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News from the Edible Demo Garden

October 2020: The Fall/Winter Garden

Photo: Chad Stembridge/Unsplash
Photo: Chad Stembridge/Unsplash
Fall has arrived and the Edibles Demonstration Garden (EDG) has begun the shift to our fall/winter garden. 

Ripen Your Green Tomatoes Indoors

We are still holding on to our tomatoes and peppers although ripening has slowed down significantly. Our winter squash is not yet ready to pick but our summer squash is at its end. Many gardeners are reluctant to let go of their summer vegetables, particularly tomatoes.  But you can pull out your tomato plants while at the same time ripening those mature green tomatoes indoors. Just wrap each green tomato in paper and store at room temperature for a few weeks. Check on them regularly for ripeness and you may still be eating tomatoes into November.

Add Compost for Your Fall/Winter Garden

Your soil has been supporting the production of vegetables throughout the spring and summer months. Before planting anything, a 1-2 inch layer of compost should be added to your beds. There is no need to dig this layer in.  Recently our team discovered in an accidental experiment the power of compost. We had added a compost layer to a half row of parsley.  It was a month later when we got back to the other half of the row.  We discovered that the plants with the compost were taller with more lush growth than the ones that had not gotten the compost yet. Don’t forget this crucial step when you prepare for your fall/winter garden.

Plants for Fall/Winter Garden

Our summer vegetables needed at least six hours of sun each day to thrive.  Our days have already shortened significantly. By the December solstice, our daylight hours will be at about 9½ hours. But there is no need to forgo that garden you want. Many of the vegetables that grow well in the fall/winter do not need as many hours of daylight that our summer vegetables do. 

Plants that need only four hours of direct sun

  • Root crops: carrots, beets, and radishes (seed directly into soil)
  • Cole Crops: broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale (buy or start seedlings inside)
  • Legumes: Peas, Fava Beans (seed directly into soil)

Plants that Can Grow in Open Shade (bright light only)

  • Arugula
  • Parsley
  • Lettuces including mixes like mesclum

Our plan for the EDG fall/winter garden includes all of the above plants.  We will try out some new varieties like watermelon radishes, Broccoli De Cicco, and Broccoli Rabe. We will also be planting Brussels Sprouts for the first time this year. 

In the following months, we will bring you updates on the progress of our fall/winter garden. Start adding compost now and you can join us in the adventure of cold weather gardening.