Three Great FALL/WINTER GARDEN STRATEGIES
September 24, 2010 by Cerena Childress
Interplant - Lettuce between Cabbages
Interplanting, Cut & Come Again, Winter Watering!
Plant peas at the base of your declining beans. Keep harvesting beans while your baby peas are coming. When you decide to remove your beans, clip the plant off at the ground, leaving the roots with their nitrogen nodules in the ground. Onions stunt peas, but carrots enhance peas! While you are at it, include space to put a row of lettuces at the sunny side of the base of your peas. The carrot or lettuce foliage will help keep your peas’ feet moist and they like that. You can harvest both standing in the same spot! Peas are the only really keep-planting-more winter crop, and the only really vertical (cages and trellises) winter crop! Gophers love peas, and carrots, and lettuce, sigh, so I would definitely install protective wire baskets for their root areas before you put up your trellises or cages. It is such a bummer to lose a producing pea plant.
Your fall garden is going to look sparse when you start because plants like broccoli, kale, collards, cauliflower and cabbages have a big footprint, 1 ½’ centers. Interplanting slow growers with fast growers between and among is good space usage, reduces weeds, and is downright pretty besides being edible! The fast growers mature before the larger plants shade them out. Carrots, though having slow growing roots, grow pretty tops quickly, and they won’t mind being among your Brassicas.
Because your big guys will get big, you may need to leave a dedicated sunny space for your littles – lettuces, radishes, bunch onions, beets, carrots, colorful chards. But once your Brassicas get bigger, except your cabbages, which will grow low to the ground, cut off the lower leaves on the south, sunny side. Now you can grow shorter plants under your Brassicas again.
If you have strawberries that produce most of the year, they are going to need a dedicated sunny space. Make the space easy to reach for harvesting or plunk a large stepping stone in the center, then start planting around it like a wheel. Don’t plant too close to the stone, so when you use it you aren’t stepping on your plants’ leaves and fruit. Don’t plant so far from the stone that you can’t reach to harvest your fruit.
Larger, Slow Growing Vegetables: Bulb onions, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, peas, parsnip.
Smaller, Fast Maturing Vegetables: Beets, bunch onions, carrots, kale, lettuce, mesclun, radish, spinach, Swiss chard.
2) Cut & Come Again! Since so many winter plants are cut and come again, there is not as much concern to plant successively, a new round every few weeks or month. Cabbages planted on the same day just don’t all mature at the same time. Nature, you know.
3) Water less often, deeply, at ground level, not on the leaves. That reduces soil funguses and foliage mildews, especially on peas. Harvest dry, water afterwards. Wash your hands after handling mildewed or diseased plants before working with other plants.