For those lucky California gardeners who don’t face an early summer, these vegetables can be planted into early spring as well. In retrospect, my winter garden took much less effort than my usual summer garden. Vegetables that do particularly well in cold weather include: Onions; Parsley; Lettuce; Spinach; Garlic; Many winter plants like … If only I could grow tomatoes in winter to top them off. Our best time to sow seed or plant these vegetables in the Golden State is fall into winter. And the roots of the weeds keep the soil in your raised beds from washing away. 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. For instance, plant 6 or 12 plants of three different kinds of broccoli and cabbage, with maturity dates of 60, 80, and 100 days. My beds were previously double dug and well nourished with organic matter, so after removing the old vegetation, I just add a few inches of compost and other soil amendments as needed to supply the incoming plants with fresh nutrients. A handful of cover crop seeds (left) is an investment in your garden’s future. A cover crop (right) minimizes soil erosion and becomes a source of nitrogen for the beds come spring. Recommended times to plant vegetables in Santa Clara County. © 2006-2021 Print. In other parts of the country, weather may be capricious. Vegetables grow best in soil that’s high in organic matter. I am fortunate to garden in an area of northern California with an agreeable climate. Till or rake open areas and empty beds to about 2 inches deep, then broadcast the seed and rake in to cover. In the author’s northern California garden, drip irrigation keeps the warm-season vegetables growing through the hot dry fall. Or you could grow the winter vegetables that can actually be left outside over winter (under the snow and frost) and just not have to dig through the snow to get to them. Helping You Become a More Successful Gardener. Heavy winter rains make good drainage essential in my garden. Sometimes growing winter greens actually means growing reds; this winter vegetable is pretty enough to grow as an ornamental. 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. I’m always surprised at how many gardeners assume that once the summer garden is finished – and they’ve harvested too many tomatoes and too much zucchini than they know what to do with – the garden goes into shutdown mode. You might not realize how many fruits and vegetables are in season during December, January, and February. New plants are what make gardeners’ hearts skip a beat. Starting Seeds: Tips, Techniques, Equipment. Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, celery and peas are a few other common vegetables that often find their way into California gardens. Planting year-round requires close attention to soil fertility, or your garden won’t flourish. Southern California: Plant to Eat Until Spring! Get complete site access to decades of expert advice, regional content, and more, plus the print magazine. University of California. Since California stretches the height of the United States, its USDA Hardiness Zones range from 5 to 10. 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. For years, I had a May to September relationship with my garden. Here’s some of the easiest to grow: arugula, corn salad (mâche), cress, lamb’s quarters, orach, sorrel, and, of course, dandelion. Preferred Commerce. There are many different vegetables that are at their best when temperatures are cool – and sometimes even cold – withstanding light to heavy frosts. 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. You’ll probably need much less space for your winter garden than for your summer garden, since winter vegetables are more compact than tomatoes, melons, and squash. Count back from a November harvest to a late August sowing. Plant these early in August. Click on the name of a vegetable below to see which farms grow it and what varieties are sold at the market. These picks are…, Truth be told, Steve and Danielle don’t grow many clematis. A lettuce bed is draped with floating row cover to protect it from a freeze. This will allow the organic matter to begin rotting and releasing nutrients for your crop. Our best time to sow seed or plant these vegetables in the Golden State is fall into winter. Choose a site that has at least 8 hours of direct sunlight each day with well-draining soil. Winter vegetables don’t need as much water because of the moisture they get from winter rain and snow. Optimally, seeds should be started in late summer, but nursery seedlings transplanted in early fall will still do well. Prepare for winter If cool-season crops are not going to be grown in your garden, and you have harvested all of your summer vegetables, it is time to get your garden ready for winter. Although we typically have several months of intense winter rains, it never snows, and only occasionally do we have a killing frost. For instance, carrots can be harvested approximately 60 days after planting. 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. If you are using an existing garden, remove all old plant detritus and weeds. Winter squash can be used in a myriad of ways, from roasted to stuffed to pureed into a soup. Peas, carrots, beets, spinach, and lettuce can be direct-seeded and planted in succession for an extended harvest, but start planting in early August. It was a small way to say thank you for the efforts…. And some unusual roots – and root-like edibles – that I think are worth the growing effort are celeriac (celery root), fennel. It contains straw, horse manure, chicken manure, gypsum, peat moss, lime, molasses, and cottonseed meal, to which I sometimes add grape pumice and rice hulls. Remove all plant material and dispose of it either in your compost bin or in your green recycle container. But it was well worth it: fresh steamed broccoli and cauliflower, homemade coleslaw, sweet garden peas, borscht made with my own cabbage, beets, and carrots, and of course, incomparable salads. I had to water regularly during August, September, and October, but once temperatures cooled off and the winter rains came, I didn’t water at all. 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. You want them to be heavy for their size and free of bruises and blemishes. They’re typically used to create winter salads, and varieties can include arugula, mustard greens, winter mix lettuce, and more. 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. But over their many, many years at Fine Gardening, they’ve researched and written a lot about this genus. As with the other vegetables listed, they are somewhat easy to grow and require little in the way of maintenance. Winter crops and vegetables that store well are available so that consumers can have access to fresh produce any time of the year. If you live in California, cooler weather means leaves, roots, flower buds and pods in the vegetable garden. The most sensitive of these are bok choy, cauliflower, and Chinese cabbage. Raised beds are the most effective way to produce leaf and root vegetables. This won't delete the recipes and articles you've saved, just the list. In Southern California especially, this is the ONLY time we can grow some of the most delicious notoriously “Spring” vegetables. In this case, the winter pea crop needed to be planted in the fall, when warmer soil conditions favored germination. In climates such as the author’s, in northern California, lettuce seedlings can be planted throughout the winter, providing a staggered harvest. of the member-only content library. Like the other vegetables listed, they are somewhat easy to grow and require little in the way of maintenance. [9] Before choosing your zone 9 winter vegetables, you need to select a garden site and prepare it. If you want to get a little more ethnic, try planting collards, kale, mustard, endive and chicory. A Winter Vegetable Garden in Northern California If your climate is right, you can keep your garden going all winter with cool-weather crops that can't take the summer heat: peas, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, lettuce, and other salad greens. All of my crops were hardy enough to withstand frost, except for my lettuces and salad greens. Water your vegetables occasionally if you’re experiencing a winter dry spell, or if the soil they’re in is particularly dry. Whenever frost was forecast, I covered that bed with a floating row cover. Quick changes in temperature are more damaging to plants than gradual changes. See the complete Nondiscrimination Statement at ucanr.edu. Planting winter vegetables in a region where the risk of frost is imminent will help you avoid losses when the weather goes haywire. There are plenty of edibles that you can plant in wintertime, including garlic, leeks, onions, radishes, lettuce, peas, potatoes, chard, spinach, rhubarb, and other leafy greens such as bok choy and kale. These veggies, too, like a regular watering schedule (but not as moist or as frequent as the leaf vegetables). 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