pods.

In the cooler areas of the county, think about setting up cold frames or hoop houses to protect tender winter-growing vegetables.

Calling all school gardeners!

If you work in a school garden as a volunteer or teacher, please join the Master Gardeners of San Luis Obispo County’s Garden-Based Learning Committee Nov. 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a free workshop, “Harvest Lessons Learned.” On the agenda: how to sustain gardening programs, volunteer teams, facilities, budgets and curriculum.

The workshop will be at 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo in the auditorium.

For more information, contact Teresa Lees at treelees@charter.net  .

GOT A GARDENING QUESTION?

Contact the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners: at 781-5939 from 1 to 5 p.m. on Monday and Thursday; at 473-7190 from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday in Arroyo Grande; and at 434-4105 from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday in Templeton. Visit the UCCE Master Gardeners website at http://ucanr.org/sites/mgslo or email mgsanluisobispo@ucdavis.edu  .

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