With a bit of planning you can usually grow a few vegetables all year round. It all depends on your climate and hardiness zone. I live in zone 8 in British Columbia and winters are mild here. It enables me to grow a lot of vegetables year round. Lets take a look a few crops growing in the garden this month.
Whenever I talk about chervil at my garden classes, no one has heard of this delightful herb. It looks a lot like parsley but its leaves are finely dissected. the flavour of this delicate herb is like licorice. I like to add chervil to salads for that unexpected bite of flavour when you least expect it. This herb tends to overwinter well and if a frost is forecast I throw a floating row cover over top for protection. It’s easy to grow from seed but it will flower in the second year and drop seed to the ground. I have seedlings come up nearby the original plant once the first plant is done. You see it’s a biennial plant like parsley producing the bulk of its leaves in the first year and then going to flower and setting seed in the second year.
Salad greens are doing well in the garden. They are finally at the perfect stage for selecting a few leaves off each plant. This planting is not covered and is fine still as we haven’t had a frost yet. Normally if frost is predicted I use a floating row cover over the lettuce for protection.
Next to the mixed salad greens is a planting of ‘Winter Density’ romaine lettuce which is actually a romaine-butterhead lettuce cross. Its frost tolerant so hopefully we can harvest well into December.
Pac choi is a new vegetable to my garden. When I read it could be planted in the garden in February and again in the fall, I had to give it a try. Planting it in the fall means you will be harvesting leaves from the outside of the plants as it matures. Growth is slower in the fall and winter and will pick up in early spring as temperatures warm up. The only issue I have is the shot holes appearing on the leaves this fall. You see, we haven’t had a frost yet and it looks like flea beetles may be sharing my pac choi with me. I have placed some yellow sticky traps in the garden to see if it helps. Unfortunately sticky traps catch other good insects as well so I rarely use them.
This is the first time growing peas in the fall. I planted seeds in late August but they were slow to germinate. It was still too warm out but they slowly started growing the following month. I had a few peas ready to pick in October and a few more this month. I think it would be best to harvest peas for their green shoots in the fall and not count on their pods. Growth is fairly slow in the fall compared to the spring. I used Lincoln Homesteader peas for the fall planting because I had the seed but perhaps there is a type more suited to a fall planting. Would I grow them again in the fall? Probably not as the yields are too low.
They say gardening is learned and that is so true. I planted Walla Walla onion seedlings in early spring. I should have done my homework as they are best planted in the fall for a spring harvest here on the west coast. My plants sat and sulked most of the summer and then as fall temperatures arrived all of a sudden the plants started to grow. Good thing I didn’t pull them out! I have alway grown onions from sets so this was my first attempt at seeds. Sets are so much faster to grow but the Walla Walla onions are up and have a good 12″ of growth on them so that’s a good thing.
It’s hard to believe there is so much growing in the kitchen garden this month. Broad beans are up in one raised bed. Broad beans are often grown in the fall and will overwinter to give you a crop in late spring. They can also be planted once again in early spring for a summer crop of tender beans. Not only are broad beans a good source of protein, they also help fix nitrogen in the soil.