TIME TO PLANT COOL SEASON VEGETABLES
Hello Fellow Earthlings and welcome to the second installment in our series
on cool season vegetable gardening. This time we will be talking about
which plants work well during the cool season and where to find seeds and
Cool season vegetable gardens can produce an abundance of different kinds
of fresh food. They are also very colorful places that can be ornamental as
well as tasty. This is also a time of year when children are in school, and
the garden can be valuable learning experience they can share with
classmates. Natural/ organic gardening teaches children how Mother Nature
works. It is also a great way to get them to eat their veggies. Sitting in
the garden eating fresh foods that they helped to grow is a rewarding
experience for children and the sense of accomplishment is a great
self-esteem builder. This is also a good time to immerse them in the
dynamics of how natural gardening helps the environment by encouraging
biological diversity. Your kids will dig it, I promise.
Plant choices are only limited by your tastes in the cool season vegetable
garden. Some plants are also really fun to grow because they are so quick
to mature. Some choices for the winter/ cool season harvest are radishes,
turnips, beets, carrots, celery, kohlrabi, cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower,
Brussels sprouts, spinach, lettuces, peas, and beans. An abundance of
culinary herbs can also be planted in the cool season vegetable garden such
as anise, dill, fennel, oregano, mints, winter savory, marjoram; the
choices boggle the mind. Find the variety of plants that you like best and
go for it!
When planning out where you are going to locate particular plants in the
garden it is good to remember that at this time of the year the sun is
lower on the southern horizon. Plant taller crops toward the northern edge
of the garden to eliminate shading the shorter crops.
One of my all-time favorite cool season vegetable gardening projects for
the kids are bean and pea tipis. Select pole bean or climbing pea varieties
that you like and plant the seeds at the base of a tipi made from 6 foot,
narrow wooden stakes or bamboo poles. A minimum of five stakes should be
used to construct the tipi, and durable twine that doesn't decompose too
quickly will work perfectly. These tipis make great garden forts for the
kids, and I guarantee they will try eating the food produced by the plants
while playing inside the tipis.
Last time we got our garden ready. Now the soil has begun digesting all of
the wonderful organic matter and is ready for planting. There are several
ways to lay out your garden. You can use the typical furrow method or a
number of other planting techniques. My favorite is called French Intensive
which is basically a close planting style that maximizes use of space. This
is a good practice for those of you with limited gardening space. For those
of you that garden in containers, cool season vegetables make wonderful
potted gardens. French Intensive gardening utilizes larger beds (4 to 6
feet wide) that are slightly raised above the surrounding grade. Watering
is done by sprinkler, hose, or soaker hose in this type of layout.
When planting you cool season vegetable garden it is a good thing to
include some herbs and flowers that will attract beneficial insects into
the garden. These "companion plantings" will add interest to the garden
ornamentally and will provide you with a natural pest control method for
those uninvited visitors to your plants. Herbs like dill are very good at
luring good bugs into the garden and flowers like yarrow are also efficient
at bringing in the beneficial insects that eat pests.
Selecting seeds is very easy and fresh seeds are available at most garden
centers. When selecting starter plants at the nursery pick sturdy plants
that are not overgrown and root bound. There are a lot of places to find
seeds. Be sure to look at the package and find the information that says
this seed is packaged for 1999 growing season. This ensures that you are
getting fresh seed that will germinate readily.
Next time we will be discussing pest and disease control in the cool season
vegetable garden. We will also further touch on the subject of companion
planting. See you in the Garden!
Got questions? Fax the Doc at 760.632.8175 or Email him: email
Don Trotter's natural gardening columns appear nationally in environmentally sensitive publications.
Look for Don's book Natural Gardening A-Z from Hay House at bookstores everywhere and at all online booksellers and check out Don's columns in Hearst's Healthy Living Magazine coming soon.
Enjoy some of Dr. Curly's past gardening articles from our growers archive.
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