How-To Video: Planting Cool Season Veggies

In temperate California gardens, there are two seasons for veggies, warm season and cool season.  Cool season is from October through March.

Selection

  • Leaf crops, like chard, lettuce, cabbage. Root crops like beets, turnips, carrots (best from seed.) Peas, broccoli and cauliflower.

 

Soil Preparation

  • Full sun area, w/ regular water (either you or an automatic sprinkler)
  • Level the area and incorporate E.B. Stone Flower and Vegetable Planting Mix into soil and E.B. Stone Vegetable Food
  • Dig holes for the plants.

 

Watering

  • After planting, water plants thoroughly.
  • Water only when the soil surface becomes dry.
  • Water conserving techniques
    • Water thoroughly to penetrate roots
    • If water with a hose use the trigger function so you’re only watering the plant
    • Water between 4am – 8am to reduce water evaporation
    • Use 2-3 inches of mulch to conserve soil moisture, eliminate weeds

Feeding

  • Regular feeding is important.
    • Water-soluble types should be done every 2-3 weeks.
      • E.B. Stone Flower and Vegetable – it’s organic!
    • Granular or dry fertilizers should be done every 6-8 weeks.
      • Dry fertilizers should never touch the main stems. Cultivate into the soil.

Here are some specific tips:

Lettuces

  • Crisp-Head (“head lettuce): grows best when monthly highs are 55-60°
  • Butterhead/Boston: Loose head with green outer leaves & yellow inner leaves
  • Loose-Leaf: Best for hot areas; makes rosette rather than head
  • Romaine: common in grocery stores, fast growing
  • Feed plants a little but do it frequently
  • Harvest when lettuce is a good size. Leaf lettuces can be harvested a few (outer) leaves at a time
  • Mature lettuce goes to seed quickly—just replace
  • Water regularly
  • Watch for slugs and snails (use Sluggo--organic)

Cabbages

  • Place in full sun
  • Mature in 3 – 4 months
  • Water regularly
  • Watch for slugs and snails (use Sluggo--organic)
  • Watch for cabbage worms (caterpillars) (use “BT”—organic (natural bacillus)

Strawberries

  • Plant in fall for early spring berries
  • Plant in pots, hanging baskets or in the ground
  • Full sun, regular watering
  • Mulch to help plant stay moist & keep berries clean.
  • Remove runners as needed to prevent overcrowding

Peas

  • Bush peas grow better in smaller spaces
  • Grow tall types on a trellis for easy picking
  • Full sun, regular watering
  • Soak seeds in water overnight before planting
  • If weather turns warm & dry water at soil level: Overhead watering may cause mildew
  • Pea vines are brittle so hold vine in one hand while picking the pod in the other hand

Bok Choy

  • In cabbage family
  • Mild flavor
  • Crisp stems (stems often replace celery in recipes)
  • To harvest cut off whole plant at ground level
  • Can be eaten raw, cooked or marinated

Cauliflower

  • Prefers cool, humid climates
  • Plant in well drained soil
  • Water enough to keep soil damp
  • When head appears tie up large leaves around it to keep it white
  • Harvest head as soon as it matures

Chard

  • Also called Swiss Chard (‘Bright Lights’ and ‘Ruby Red’ look great in flowerbeds!)
  • Used for its leaves
  • Can be harvested when young & tender or when mature - tougher stems
  • Great for home gardens since it can be harvested leaf by leaf
  • Doesn’t keep long in fridge—harvest as needed