By Marianne Hart, Author, Green Life Studios
Summer veggies out, fall veggies in!
Cool Season Veggies.
Autumn is time to think about planting cool season veggies. San Diego is a unique area in that it has a vegetable growing season all year long! Yes, scrumptious garden veggies can still happily adorn your plates and fill your soup bowls into early December!
The warm fall days and crisp evenings lend themselves perfectly to growing an abundance of veggies such as beets, carrots, turnips, spinach, broccoli, shallots, potatoes, radishes, cauliflower, mustard greens, leeks, lettuce, kohlrabi, parsnips, endive, celery, cabbage, kale, parsley, peas, Brussels sprouts, chard, garlic and rutabagas.
Some of the above mentioned plants are available as transplants at most local nurseries such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, and onions. Using transplants saves about six weeks of growing time. The remainder of the veggies would need to be started from seeds.
Locate your garden in an area with at least seven hours of full sun exposure. Often, vegetables thrive when a garden plot is located on the south side of a building which receives full sun. The structure can also serve to block the northerly winds. Avoid areas near tree root systems which can rob vegetables of nutrients and moisture.
French Breakfast Radishes
Work organic materials into your soil (yes, it’s work but it will pay off!) such as peat moss and compost. Fish and seaweed emulsions also work great to provide nutrients – they come in liquid form and are mixed with water. Spade and work your soil well. Water the whole area well and let settle a couple of days. While the soil is still moist, sow your seed.
Take care to not transplant your vegetables in the heat of the day but towards the cool of the evening. This will make the transplanting experience less of a shock to your plants. Water them right away.
Plant more seeds than you need and thin your plants later if you have to. Irrigate weekly until the rainy season arrives – usually in late November.
Keep your weeds under control – there won’t be as many this time of year.
Mark your calendar and spray every ten days with a spray that contains Bacillus thuringiensus (Bt). Bt is a biological spray that won’t harm helpful insects. Cabbage worms on all the cole crops and many other vegetables are a major threat, however insects will be fewer. Be faithful about this and you will never have a worm problem!
During the hot, dry Santa Ana winds, sprinkle your garden with water twice a day.
The harvest period for many of these cool-season veggies will begin in mid-November. Some, like radishes and leaf lettuce, will be ready earlier and others, like Brussels sprouts, will be later.
Fall Vegetable Soup
Gauge the time you think you will be willing to devote to tending your garden and plan your garden plot size accordingly. Try not to overwhelm yourself. If this is your first garden experience, you want to enjoy it!
Take care not to plant cool season veggies during the warm summer weather growing season or the other way around. Your plants will not do well.
Love your plants and sing to them! They will love you back!
Happy fall gardening in sunny San Diego!!
“This cabbage, these carrots, these potatoes, these onions … will soon become me. Such a tasty fact!”
- Mark Garafalo