Three Reasons to Grow Cool Season Vegetables
In all the excitement of starting your tomato seeds, don't forget about the accommodating "shoulder seasons" in your edible garden. Spring and fall are easy times to grow. Plant now!Many of the crops want to be direct sown in the soil. This means no indoor seed germination for you. * You have a chance to fool around in your vegetable garden when the air is cool (unlike those hot days of August). Weeding is more fun when it's 60°F instead of 95°F. * For Californians, and others in summer droughts, Mother Nature often does a lot of the watering for you in spring and fall.
1. Direct SowingIn our video about direct sowing, Tricia plants seeds straight into moist soil in her raised beds. Peas, greens and lettuces, and root vegetables all do well when directly sown in cool, springtime soil -- which makes them ideal for novice vegetable gardeners. Sow from July on too -- a perfect time for root vegetables, like our 'Joan' rutabagas, that want to start in midsummer soil and keep on growing through the fall. Check with your local Master Gardeners for the best time to sow your fall garden. In Nevada County we usually sow our fall gardens in the first week of August.
2. Weed on Cool DaysOh, those sweltering summer days -- there's a reason they call it "corn-growing weather". Corn, tomatoes, beans, and more thrive in the heat. Gardeners? Not so much. With a spring or fall garden you can weed even at high noon. In the summer you might have to fall out of bed at 6 a.m. to beat the heat.
3. Save on WaterWhat would you say if someone offered you free irrigation for your garden? You'd probably jump at the chance. Use the spring and fall rains to nurture your crops. Summer spells drought for many states, with our unpredictable weather -- and it's always a dry summer in most of the West.
Starter Tin of Cool Seasoned Vegetables
Get growing this spring with the 10 organic seed packets in our Frost Kissed Spring or Fall Mix Seed Tin. If you plant the greens, radishes, and peas in full sun now, you should have a harvest by Memorial Day. You can grow some of these during the summer in part-shade, and certainly sow them again in August for a fall crop. Depending on your climate, you can keep harvesting these through the winter, with row covers as extra protection, if you need it. The tin is a bargain and it's handsome enough to be a gift.
Plant a cool season bed Why not dedicate one of your raised beds, or a section of your garden, to cool season vegetables? Plant the bed in rows, or try some geometric shapes. The radishes work as row markers or edgers, since they germinate the most quickly. Use the 24" tall kales, chards, broccoli, and cauliflowers as central plants, surrounded by 12" tall spinaches and pak chois. Our seed packs give you full planting information -- from desired soil temperature to crop storage.
Direct sow these cool season vegetables and make the most of your garden!
If you like the look of these seed tins, see the other specialty seed tins we created. We have seed collections to make theme gardens for kids, cooks, crafters, flower lovers, and so on -- plus the tins function as secure storage for seed packs.