In our community garden plot in southern California, we have planted a winter garden. This area can receive frosts or freezes, but this winter of the El Nino weather pattern is forecast to be warmer than normal, so we are taking a chance that we will be successful. We have planted mostly cool season vegetables that should grow well in the cool winter temperatures as long as they don’t receive a killing frost or freeze. We are growing for a harvest time period of January through May. We planted most of our seeds in mid October. We have also planted several “batches” of lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and brussel sprout transplants. Transplants are available all winter in southern CA. We also planted some potatoes.
In addition to our winter garden we are maintaining the perennial herbs sage, rosemary, oregano, chives, and thyme. We have included in this area of the garden a few rhubarb plants and one artichoke. At this time the artichoke is growing rapidly and will bear the edible flower buds in the spring.
We have created seedling beds for this garden because we wanted to plant a large number of different varieties of cool season vegetables to feed just two people. Because there are only two of us, we wanted variety and to be able to harvest over a long period of time. Some of the seedlings we have planted include fennel bulb, carrots, beets, chard, lettuce, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, onions, bok choi, garlic, dill, parsnips, parsley, cilantro, turnips and peas. Because the temperatures will be cool especially at night, the plants will grow slowly. The abundant sunshine will encourage good growth during the short days.
In this bed we planted garlic cloves 2-3 inches deep and seeded two varieties of bok choi in alternate rows. We will start harvesting and thinning the bok choi plants very soon and add them into a salad mix. The remaining plants will continue to grow larger and will we thinned one more time before we allow a few bok choi plants to reach maturity for a final harvest of a half dozen plants. The garlic will continue to grow until it is harvested in mid summer here in southern CA. If we still have time after the last of the bok choi is harvested we will seed in another vegetable for a second spring crop. We are hoping to plant some areas three times during the year.