If you live in California, cooler weather means leaves, roots, flower buds and pods in the vegetable garden. However, since lettuce won’t bolt in cold weather, you might opt for the easy way: Plant everything at once, and be done with it. California’s drought-plagued Central Valley hogs the headlines, but two-thirds of your winter vegetables come from a different part of the state. Are you sure you want to delete your notes for this recipe? There are many different vegetables that are at their best when temperatures are cool – and sometimes even cold – withstanding light to heavy frosts. My choice of amendment is mushroom compost, a medium used to grow mushrooms. For those lucky California gardeners who don’t face an early summer, these vegetables can be planted into early spring as well. University of California. Leaf vegetables include the commonly grown chard, all lettuces and spinach. A lettuce bed is draped with floating row cover to protect it from a freeze. There’s no need to water if you plant just before the fall rains. Helping You Become a More Successful Gardener. If you don’t have raised beds, soil preparation is even more important, to create good drainage. In the United States, Florida and California have a thriving agricultural industry that produces fruits and vegetables year-round. Spinach is another winter vegetable that won’t tolerate temperatures much higher than 70 degrees F. Spinach is a fast-growing vegetable and is ready to harvest about a month after planting. I use three raised beds, approximately 4 feet by 20 feet each, along with a 20-foot row for snap peas and snow peas, which provides family and friends with ample produce all winter long. The major effort on my part was venturing out into the rain to harvest whatever I felt like eating or cooking. Granted, my climate makes it fairly easy to grow vegetables year-round. Explore these different fruits and vegetables with our list, or explore what’s in season throughout the year with our guides to Spring, Summer, and Fall.. Kale is an easy winter crop. … Veggies in the flower buds category are represented by broccoli and cauliflower. Fall is prime planting time in Southern California to get berries established for spring harvest and fill your larder with tasty greens, brassicas, peas and root crops all winter long. A handful of cover crop seeds (left) is an investment in your garden’s future. In addition to determining when to start specific plants, you also need to have some of your garden beds emptied of the summer crops and the soil prepped and ready for the winter crops. ‘Red Giant’ forms stunning maroon leaves with bright green ribs. If you plan on planting the more elongated varieties you will need to amend the soil a little deeper than for the standard radish; 6 inches deep is generally good. This feature has been temporarily disabled during the beta site preview. I was motivated by my love of  broccoli, although I also wanted to grow other cool-weather crops that just couldn’t take the heat of the hot summer months: peas, spinach, cauliflower, and cabbage, as well as lettuce and other salad greens. Plant these early in August. Heavy winter rains make good drainage essential in my garden. Vegetables grow best in soil that’s high in organic matter. Brassicas: Also called “cole crops” or “crucifers,” these include kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Asian cabbages, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, radishes, turnips, kohlrabi, and rutabagas. All Rights Reserved. In this case, the winter pea crop needed to be planted in the fall, when warmer soil conditions favored germination. Click on the name of a vegetable below to see which farms grow it and what varieties are sold at the market. An odd relative that deserves more attention is broad bean (also called fava or faba), which also likes cool weather. Preferred Commerce. Choose a site that has at least 8 hours of direct sunlight each day with well-draining soil. Count back from a November harvest to a late August sowing. Most of the rest of northern California, however, is classified at zone 8 and above, which experiences winter lows of 10F/-12C or above. They’re typically used to create winter salads, and varieties can include arugula, mustard greens, winter mix lettuce, and more. Leaf vegetables include the commonly grown chard, all lettuces and spinach. There’s also onion and its kin, leeks and garlic. Our best time to sow seed or plant these vegetables in the Golden State is fall into winter. I’ve just given you nearly 50 reasons as to why that’s doesn’t have to happen. Below, you’ll find a list of 18 cold hardy vegetables capable of tolerating low temperatures (and even thriving in them!). Till or rake open areas and empty beds to about 2 inches deep, then broadcast the seed and rake in to cover. Winter vegetables don’t need as much water because of the moisture they get from winter rain and snow. I am fortunate to garden in an area of northern California with an agreeable climate. I recommend planting one bed in root crops (carrots, beets, and onions), another in cole crops (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and bok choy), and another in salad greens (lettuces, mesclun, spinach, and chard). The most sensitive of these are bok choy, cauliflower, and Chinese cabbage. If you’re a gourmet gardener who’d like to give some Asian vegetables space in your yard, check out the specialty seed catalogs for bok choy, pak choy, Chinese broccoli, Chinese cabbage (many kinds), Chinese mustard, daikon radish, garland chrysanthemum, tyfon and snow peas. Optimally, seeds