EUGENE - 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, says Pat Patterson, winter gardening expert and program assistant with the Lane County office of 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, Zerlina, plant June or July;
Carrot: Bolero, Merida, Royal Chantenay, plant around July 15;
Kale: Winter Red, Winterbor, Siberian, plant in June or wait until late July;
Lettuce: Winter Density, Oak Leaf, Top Gun, Continuity (best under cloche), plant head lettuce to mid-July and leaf lettuce to Aug. 10;
Spinach: Bloomsdale Savoy, Tyee, Kokum, Olympia, Hybrid 424, Melody, Welder Baker, St. Helens (plant in well-drained soil), plant first half of August;
Swiss chard: Perpetual, Dora, Ruby Red, plant in June through July.
To learn more about how to successfully plan and grow a fall and winter garden, you can view the publication Fall and Winter Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest on the Extension and Station Communications Web site.
There's information on choosing varieties, how to choose a garden location, when to plant, how to pre-sprout seeds, care for young plants, prepare for frost, extend the growing season with cold frames, cloches, row covers and hotbeds.
Fall and Winter Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest, PNW 548, is also available by mail for $1.50 per copy plus $3 shipping and handling. Order online, or send your request and check or money order payable to OSU to: Extension and Experiment Station Communications, 422 Kerr Administration, OSU, Corvallis, OR 97331-2119. Or call your local county office of the OSU Extension Service to see if they have a copy on file.