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Fall and Winter Vegetable Gardens for Western Washington

Posted by pehling | December 18, 2013

Western Washington has generally cool summers and mild winters in most locations. At altitudes below 1000′ frost in the soil is rare and can usually be prevented with a light mulch on the soil surface. This combination of weather conditions allows home gardeners to produce satisfactory crops of many vegetables for fall and winter harvest. However, since the fall and winter months are normally quite wet is important that gardens be well drained. The following vegetables can be planted in summer or early fall for winter and early spring harvest.

BEANS

Plant Bush beans until late July to produce a good crop before frost. The plants develop more rapidly in the warm summer months than in early spring. Pole beans require more time to develop and should be planted by July 1 for a fall crop. Plant Fava or Broad beans the second week of November for June Harvest.

BEETS

Beets can be planted until August 1 and produce a dependable crop. If you want beet greens, plant until September 1.

BROCCOLI

Direct seed until mid-July and transplant until mid-August. A fall broccoli crop will usually continue producing past Thanksgiving and sometimes until Christmas.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS

Brussels sprouts require a slightly longer growing season than broccoli. Direct seed by July 1 and/or transplant by August 1 for a dependable fall crop. In protected spots harvest can continue into mid-winter.

CABBAGE

Ballhead cabbage for fall harvest requires the same culture as Brussels sprouts. Treat Savoy cabbage as broccoli. Fall cabbage crops will hold in the garden for prolonged periods and can be harvested in to early winter. Jersey Wakefield cabbage can be seeded from September 1-15 to winter over.

CHINESE CABBAGE

Chinese cabbage is best planted in late July for a fall crop.

CARROTS

A fall crop will keep in the garden until used. Plant by mid-July for wall and winter harvest.

CAULIFLOWER

Culture for a fall crop is the same as cabbage or Brussels sprouts.

CHICORY

Witloof chicory or French endive can be planted until mid-July. Roots can be dug in late fall, placed in a box of moist soil, covered with sand and forced in a warm room for winter greens.

CORNSALAD

Cornsalad, (lamb’s lettuce or fetticus), can be planted early September for fall use or late October to winter over for early spring use.

ENDIVE

Plant either curled or broad leaf types until mid-July. In October tie leaves together to blanch hearts. A light mulch of straw will protect it from early frosts and permit harvest into winter.

GARLIC

Plant garlic in late October to November 10 for early summer harvest.

KALE

Plant seeds in July and transplant until mid-August.

KOHLRABI

Sow seed until mid-July for fall crop. Both white and purple varieties are suitable. Harvest when stems are 1-1/2″ to 2″ in diameter, before the stems become woody.

LEEKS

Plant in spring but hill or much in fall and harvest as needed all winter.

LETTUCE

All types of lettuce are suitable fall crops. Sow head lettuce and Romaine in July. Leaf lettuce varieties can be planted until mid-August.

MUSTARD GREENS

Mustards germinate and grow rapidly. Mustard can be seeded through September to produce fall greens. Bok Toy (Chinese mustard) should be seeded by mid-August.

ONIONS

Onions for green or table onion use can be seeded until mid-July for fall use. Seedlings made in August will normally winter over for spring use. Onion sets can be planted anytime during the fall and winter if the soil is well drained and workable.

PARSLEY

Can be seeded in early July for fall and spring use.

PEAS

Can be planted in early November for an early June crop. Green peas and edible pea pods (sugar peas) can be planted until mid-July. A moderate harvest can be expected in the fall.

RADISHES

Early varieties can be planted throughout the growing season until mid-September. Winter radishes (oriental types and Black Spanish) should be planted in July and harvested all winter.

RUTABAGA

Plant in early and mid-July for fall and winter harvest. Leave them in the garden and harvest as you need all winter.

SHALLOTS AND CHIVES

Plant or divide both of these in late October or early November each year. Leave in the garden the year around and harvest as desired.

SPINACH

Plant spinach in mid-August for a fall crop. Plant in September to winter over for an early spring crop.

SWISS CHARD

Chard planted by mid-July will produce a fall crop or planted in late August the plants will winter over and produce and an earlier crop the following year than spring planting.

TURNIP

For mature roots plant turnips by mid-August. For greens, plant through September.

COVER CROPS

In Western Washington it is normally a good practice to seed garden areas which are not occupied by fall and winter crops with a cover crop. Cover crops such as crimson clover or vetch or a combination of annual rye and vetch will benefit the garden soil by conserving nutrients, reducing weed growth and preventing erosion. A fall cover crop becomes a valuable green manure crop to plow or spade under the following spring. Till in the cover crop at least two weeks prior to planting.

Try to choose only early maturing varieties of all these crops to assure enough time for them to mature before frost slows them down or halts growth entirely.

We recommend you contact our Master Gardeners at (425) 338-2400 for more information.


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