While cooler climates are closing down the garden for winter, we’re just getting started here in So-Cal. Fall gardening is commonly known as the “best” growing season here because we actually get rain, temperatures are cooler, and everything grows virtually bug-free. What’s not to love? <moment of silence for places covered in snow right now>
Fall gardening also features some of the “better” veggies (sorry tomatoes): lettuces, cabbages, broccoli, mustard greens, and kale. Here in the Gardenerd Test garden, we’re growing 5 types of kale, along with some colorful radishes and carrots, parsnips, peas, potatoes and more.
Lacinato, Siberian, Red Russian, Tronchuda Beira, and Vates Blue Curly kale will keep us in greens this winter. In front, Purple Plum, French Breakfast, Watermelon, and Cherry Belle radishes will be ready to enjoy in about a month. We’ve also tucked in some bok choy for good measure.
The drip irrigation takes care of the kale, while we supplement with hand watering for the radishes until they take root.
Fall is the best time to plant garlic, and we’ve also planted leeks and green onions. We use hexagonal or offset rows to get the most out of the growing space. Our year’s supply of garlic grows in about 6 square feet.
Root crops grow really well in cooler temperatures. They’re less likely to be bitter or tough and actually become sweeter with a frost (not that we get one). These babies are just sprouting. Peas become our garden snack through winter and early spring.
Potatoes grow well in both spring and fall in warm-winter climates. We planted sprouted potatoes in reds, purples and yellows for a colorful harvest in a few months.
Soon we’ll be planting out our broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi and Romanesco. Our lettuces are sprouting and cover crops have already created a carpet of green–the promise of good compost to come. We’re actually starting to see some strawberries ripening too.
Swiss chard, spinach and beets have all taken hold, even though the grasshoppers are munching away. We’ll post photos of that garden soon. In the meanwhile, if you live in a warm-winter climate and haven’t planted yet, get to it. There’s still time. For the rest of the country, don’t worry, it won’t be long before seed catalogs arrive in the mail. Dream big!