Planting Fall Veggies

      Early to mid-summer is the time to plant seeds for a fall and winter garden. Weston Miller, community and urban horticulturist for the OSU Extension Service showed us how to plan ahead and what to do in the garden. 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 in an unheated greenhouse or under row cover.

      Choose varieties that are suited to fall harvest and winter storage as indicated in seed catalogs. Fall/winter crop varieties and timing guidelines are indicated below:

      Direct seed around July 15
      (Direct seeding these crops during the heat of summer can be challenging because seedbeds require consistent moisture until germination. Consider using burlap sacks or row cover fabric to help shade the soil and conserve water. Make sure to remove covering just before seeds germinate)
      Beets: Red Ace, Golden, Blankoma, Chioggia
      Carrots: Bolero, Merida, Royal Chantenay, Napoli, Nelson, Yaya
      Seed in flats by mid June and transplant by mid July
      Broccoli: Purple Sprouting, White Sprouting Late, Rudolph, Arcada,
      Cabbage: (green) Danish Ballhead, Storage Hybrid #4, Blue Thunder; (red) Ruby Perfection, Red Acre
      Cauliflower: Amazing, Denali, Vita Verde, Skywalker

      Transplant by early August
      Kale: Winter Red, Winterbor, Tuscan
      Lettuce: Winter Density, Oak Leaf, Marvel of Four Seasons
      Swiss chard: Perpetual, Rhubarb, Charlotte, Ruby Red

      Direct seed by mid August
      Spinach: Bloomsdale Long Standing, Tyee, Olympia, Oriental Giant, Bordeaux
      Leaf lettuce Black Seeded Simpson,
      Swiss chard: Perpetual, Rhubarb, Charlotte, Ruby Red

      Direct seed by early September
      Arugula, mustard green, mache', radish, turnip

      Plant certified disease resistant garlic in October

      As the growing season progresses through August and September, crop growth slows down and vegetables require about two weeks extra time to reach maturity per the days to harvest information on the seed pack. Following the timing guidelines above should allow you to have a bountiful harvest of vegetables through the fall and winter and even into next spring. Also, you can allow broccoli family crops to overwinter and harvest small quantities of greens through the winter and then harvest the sprouting flowers (broccoli raab) next spring.
      Use season extension devices like row cover to push dates listed above later into the season by two to four weeks, but know that you might not get as much harvest as crops sown earlier. Also, hard freezes like last winter's can damage even the hardiest crops.
      To learn more about how to plan and grow a fall and winter garden, view the publication Fall and Winter Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest. There's information on planting times and choosing varieties and garden locations. It also explains how to pre-sprout seeds, care for young plants, prepare for frost, and extend the growing season with cold frames, cloches, row covers and hotbeds. Also, see OSU's list of Recommended Vegetable Varieties to make sure you choose varieties known to perform well in the Willamette Valley.

      Contact Master Gardener volunteers with your gardening questions.