CORVALLIS, Ore. – Have you always wanted to harvest vegetables from your garden through the fall and into the winter? With a little extra planning and care, you can enjoy fresh vegetables from your garden most of the year.
Early to mid-summer is the time to plant seeds for a fall and winter garden, said Pat Patterson, a winter gardening expert and Master Gardener volunteer with the Oregon State University Extension Service.
Many cool-season crops such as broccoli, lettuce, spinach, chard, kale and carrots produce well in the fall and, in mild-winter areas of the Pacific Northwest, hold through the winter if protected.
"A good strategy is to plant these vegetables in mid- to late summer after you harvest spring crops and as space is available," advised Patterson. "To be successful, you need to plan ahead, choose varieties wisely and give proper care to your plants."
Choose varieties that are suited to fall and winter harvest. Some are designated specifically for fall planting, while others perform well only in the spring. Some good varietal selections for several vegetables appropriate for fall and winter gardens include:
Beets: Winterkeeper, Albina Verdura, plant around July 15
Broccoli: Purple Sprouting, White Sprouting Late, Rudolph, plant in June through July
Cabbage: Danish Ballhead, Excel, Gloria, Melissa, plant June or July
Carrots: Bolero, Merida, Royal Chantenay, plant around July 15
Kale: Winter Red, Winterbor, Tuscan, plant in June or wait until late July
Lettuce: Winter Density, Oak Leaf, Black Seeded Simpson, Continuity (best under cloche), plant head lettuce to mid-July and leaf lettuce to Aug. 10. Black Seeded Simpson may be sown in late October and will usually come up well in the following spring.
Spinach: Bloomsdale Savoy, Tyee, Renegade, Olympia, Hybrid 424, Melody, Welder Baker, St. Helens (plant in well-drained soil), plant first half of August. Put in as a transplant in October, Renegade survived the 2013-14 winter and was harvested in early June.
Swiss chard: Perpetual, Rhubarb, Charlotte, Ruby Red, plant in June through July
To learn more about how to plan and grow a fall and winter garden, view the publication Fall and Winter Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest. There's information on planting times and choosing varieties and garden locations. It also explains how to pre-sprout seeds, care for young plants, prepare for frost, and extend the growing season with cold frames, cloches, row covers and hotbeds.