There's still time to plant greens, garlic, cover crops

Last Updated: 
September 30, 2008

Cover crop field.EUGENE - There's still time in late September and into October to plant some cool season veggies and cover crops, if you garden on the coast, the Willamette Valley, or southern Oregon.

Or, if you live in a colder area of the state you can still plant cool season and cover crops under a cloche or cold frame.

But don't dawdle, warn Ross Penhallegon and Pat Patterson, who run the Master Gardener program at the Lane County office of the Oregon State University Extension Service. The earlier you plant, the more chance your seedlings get roots established before winter rains start and the sun loses its power to help the plants grow well.

Spinach (Winter Bloomsdale and Savoy) and corn salad for spring harvest can still be planted from transplants in October.

September into early October is also the perfect time to plant garlic cloves for next summer's harvest. You should plant cloves about three inches deep so that the tip of the clove is two inches below the soil surface. Plant them three to four inches apart in raised beds, or six to eight inches apart in a conventional bed.

Cover crops such as crimson clover, annual rye, Austrian field peas or fava beans can still do well if planted as soon as possible. These cover crops will add organic materials to the soil and protect garden soil from the erosive action of winter rains. Crimson clover, fava beans and Austrian field peas, all legumes, also add nitrogen to the soil. And favas provide a crop of large, edible, flat beans early the following summer.

Late cabbage, cauliflower, chard, lettuce, overwintering onions or kale can still be planted from "starts" or transplants purchased from your local nursery. But be sure that the varieties are "winter" varieties, not just leftovers from summer.

All overwintering crops need well-drained soil and full sunlight.

Author: Carol Savonen
Source: Pat Patterson, Ross Penhallegon