So what really works for fall vegetable gardens in our climate? I sought advice from Alice Doyle of wholesaler Log House Plants in Cottage Grove, Oregon. Log House produces an amazing assortment of lovely, healthy vegetable starts for fall planting.
Alice advises that all the things most important for spring planting are even more so now - find the sunniest spot you can, dig in compost, make sure the drainage is good. One consideration unique to this time of year - stay away from planting in frost pockets.
She suggests thinking of fall and winter vegetables in three categories:
- Those that can be harvested in the fall, like arugula, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. The trick is to get them established before September 15 so they have time to mature before frost. You still have time if you start with healthy transplants, the largest you can find, to give them a head-start as the weather cools.
- Vegetables that you can harvest continually (almost) through the winter, which includes spinach, parsley, Swiss chard and cabbages.
- Those that can be planted in autumn to harvest in springtime, like onions (plant now) and beets (not until late November). Alice tells me I've missed a raging controversy over the possibility of peas belonging in this category. Perhaps if you plant peas now, you'll get a jump on the harvest and have fresh peas as early as March - depending on how cold the winter turns out to be. Last year? No fall planted peas in March.
For the most detailed planting chart you can imagine, including times to sow, transplant, harvest and freeze out temperatures for a wide variety of vegetables and leafy greens, print out Log House Plants "Fall and Winter Gardening Guide."
While you're on the Log House web page, be sure and sign up for their free electronic newsletter, which is almost as fun and enlightening as a conversation with Alice...
.All these vegetables are in nurseries now, produced by Log House Plants....and ready to go in the ground.
'Oliver' Brussel Sprouts to be transplanted into the garden now and harvested December through February.
A mix of cool-season lettuces, including 'Arctic King' and 'Winter Density'
'Blue Wind' Broccoli, plant by mid-September to be harvested through November