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 Post subject: winter crops
PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:00 pm 
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Location: pennsylvania
does anyone know what i can plant over winter? garlic is 1 idea i have, but my garden is 12 x 32 and thats ALOT of garlic. was just wondering if anyone has any ideas. i live in NW pennsylvania and the winters are 5 degrees low at minimum. want to have garden ready by early spring for summer crops so it cant be too long to grow. thanks for the helpful ideas.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:14 pm 
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Eliot Coleman has a whole book, Four-Season Harvest, dedicated to answering this question.

Take a look at his book in your local library before deciding whether or not to purchase it! :)

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:03 pm 
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E~10/M
Keep an eye on the Fall Crop thread, because I'll be touching on Winter Crops over there, and some people have mentioned it already. The thing is, especially in the north, a lot of plants needed to be planted a lot earlier than you might think because they have to have the chance to grow near to maturity in order to survive the winter.

Garlic is an exception -- in the north, should be planted when you plant spring flowering bulbs ... mid-Oct ~ Early-Nov in my area.

RIGHT NOW, if you sow parsley, they'll get established and may be able to overwinter. In spring, you can harvest until they start to flower.
Lacinato/Dinosaur Kale have successfully overwintered in my garden with minimum protection
Raddichio has also overwintered in my garden, as have carrots. Brussels sprouts survived but didn't make sprouts in spring as intended, but they may have been too immature going into winter.

If you are interested in grain, Winter Rye and Winter Wheat will overwinter and grow next spring but it won't be ready to harvest until later in spring.

You can grow winter covercrops -- not to harvest and eat but to enrich your garden soil. All need to be sown late summer/early fall to grow sufficiently before being winterkilled or to be turned under in spring.

WITH PROTECTION as outlined in the book Cynthia mentioned, you could grow more.


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 Post subject: fall crops & harvest
PostPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:43 pm 
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I don't do winter crops in my few veggie beds, just mulch heavily.

But today I planted broccoli, cabbage and chives down the edges of the bed that has swiss chard down the middle. The swiss chard is going strong. Those edges were lettuce and spinach in the spring, but they are gone.

The broccoli package said for fall crop plant three months before first frost. That would have been two or three weeks ago. But two or three weeks ago there was no way I could think about fall! So we will see what happens... I have hoops over that bed, so I can put shade cloth over it while it is still hot and plastic later in the fall.

Tomorrow I will plant lettuce and spinach and onions down the edges of the tomato bed.

In the meantime between my garden and the CSA farm produce, I'm over run with produce--especially corn, tomatoes, green beans. So tonight I'm going to do a bunch of freezing stuff and make tomato salsa. Last night I made a bunch of pesto... served some to guests (pesto potato salad-- yummy!) and froze some.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:14 pm 
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I think your lettuce timing is perfect. I'm not sowing lettuce per se, but the lettuce that I've allowed to go to seed are making little fluffs and blowing around. The finches seem to be going after them too, but they're also helping to scatter the seeds so I think there'll be enough to go around for all of us. I love watching the goldfinches clinging to the wildly swaying lettuce seedheads. :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 2:49 am 
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Garlic is probably one of the best to overwinter but don't plant the whole garden of course. They will still be going in spring when it's time to plant other crops. :wink:

As far as what I'm doing I will be planting Brussels Sprouts not sure if I will leave them all winter. But I have been letting a lot of things go to seed and than generously shaking the hell out of them all over the garden. So we shall see what comes out of the ground early next year. 8)

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 1:12 pm 
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Well, as other have said, garlic is big winter-crop up north. I've found that spinach-mustard and lettuce will over-winter in my garden, but start to bolt once the springtime temperatures get higher.

You can do carrots if you put some leaves or other mulch over them to help give them a little insulation.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 2:51 pm 
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Thanks G5 I forgot about spinach that is a good winter hardy crop. :D

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:28 pm 
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With the right protection, you can grow quite a few crops through the winter, leafy greens being some of them.

I've even heard you could overwinter tomatoes under straw, but I'd think you'd have to have a fairly mild winter to do that.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:27 pm 
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May not be any fall crop this year :(

Of all those seeds I planted, only a little bit of onion has sprouted so far.

Our weather has been pretty much hot and dry, hot and dry the whole time. Hard to keep the seeds moist under those conditions. I do water, but hard to water frequently enough for the seeds. For the stuff that's already growing there, occasional deep watering is good, not for the seeds.

I guess next year I will start the fall seeds in flats where I can control the conditions better.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:09 pm 
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rainbowgardener wrote:
May not be any fall crop this year :(

Of all those seeds I planted, only a little bit of onion has sprouted so far.

Our weather has been pretty much hot and dry, hot and dry the whole time. Hard to keep the seeds moist under those conditions. I do water, but hard to water frequently enough for the seeds. For the stuff that's already growing there, occasional deep watering is good, not for the seeds.

I guess next year I will start the fall seeds in flats where I can control the conditions better.


I've heard from others that the onion seed they sowed outdoors didn't germinate well either. I think I'm going to stick with growing them indoors, as well.

It seems like Jal is the only one who's having success with direct-sown onions :lol:.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:16 pm 
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My onions are sprouting, just everything else isn't (lettuce, spinach, broccoli)...

I don't think I would necessarily have to start the fall crop indoors under lights (and then have to deal with hardening off). I'm picturing flats or little pots in trays on the deck, so it would be potting soil, bottom watering and all that pampering to get them started.

I'm still not convinced the Ruth Stout/ Fukuoka thing of just scattering seeds works, at least not in the middle of heat and drought. But I freely admit I didn't do the clay balls, maybe that would have helped them along.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:39 pm 
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I'm still not convinced the Ruth Stout/ Fukuoka thing of just scattering seeds works, at least not in the middle of heat and drought.


it does, i scattered broccoli, kale, lettuce, and purple bok choy about 2 weeks ago. so far everything is up except the lettuce( usually comes up in october though) havent had any rain since may. i water once a week.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:20 pm 
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But the growing conditions in NorCal the past couple of weeks have been completely different from those the eastern half of the country has been stuck with for--what?--three months now. Record heat. Record number of days with no rain. Then, suddenly, torrential rains. Etc.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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--Mount Visions Wilson, CGC, 7/13/03-11/2/12, courageous
--BluNote Bésame Mucho, Mi Diosa, CGC, Therapy Dog (Vesta), 3/31/00-7/25/13, our love


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