Gardening has become, in the last few years, a wonderful way in which I release. It grows alone, and well, even when I forget about it for a few days. Composting kitchen scraps and weeds to make black soil is such an easy way to make rich dirt. I enjoy pulling black earth from beneath my compost pile, knowing that I made this! Last week I spent some time pulling up carrots and beets, finding all of the Jerusalem artichokes (if you were wondering what those tree-like flowering bushes were on the left), turning down the tomato plants, and planting a winter rye as a cover crop.
I enjoy knowing how my food is grown. This year my tomatoes and peppers did wonderfully. Last year we had an abundance of potatoes and broccoli.
I recommend referencing a book by Joan Gussow. Her book, This Organic Life, may be found online for a quick peak. My copy is full of markers noting Gussow’s year round planting advice. I thought I’d share the following notes that I’ve found helpful from her book and from my own experience. Enjoy!
Crops to consider for the winter: Buckwheat & Barley. Mache, lollo rosa salad mixes that survive 10 degree weather in a cold frame are great too.
Feb or March, begin artichoke seedlings inside. Plant can go outside in May to get an artichoke in the fall.
Spring planting outside: Snap Peas, Bok Choy, spinach, carrots, beats, potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, and green beans. (Start broccoli, tomatoes, and peppers inside.)
Late May – Sweet Potatoes – take newspapers topped with grass clippings, when soil is 70 degrees, slit paper and push through rooted sweet potato (sprouted sweet potatoes put in water, if they don’t root in week, flip the cutting over). Let the sweet potato ramble, and begin digging them up in September. When sweet potatoes are cut, they need to cure in a warm (80 degrees) humid place for a week.
Transplant indoor plants outdoors.
Ground Cherries, the fruit keep indefinitely as long as you leave them in their husks. The plant produces fruit from June through September.
When spinach went to seed in the summer, we planted parsnips in the same bed as a winter crop. Plant Parsnips, sauté in Feb or January or make parsnip pancakes.
June – broccoli seeded outdoors – when harvesting broccoli heads, cut the stem just above the first two leaves so that the sturdy stalk would send up new shoots for a second crop in early fall.
My brussels sprout just needs a little more time this year… Photo Sept. 2012.
Plant kale: Fall planting.
August – seeded outdoors, carrots, beets, winter salad and spinach
Cover crops: Rye or Austrian winter bean planted in October three weeks before a good frost. We did this last fall, the fall of 2011. We ended up sewing some of them back into the soil in March. Some was left to grow until May, when I pulled it and used it as a base to plant my tomato plants. My aunt and uncle have a method for tomato growing perfected. Check out a blog all about their home and garden at
See this site about year-round gardening tips too: Vegetable Gardening Online
This was a shot in September 2012 that we took after harvesting the Jerusalem artichoke trees… oh there’s an entire garden behind them!