In the Garden ~ Prepping for Fall/Winter Plantings


By Torrie and Ryan Sessions

Here in southern California, the arrival of a new season isn’t exactly as “clear-cut” as is the case in other parts of the world.  Fall saunters its way in eventually, not always [ever] as timely or prominent as I’d prefer.  Spring, on the other hand certainly compensates for its counterpart’s delay, sprinting right in with the utmost punctuality- not only on time, but early even!  Don’t get me wrong.  A lingering summer has a wealth of benefits- benefits that serve our garden well, and our appetites even greater.   How could I not appreciate an extra month’s supply of salsa, or a few additional servings of pesto?

Benefits aside, the question of ‘when is it time to start planting?’ is not always an easy one to answer.

It really depends.  Fortunately for us, we can plant year-round.  Summer veggies will hang on well into fall.  Fall and winter crops do not have a clear-cut planting season, in which we can clear all the beds and plant anew.  Our approach this year is to pull out the veggies that are no longer producing or flowering.  Our snap peas, cucumbers, and pole beans were the first to surrender this year, withering away and showing clear signs that they were done for the season.  Our tomatoes are still 50/50.  The heirloom plants are healthy, but no blossoms- and no blossoms mean no fruit.  Therefore, they had to go.  Our ‘early girls’ showed up to the party early and are graciously staying for a nightcap.

What does this mean for you?  It depends on how your crops are producing and where you live.  Your crops may differ from year to year and your climate dictates what seeds will sprout and which plants will grow.  We use this chart for our area, which gives us optimal and acceptable planting times.  Be flexible and observant.  Your plants will tell you when they are done, and there are many resources that can help you decide what to plant next.

Photo credit: Torrie Sessions 


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