This is the perfect time to start seeds in preparation for transplanting Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. The cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower plants can be planted in the garden starting in November, with the Brussels sprouts following in December. Seeds can also be started in December or January for a second planting in late January or early February.
This is also the best time to direct-seed carrots, lettuce, parsnips, radishes, rutabagas, and turnips, planting seeds directly into the prepared beds. The lettuce will mature first, and it — along with the radishes — can be re-sown repeatedly throughout the fall, winter and spring. Few lettuce varieties can handle our summer heat without quickly bolting.
Spinach can be direct-sown from August through January. I recommend small, successive plantings to keep a steady supply of spinach on hand. This is also a good method for ensuring consecutive harvests of lettuce and radishes.
In our area, fava beans and peas prefer to be direct-sown in October and November. Once they are mature, picking often will help extend your harvest.
January and February is a good time to plant garlic, onion and shallot sets. Sets are young plants, sometimes with a tiny bulb at the bottom. That will also be a great time to direct-sow beets, carrots, chard and potatoes.
As with any time we plant in our yards, we would do well to take the time to prepare the soil properly so every plant has the best chance to reach its full potential. One of the benefits of a fall and winter garden is that irrigation is less of an issue, thanks to seasonal rains.
• University of California-certified master gardeners are available to answer gardening questions from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 953-6112 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions for Heather Hamilton can be sent to email@example.com.
September workshop to teach smarter gardening
Recent meteorological flukes notwithstanding, the valley’s rainy season is ended, and the summer heat is inching up. A day with the county’s master gardeners, though, might hold the answers to keeping cool, conserving water and enriching one’s outdoor spaces.
During an all-day conference in Stockton, University of California-certified San Joaquin Master Gardeners will teach how to welcome wildlife, landscape with edible plants and place trees to reduce heating and cooling costs, among other gardening wisdom.
The Smart Gardening Conference, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 24, a Saturday, costs $20 to attend. Lunch is included. Participants can register at http://sjmastergardeners.ucdavis.edu until Sept. 9.
For information: 953-6112 or firstname.lastname@example.org