Now is the time for winter vegetables like lettuce, spinach, snap peas and bok choi.
If your garden is a little larger, asparagus, artichokes and cauliflower are ready to plant.
Vegetables are easy to grow in your own garden, cost less than store bought, and will never be fresher than picked at the moment of harvest.
The winter vegetable garden is easier to maintain. Leaf crops like lettuce will last longer in cooler temperatures. And the threat of insects is also minimized during their dormant period.
Always water conscious, the winter garden requires less water due to rain and mild days.
What then, do we grow?
Winter vegetables are generally leaf or root crops, although peas, broad beans, artichokes, broccoli and cauliflower are exceptions.
Besides the plants aforementioned, try growing greens like kale and chard, Brussels sprouts, beets, leeks, carrots and fava beans. If you have a fear of failure, few plants are as easy to grow as the delicious radish.
Vegetables require at least six hours of winter sunlight to prosper.
Avoid shade and possible root competition by putting your vegetable plot away from trees and large shrubs.
Vegetables thrive in rich soil. The addition of a “starter” fertilizer will ensure that your vegetables begin with the proper diet. Heavy clay soils should be made lighter by the addition of gypsum and humus-forming organic material like a planter’s mix, as anticipated winter rains will ruin poor-draining gardens.
Drip irrigation is the most desirable irrigating method. Water is applied deeply and evenly, sun scald of tender foliage and fruit is avoided, and runoff waste water is kept to a minimum.
Steady watering and proper fertilization will allow a vegetable garden to flourish.
See you next time.
STEVE KAWARATANI is happily married to award-winning writer Catharine Cooper. He can be reached at (949) 497-8168, or e-mail to email@example.com.