We’re coming up fast on Labor Day people. Lots of tired clichés come to mind and I’m not going there (you’re welcome), but yikes! Here in Southern California that means it will soon be time to plant our cool season crops. We’re a lucky bunch, we get two growing seasons — warm and cool. But that doesn’t mean that gardeners in the cooler regions can’t grow cool season crops. There are some regions where it’s not possible, but for most of the country you can grow at least a few of the early maturing crops.
Tip #1— Cool Season Crops
In Southern California the list of vegetables that can be grown in this second season is long. It includes: arugula, beets, broccoli, broccoli rabe, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chard, mache, escarole, favas, green onion, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mesclun, mustard, parsnips, radicchio, radish, snap peas, spinach and turnips. These seeds should go into the ground in mid-September.
In Colorado where Mary Beth gardens it is possible, with some frost protection to get a few plants to produce into early November. These seeds should go into the ground now: arugula, beets, broccoli, green onion, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, turnips.
As always, read your seed packets! There is a wealth of information on them. Pay attention to the days to maturity. This will tell you how long it takes to go from seed to harvest. If you are unsure of your climatic conditions contact your local cooperative extension. They know everything there is to know about local growing conditions and will be happy to help you figure out when to plant.
Check our resources page for seed companies and get your orders in asap.
Tip #2 — Extend Your Growing Season
To extend the growing season in the colder regions invest in some hoops or row covers. They’re not too expensive and they will protect your crops from light frosts which could buy you a few weeks of harvesting fresh vegetables.
Tip #3 — Digital Photography Contest
The nice folks at The Nature Conservancy contacted us to let us know that they are running a digital photo contest. Surely you have some great photos that you’d like to enter! Anything depicting to the natural world will do.
It’s easy to submit photos. Contestants can enter using the Conservancy’s free Flickr(TM) photo sharing group. All photos submitted to Flickr(TM) should include the tag – “PhotoContest-TNC10”. Deadline for submissions is October 4, 2010 11:59 PST. Go to the Nature Conservancy website for more details on what and how to enter.