In California where we can grow year-round, crops are often referred to as “cool season” or “warm season.” I’ve always liked these terms from a planting perspective: few crops like to be planted in the dead heat of summer or deep cold of winter. So we plant for the summer harvest when it’s warm instead of hot, and for the winter when it’s cool, not cold. By October 15th or so, everything for your cool season garden should be planted. Any later and it gets too cold for seeds to germinate well, or seedlings to get large enough to produce before frosty weather slams everything into crawl mode.

‘Ruby Streaks’ and ‘Southern Giant Curled’ mustards; Red Russian kale

The cool season here is wonderful for crops from the cabbage family (Brassicaceae). I harvested our first mustards for cafe plates this week: Ruby Streaks mustard, Southern Giant Curled mustard, and Red Russian kale. CA Early White garlic and French Red shallots went in last week, and the garlic has already sent up shoots! These will over-winter, do most of their growing in the spring, and be ready for harvest in May-June. Hardy annual flowers and bulbs are in now and will over-winter, too. Sweet peas (Lathyrus), Bachelor’s button (Centaurea), Anemone and Ranunculus will bring first color to the garden in Spring –  a great way to head-start the year.

Sending empathy and energy to those affected by the season’s fires.


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