Have you ever planted a winter vegetable garden? When do you start a winter garden? Why would I have a winter garden?
It’s September! Why are we talking about a winter vegetable garden now? If you love to plant your vegetables by seed, then now is the time to plant Brussels sprouts, cabbage, parsnips, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, rutabaga, lettuce, onions, radishes and turnips it might be too late. August and September is the time to plant transplants. The same tips for a spring vegetable garden apply.
Till your soil. Till in some compost and water the soil. When the weeds start to come up it is a great time to hoe or pull them out. I like no-till where you dig a hole, mix in some compost and then plant.
You can start your seeds indoors just like in the spring. Or, you can start the seeds directly in the soil but September is a bit late for some seeds. Check the label for “days to harvest” to see if you have enough time to plant.
If you don’t like to grow your vegetables by seed, then use transplants. Transplants are found in garden centers starting in September.
Since the days are hot right now continue to water. You will need to irrigate until the rains start.
Insects and weeds
The best part of winter gardening is the lack of insects and weeds except in the warm months. Watch for aphids and cabbage loppers. Apply Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) to the undersides of the leaves when you first see them. Pull or hoe weeds when they are small.
You can start seeds indoors and then transplant your winter vegetables throughout the winter months. Many of our winter vegetables can take a light frost and there is no need to cover them. Winter vegetable gardening is less stressful than summer gardening and just as rewarding.
Do you want to get your kids involved in gardening? Try growing radishes. From seed planting to your table is a quick turnaround.
Winter vegetable gardening, give it a try!
For more information, go to cecolusa.ucanr.edu