should be started in late summer, but nursery seedlings transplanted in early fall will still do well. If you want to start some vegetables from seed to transplant later, sow your seeds in August, when soil and air temperatures are conducive to germination and strong growth. It accepts a wide variety of soils, handles pruning, can be grown in part shade, requires little summer water, and attracts hummingbirds and beneficial insects. Some plants, such as onions, leeks, and cole crops, take a while to become established. I plant winter crops closer together to prevent erosion from hard winter rains. Get our latest tips, how-to articles, and instructional videos sent to your inbox. Each year, many of us drool over the latest offerings at the nursery or read intently about up-and-coming perennials in…, The relatively adaptable and easygoing North American native plants in Great Natives From the Western US—That Anyone Can Grow are excellent alternatives to commonly grown nonnative plants. Southern California: Plant to Eat Until Spring! Quick changes in temperature are more damaging to plants than gradual changes. This means that while some vegetables can be planted at a certain time in southern California, that time changes if planting that vegetable in northern California. A cover crop (right) minimizes soil erosion and becomes a source of nitrogen for the beds come spring. Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, celery and peas are a few other common vegetables that often find their way into California gardens. Your Vegetable Garden Will Thrive With Compost, Native Alternatives to Common Garden Plants, Traveling Plants | Letter from the Editor, A Fool and His Garden | Letter from the Editor, Dahlias Don’t Ask Much | Letter from the Editor, It’s Just Business | Letter from the Editor. Leaf vegetables like water, so make sure you keep their soil almost constantly moist (drying only slightly between waterings). Get complete site access to decades of expert advice, regional content, and more, plus the print magazine. Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, celery and peas are a few other common vegetables that often find their way into California gardens. In climates such as the author’s, in northern California, lettuce seedlings can be planted throughout the winter, providing a staggered harvest. The pods, of course, are the peas, including English peas, snap peas and sugar peas. Whenever frost was forecast, I covered that bed with a floating row cover. This will allow the organic matter to begin rotting and releasing nutrients for your crop. In mid-fall, the garden shows promise for winter broccoli, cabbage, and lettuce, while the summer’s strawberry plants (left foreground) and lingering tomatoes (trellised, in the background) grow on. The trick is growing only hearty vegetables so that they can withstand the cold temperatures as long as they don’t have the snow and frost on them. of the member-only content library. You must be a magazine subscriber to access this feature. Since lettuce and most greens tend to mature quickly and germinate well in cool temperatures—they are the exception to the rule that warm conditions are required for germination—you can sow or plant out new transplants every three or four weeks throughout the winter. For those lucky California gardeners who don’t face an early summer, these vegetables can be planted into early spring as well. John from http://www.growingyourgreens.com shares with you what he is planting in the winter time in his front yard raised bed garden. The Best Winter Vegetables List. (Then get your wok ready!). Remove all plant material and dispose of it either in your compost bin or in your green recycle container. (a bulbous stem, often sold in supermarkets under the incorrect name of “anise”) and kohlrabi (another bulbous stem, a mild relative of cabbage). I’ve assembled a collection of my favorite Fall & Winter Seeds so you can order … Otherwise they'll likely make blossoms but not form … As with the other vegetables listed, they are somewhat easy to grow and require little in the way of maintenance. And some unusual roots – and root-like edibles – that I think are worth the growing effort are celeriac (celery root), fennel. Planting year-round requires close attention to soil fertility, or your garden won’t flourish. Root vegetables include my favorites: beets, carrots and radishes. California has a wonderful climate for growing vegetables, with a whopping 270 days between the last and first frost dates in the season. Cole crops and greens are the stars of the winter garden. Few veggies are as easy as the humble radish. Weeds don’t grow fast in fall and winter; most of my weeds were wild grasses, which I just cut short with grass clippers. For your own garden, you’ll want to seek local advice about the best cover crops or mixes for your area. For instance, carrots can be harvested approximately 60 days after planting. Printer-friendly version. In the author’s northern California garden, drip irrigation keeps the warm-season vegetables growing through the hot dry fall. You want them to be heavy for their size and free of bruises and blemishes. Insects aren’t generally a problem in colder weather, and although snails and slugs can proliferate, I had enough vegetables planted in my garden to ensure there was plenty left over for me. Look for acorn, butternut, Hubbard, spaghetti, and kabocha, to name just a few. Planning ahead is keyForethought is essential to getting your winter garden off to a good start. 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