In the past couple years, I have learned that harvesting fresh food from the garden does not have to stop in the winter in the PNW. I would like to plant now for the winter, and would like to know what successes other PNW gardeners have had with winter harvests. Mine that I harvested all winter and survived snow, hard freezes etc:
Stir fry greens: Mizpoona, Kale, endive, japanese mustard spinach, pak choi, red mustard (Renee’s stirfry mix),
purple sprouting broccoli
I haven’t tried (yet) to grow things to harvest during the winter, but I have grown kale and garlic successfully to overwinter for harvest in the early spring. I tried cauliflower and brussels sprouts but they died… the wala wala onions I started in fall WOULD have survived if not for the evil digging squirrels. I think if I had protected them a little with a cloche tunnel or something they would have fared better. This year I plan on making a little hoop house over one of my raised beds to see if I can keep some yummies going all winter. :)
Did you grow your sprouting broccoli and raab from seed? if so, have any extras? ;)
and WestCoast seeds has an awesome chart / tutorial for winter gardening and overwintering veggies, you can find it at this link (PDF file)
or go to their website and look in the “gardening resources” tab.
shrugs I have never done this before, but am beginning this year. Planting kohl rabi, turnips, radishes, purple curly kale and swede.
Thanks for sharing your successes, everyone! :)
seems like most root crops do pretty well through the winter here. some extra mulch is typically enough to prevent mush from freezing. some weirder root crops, like sunchokes, groundnuts, and crosne, store well in the ground.
cabbages hold just fine, particularly if they’re covered with straw. brussels sprouts and kale taste a whole lot better after a few freezes.
squash, at least Cucurbita maxima and C. moschata, that are allowed to completely ripen, then cured, store well in a cool dark place for quite a while. some for over a year.
scorzonera (Scorzonera hispanica) can provide salad greens through most of our winters. it doesn’t keep growing, but it tolerates frost pretty well.
my own plan is to grow a winter garden on top of a gigantic woody compost pile to provide some extra warmth (and carbon dioxide). could be a disaster, but the pile will also be heating my home and provide next year’s mulch, so all will not be lost. probably not an option for most folks, I suppose.
That west coast seed link is awesome, thanks! I just bought a pack of purple sprouting broccoli seeds— will plant soon and after planting would be happy to send you any extras, bcgarden! Last year I planted them sept 1 and some plants produced sprouts in early spring and some are only producing sprouts now. I am ordered by my family to plant a lot more this year. I just need my spring carrot planting to hurry up and mature so I can use that space. I have also harvested greens from the broccoli leaves.
tralamander, i just learned that swede is rutabaga. Never thought of growing this, or knew that name for it. Is it tasty?
puu thanks. Hadnt thought about Scorzonera hispanica (black salsify)—sounds interesting. Let us know how the compost pile works out.
Swede does well for stews, and can be a more colourful replacement to potatoes. It’s not ‘tasty’ in the way potatoes aren’t tasty. I’m sure there are ways of frying it too – one could make chips from it, and I know I’ve had crisps made from it. Beetroot crisps are very nice, guys. :)
ooh! i’ve got three kales & collards that i just started & i plan to keep them going. i looooooooove kale! also interested in sprouting broccoli & kohlrabi.
do people have tips about where to grow? we have a patio in full sun that is for containers & raised beds in part sun.
also anelson, where did you get your sprouting broccoli seeds from?
bois… I got them from City People’s, a seattle gardening store that carries locally produced seed like Ed Hume, Territorial.
Both Territorial and Ed Hume produce purple sprouting broccoli seed.
bois—i think the more sun the better, in the winter. This time of year part shade is probably fine. Greens and broccoli like fertile soil, regular water.
bcgarden2010, thanks for the link to the PDF. According to it, I’d better get my planning in gear. I have the seeds … I just need the space. My cold crop beds are still producing from early this year. I’ve asked my husband to make me a few new beds next weekend … we’ll see if he can. It may already be too late to start a few things, but it won’t hurt to try, right?
@KathN, yeah, this chart is perfect for our climate in the PNW. I love that they are so close, so I know the climate they grow their seeds in is the same as mine. :) I hate it when I read a seed packet that tells me to sow something, for example, “…in April when the soil has warmed up…” and I’m like, “WTF? The soil doesn’t really warm up until June or July!”. Although, this year we are still waiting for that warmth, eh? hahaha… :/ o well!
anelson – oh great! that’s where i would go anyway, it’s nearby :-)
there is alos this planting chart http://westsidegardener.com/quick/winter_veggies.html
I started planting for my fall/winter veg today. I have to admit, having only planted in spring before (even if it’s been late spring), it’s odd planting with an eye toward November.
How are everyone’s winter gardens doing? I dont have much to harvest yet, except kale, green onions, chard, parsely, and arugula. The corn salad i must have planted too late as it is alive but still puny. Lettuces and peas got pretty munched, probably by slugs, so i am only getting a little. I have great hopes for the purple sprouting broccoli as the plants are huge. My fall broccoli and fall brussels sprouts only just now are producing small heads. Maybe i didnt fertilize them enough. The snow and cold didn’t seem to bother anything.
Rhubarb is breaking dormancy.
I’m now starting a few starts for spring indoors —lettuces, celeriac, asparagus, raab, pak choi. probably too early but i figured i can grow these indoors under lights in containers as long as necessary.
I also started caraway outdoors in containers and it sprouted and the little babies weren’t bothered at all by the snow.
Nasturtiums are still blooming, and the pak choi is steadily growing.
Brassicas got no attention, so I got no brassicas. :)
Now the winter garden is producing a lot—Purple Sprouting broccoli is very close to harvest, and I am regularly picking lettuces, mustard greens, corn salad, arugula, kale, green onions, chives, parsely, chervil, rhubarb, and the flower buds from the bolting brassicas which are good in stir fry.