Your cool-season kitchen garden

A guide to starting vegetables for fall and winter harvest

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Cool-season kitchen garden

Norman A. Plate

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One of the blessings of gardening in mild-winter areas is the opportunity to grow many vegetables during the fall and winter months. It's no wonder gardeners are fond of the cool season: Insects are fewer, rainfall is more abundant, and weeds aren't much of a problem. What's more, the list of crops you can grow during the cool months is surprisingly long if you live west of the Cascades or Sierra Nevada or at lower elevations in the Southwest.

To demonstrate what you can grow, we planted two vegetable plots in Sunset's test garden in Menlo Park, California.

Timing is everything

One of Sunset's editors once observed: "Starting a garden is like catching a train. If you're late, you miss it." Our chart shows when to plant so you'll be on track for fall and winter harvest. You can start cool-season vegetables from seeds if you sow early enough, or set out transplants later in the season.

The advantage of seeds is their low cost and great diversity. You can order from a seed supplier by computer, fax, or phone and obtain almost any variety of vegetable you want within a few days. Nurseries carry seedlings of many winter vegetables, but their selections may be limited.


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