Plant a cool-season vegetable garden

Get our crop list and growing guide, and enjoy homegrown greens in fresh salads and stir-fries all winter

Cool greens planting plan

Thomas J. Story

Cool greens planting plan

Overall size is 13 feet long, 8 feet across. Each bed is 3 feet wide.

Plant low growers in front and tall ones in back so all crops can get full sun.

Cover the 2-foot-wide center path and the soil around the perimeter with a 2-inch-thick layer of fine bark mulch.

Irrigate plants slowly and deeply; we used a drip system, but soaker hoses would work as well. 

Click ahead to see our crop list, growing guide, and serving suggestions.

Planting secrets from Sunset associate garden editor Johanna Silver

Thomas J. Story

Planting secrets from Sunset associate garden editor Johanna Silver

Design I love the keyhole-shaped bed! It frames the planting so the crops never look out of control as they grow.

Soil I till the bed with a garden fork to remove rocks and break up clumps before raking the soil smooth. Then I cover the soil with a few inches of compost, till that in, and rake again.

Planting I start most of the seeds indoors in September ― except arugula, which I sow directly in the ground ― then transplant seedlings outdoors six to eight weeks later. (In cold climates, plant in spring.) I always sow extra seeds in case some don't germinate, and I keep excess seedlings in case any plants in the ground fail.

Spacing Though I follow the recommendations on the seed packets, I space seedlings on the tighter end of the range so the beds will look lush.

Harvesting When arugula reaches 4 to 6 inches tall, I shear it down to 1 to 2 inches tall so it will regrow. Once chard, kale, and mustard have developed about eight leaves, I pick their outer ones so the plants keep producing. 

More: Your guide to cool-season crops

Lettuce

Thomas J. Story

Lettuce

'Marvel of Four Seasons', a heading heirloom variety, has sweet-tasting, wavy bronze-tipped leaves. 

More:  How to grow lettuce

Curly-leafed kale

Thomas J. Story

Curly-leafed kale

Super-ruffled 'Winterbor' is a vigorous grower that stands up to cold temperatures. Leaves turn sweeter after frost. 

More:  How to grow kale

Mustard

Thomas J. Story

Mustard

Bright lime 'Green Wave' has frilly leaves and won't bolt (rush to seed) as fast as other mustards when weather warms. 

  • Chop greens and simmer in chicken stock with slices of ginger and bean-thread noodles.
  • Sprinkle chopped greens into risotto.
  • Mix greens into rice dressing for roasted turkey or chicken.
More: How to grow mustard

Swiss chard

Thomas J. Story

Swiss chard

The sturdy stalks of 'Bright Lights' come in a rainbow of colors, including gold, pink, red, and white; the frilly leaves are dark green. 

More:  How to grow Swiss chard

Romanesco broccoli

Thomas J. Story

Romanesco broccoli

The multipointed chartreuse heads of 'Veronica' have a texture and flavor similar to mild, nutty cauliflower. 

Great ways to use it:

  • Steam florets and toss while still warm with your favorite vinaigrette.
  • Sauté florets in butter with oil-popped mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
  • Roast florets with olive oil, olives, and halved shallots.
 

Broccoli raab (Rapini)

Thomas J. Story

Broccoli raab (Rapini)

Leaves and small florets of 'Spring Raab' have a slightly stronger flavor than broccoli. 

Cauliflower

Thomas J. Story

Cauliflower

'Cassius' has round, creamy white heads that reach 7 to 8 inches across, with a rich flavor. 

More:  How to grow cauliflower

Green onion

Thomas J. Story

Green onion

Both the white and green parts have a strong, zesty flavor.

More:  How to grow green onions

Lacinato kale

Thomas J. Story

Lacinato kale

Bumpy gray-green leaves of 'Nero di Toscana' are tasty, ornamental, and extra hardy. 

Great ways to use it:

  • Blanch, then add to penne pasta along with cooked Italian sausage.
  • Pan-fry in extra-virgin olive oil with preserved lemon and red chile flakes.
  • Simmer until tender, chop, and layer into meat or vegetarian lasagna.
More: How to grow lacinato kale

Savoy cabbage

Thomas J. Story

Savoy cabbage

Lime green 'Alcosa' forms tight heads, ideal for closely spaced planting.

Great ways to use it:

  • Braise with olive oil, onions, bacon, and caraway seeds.
  • Chop coarsely and pan-fry in butter with diced potatoes.
  • Steam individual leaves until just tender, then use the leaves as wraps for steaming fish.
More: How to grow savoy cabbage

Arugula (Italian)

Thomas J. Story

Arugula (Italian)

Tender leaves add bite to salads and other dishes. For best flavor, harvest them when they're 4 inches tall. 

Red Butterhead Lettuce and Arugula Salad with Tangerines and Hard-Cooked Eggs

Thomas J. Story

Red Butterhead Lettuce and Arugula Salad with Tangerines and Hard-Cooked Eggs

Here's a tasty way to bring your garden to the table.

Recipe:  Red Butterhead Lettuce and Arugula Salad with Tangerines and Hard-Cooked Eggs

Printed from:
http://www.sunset.com/garden/fruits-veggies/winter-greens-planting-plan-00400000052086/