The Bay Area’s rainy falls and winters are so mild that we can harvest fresh produce from cool season veggies until the weather turns warm. We can even grow salad greens in containers!
With your winter salad bowl in mind, the following cool-season seedlings are now available at Sloat; broccoli, cabbage, Swiss chard ‘Bright Lights’, cauliflower, spinach, onions, artichokes, lettuces …and don’t forget our favorite fall flavors of thyme, sage, and rosemary.
Don’t be afraid to try seeds, they love the rainy weather. To make seed planting easier we are now carrying two kinds of Ferry-Morse seed sowers to make planting easier with less thinning needed. We also have several kinds of labels for those of us experiencing ‘senior moments’. If labels aren’t the right aesthetic golf tees can also be used. Other useful items would be kneepads, trowels, the new pink and purple Nitrile gloves, ‘Golden Gate Gardening’ by Pam Peirce, Surestart and Quench.
Soil prep is very easy, if the bed was amended earlier this year nothing needs to be added to the soil. If not, then planting mix would be good, this is especially important for clay soil. Nicely worked soil will drain much better and roots won’t rot when the rain comes back. Our sunny ‘Indian Summer’ days and cool fall nights are perfect for cool-season crops. The coming rain will take over the task of watering and there will be fewer pests this time of year. Sluggo is definitely recommended to keep the snails and slugs under control; they love cool, wet weather.
The brassicas (kale, kohlrabi, collards, mustard broccoli, turnips, Brussels sprouts cabbage, cauliflower) are the stars of the winter garden. They are rich in vitamin A and C, potassium, magnesium, dietary fiber, and have varying amounts of iron and calcium. The leafy varieties, such as kale and turnip greens are a good source of carotene and are wholly edible, including their sprouts, leaves and roots. Kale and collards develop their best flavor after a cold snap, the plant cells are working to convert starches to sugars to protect them against the cold. The result is a sweet, fresh taste that surpasses any store-bought greens. For the more tender vegetable we have Harvest Guard Garden Cover.