We’re getting our first sweet corn here (boiled exactly 2 minutes, enfolded in butter and eaten) and tomatoes, and we’re deep into blueberries and cherries, yet my thoughts are turning to the winter harvest crops.
It’s quite a disconnect if you haven’t done one before: just when you see the vegetables visibly growing, practically leaping toward the sun, it’s now that you need to be planting your winter garden. In my part of the world, I can harvest plenty of stuff out of the outdoor gardens all winter long. My leg up of course are the greenhouses but really, I am talking about outdoor winter harvesting: root crops, leeks and collards are easily grown with nothing on them but all that snow. With the minimal protection provided by row covers of agricultural cloth, I can add winterbor kale, escarole and radicchio.
Even if you’re looking forward to a garden-free winter, an autumn harvest is well within your grasp. Around the first week of July is when I am seeding fennel, kohlrabi, rapini and broccoli for the first crops of each for the year (Sept-Oct harvest). I find the warm summer days and cooling evenings of summer to be more favorable for these vegetables: they respond better, are more tender, and aren’t pithy or bitter…all their fates if they’re spring-sown. Favas, peas, second plantings of cucumbers are all going in now, as well as a second batch of summer squash. I am also seeding for a baby leek harvest in February. Succession-planting of beets, carrots and lettuce continues. In other words, it doesn’t end.