By Ian Wilson, Portland Edible Gardens
Summer is in full swing. Spring greens have wilted away in the heat, tomatoes are starting to ripen on the vines, zucchini’s broad canopy is attempting a coup of the rest of the garden and a fruitful season is upon us.
It can be easy, in the midst of such abundant harvests, to forget about the opportunities for planting at this moment. Still there are many opportunities for planting that shouldn’t be missed, now and in the weeks to come.
Planting cool season veggies now will yield an abundance in the fall and winter months. Late July-early August is actually a critical window for planting many vegetables that will mature in the fall and winter months ahead.
Many home gardeners attempt to plant “fall vegetables” in the fall, which turns out to be a solid two to three months too late for growing successful cool season crops.
These vegetables, while they love to mature in the cool months ahead, need the long hot days of late summer to get started on their journey. With a good start in the heat of late summer, they will cruise into their maturity in September and on into the fall.
Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower and Kohlrabi
Plant these from starts now for a one time fall harvest. The same veggies planted in mid-August will be harvestable in the winter as a succession planting.
Carrots, Beets, Turnips and Rutabagas
These roots are at their absolute peak sweetness when harvested in the dead of winter. They take a long time to mature (especially beets and carrots) and should be planted ASAP from seeds for an abundant winter harvest.
Kale, Collard Greens and Chard
This trio of hardy greens will provide a continuous harvest in the fall and winter when planted now from starts. Spraying weekly with organic “Bt” (Bacillus thuringiensis) can help protect them from cabbage moths.
Dill, Cilantro and Parsley
These annual herbs are great options for late summer. Dill and cilantro are easily grown from seeds or starts, but have a shorter harvest window and will be ready in late summer. Parsley planted from starts will be harvestable all through the winter.
A workhorse in the garden and kitchen, lettuce can be planted in many seasons. Plant every two to three weeks until early September to have a continuous harvest from late summer until deep into the fall. Choose heat tolerant or bolt resistant varieties for planting in July and August.
Scallions and Leeks
These veggies should be planted from starts ASAP. Scallions will mature in late summer and leeks will mature for a winter harvest.