Too late to plant winter veggies?

Getting ready for winter. Plastic cloches not only create a warm environment for
Photo credit: Photo by EESC
Q:

I'm looking to do some "winter" gardening in raised beds I finished in the spring. I know I should be planting now, but my produce from the early summer isn't finished. Can you give ideas of what should be planted and when... have I lost my window?

- Washington County, OR
A:

You window is rapidly closing. Most "winter" vegetables are usually in the ground by early August with the idea that they put on enough growth to "bank" a harvest of food that can survive the colder days of winter. Kale is the winter star. Arugula and some lettuces are fairly winter hardy. So is chard. The fastest growing from seed of these mentioned would be kale and arugula. Lettuce and chard transplants, sporadically available in some garden centers now, would guarantee more of a lettuce or chard harvest. Parsley is also cold hardy but you would need transplants. If you could build mini-greenhouses over your beds with PVC pipe and cover the pipe with clear plastic sheeting as the weather turns colder, you will get a lot more growth. Remember to pull the plastic up on warm mornings, otherwise you can cook the plants underneath. Bring the plastic back down in the evening. On really gray days, you may not need to vent the mini-greenhouse at all. For a good reference, read Binda Colebrook's book Winter Gardening in the Maritime Northwest.

Chip Bubl
Agricultural Extension Specialist and County Leader
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