It seems almost impossible to think about what to plant in your fall and winter garden here in Central Oklahoma as it is still 90+ degrees Fahrenheit outside every day! As I type this, we received a heat advisory for our area ….. 103 degrees Fahrenheit today. URGH! That’s all I have to say! Yet now is the time to get those seeds and veggies into the ground in preparation for my fall and winter garden.
(This blog post is in collaboration with a sweet friend of mine, Megan, over at Simply Rooted Farmhouse. Be sure to head on over to her blog HERE and learn how to plant a great fall garden. She also shares what to plant in your fall and winter garden. She is located in Rhode Island, Zone 6, which is a bit different than me here in our 7a gardening zone. Also head over to her Instagram account as well HERE. She is cultivating an eco-friendly, simple lifestyle from her handmade home.)
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Prepare the soil before planting for fall and winter
Our soil is a very hard, red clay-like soil which needs lots of preparation before planting. Here on the farm, we have 5 areas in which I plant and garden: our raised beds, the new cut-flower garden (you can watch how we made this happen HERE), our English Cottage Garden on the north side of our home, our strawberry planter (which has more than just strawberries), and our potted and container garden which is in a few different places throughout the property. Because the ground is so hard and really needs amending each growing season, I add many different things to help the soil get what it needs to be in order to grow our food.
Regardless of where you garden at your home, it is important to amend your soil in order to help your garden produce. Adding back nutrients and minerals into your soil can help you to have a successful gardening season. In the ground or in containers, all soil should had the proper nutrients added in order to help your garden grow.
We usually add a little bit of a potting mix which we get from Lowe’s or any other garden center. This fall, we have added a little bit of this…….. It is just what I had on hand.
We always add manure. I’m thankful that we have farms around us which sell manure and we have a horse which makes plenty to use. We pile our manure up close to the stable and when it is time to plant, we grab from the bottom of the pile to add to our garden.
We always add fertilizer. My favorites are Plant Tone and Garden Tone by Espoma. I add a little bit to the area I plan on planting each time I work in the soil. I usually put a small handful into every spot where I am planting seedlings or plants as well.
Once the soil is prepared, I’m ready to plant! I love how beautiful the soil looks after it is amended.
What to plant in your fall and winter garden
We are SO lucky here in Central Oklahoma to have such a long growing season. And honestly, as I am typing, it is hard to even picture fall and winter as we still have weather in the upper 90’s (degrees Fahrenheit). It is HOT and we are still able to grow many of the hot weather crops like peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and squash. I am still harvesting purple hull peas or cow peas as well.
Although I still have many of those things growing in my gardens, I am working on putting seed in for our fall and winter gardens. Again, whether in containers or in small or large gardens, it is time to start thinking about what needs to be in the ground so it has enough time to mature and produce before the first freeze.
It is SUPER IMPORTANT to keep a garden log book of some sort. I have a sketch book that I keep track of things that happen in the garden. I got it at the Dollar Store and it works perfectly for just this. Every time I plant something, I write it down to be able to keep track of exactly what is there because I know how I am. Months into our garden and I have NO idea what is growing or where. The book reminds me of exactly where everything is!
Do you keep a log of some sort to help you remember what you have planted where? Comment below. I’d love to know what you do to help you remember.
In my log book, I try to write up a plan of what I want for my fall and winter garden. It is usually as simple as just a list of what I hope to plant and grow. The best way to decide what to plant is to look at the veggies that do better with a little cold weather. Some types of produce actually can handle a little bit of frost as well. Once I look at if they are frost hardy or not, I then write my list ……..
- BRUSSELL SPROUTS
- SHELLING PEAS
My list can go on and on and on. But this is my list this year for my what to plant in your fall and winter garden. It is funny to me because every year, I write this list and every year, not everything gets planted. Once I have my list made, I go online or honestly anywhere and purchase my seeds. To name a few of the places I purchase from: Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Burrell Seeds, Berlin Seeds out of Ohio, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Burpee, and seeds saved from last year’s harvest. Sometimes I will purchase seedlings, such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, but not this year. Seeds it is, and this year, I am direct sowing instead of starting seedlings and transplanting.
I would normally start some of my seeds in seed trays. However, this year is a bit different. When the country shut down so many of the stores, it was hard for me to find seed starting soil. I had gone to a few places but could not find it. So, instead of starting in trays, I decided to direct sow as it is still very warm here and we have plenty of time for our seeds to make it by being directly sown in the garden.
Another good thing about starting my seeds directly in the soil is that they will not go through the transplant shock that some seedlings experience.
What is that growing in your garden?
By middle to end of summer, I’m almost so tired of the garden. But I know that it has so much more to give, even if I’m tuckered out. As I mentioned above, we have a VERY long growing season. Our first expected frost date is not until November 3rd, Election Day. As of when I’m typing this, we still have 73 days of growing season left before our first expected frost. (Want to figure how to do determine the days you have left to grow something? Just ask Google. Ask her when the first expected frost date is for your area and then figure out the days. You can also call your local extension office.) We still have plenty of time to grow here in Central Oklahoma.
One of the most asked questions I receive is, “What are you growing in your garden this fall and winter?” And although that answer may be simple, it never is because it changes daily. 🙂 Right now, I have 10 different things planted for my “fall and winter garden”. I still have SO much growing from my spring and summer garden so it can be confusing sometimes as to what is technically my fall and winter crop.
This year, I ordered seeds from Johnny’s Seeds as I tried to order from a few other places without any luck. They have been in the ground now for about 2 weeks and they are looking so beautiful. These are a shelling pea, which means a little bit of work to harvest the peas but I love to do it. It is a great way to slow down, talk to God, and just be as I’m gathering them.
Beets take about 45-60 days to produce before harvest. Because we have so much time left in my growing season, I will be able to harvest them before our first frost. They also do not like hot weather, as they thrive in temperatures around 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit. These were started by seed also.
Leeks are a cold weather veggie and also a perennial. There are many different varieties of leeks being ready for harvest anywhere from 60-120 days. Leeks do not mind the cold so even though my window of fall growing will be over before they are ready, they should be fine. They will even grow during the winter months.
Oh, how I love radishes. All different kinds. White, yellow, orange, and red. They all are so amazing to me. Funny too, I’m the only one in the family who likes them! This year, I’ve planted a variety of radishes to enjoy: Crunchy King, Champion, German Giant, Diakon, Hailstone, and Cherry Belle to name a few.
Our Kale this year has been truly amazing! I purchased a 4 pack of starters last fall. I thought for sure they wouldn’t survive the winter. But as you have it, they all made it and have continued to produce all summer. Kale can handle the cooler weather as well. Did you know that kale can withstand temperatures that dip down to about 10 degree F? It also becomes much sweeter after it has gone through a frost. I do trim it down and use the leaves in my “Copy Cat Olive Garden Zuppa Tuscano” soups throughout the year. How do you use kale? Comment below as I would love to have some other recipes to use it with.
We are on our second planting of carrots this year. My first batch were fabulous and are already preserved, waiting for winter to come so we can eat them. I’m hoping to get a second harvest better than the first. We planted 9 rows of carrots in our raised beds (about 3 3/4 feet across) hoping that it will help us through the winter. As of right now, they are slowly starting to pop up which is so exciting. Some of the varieties of carrots we planted are Nantes, Black Spanish, Amarillo, Danvers 56, Tender Sweet, Imperator 58 long, Little Finger, and Long Imperator.
This year, I decided to plant some broccoli a few weeks earlier than my seeds for my fall and winter garden. There was a little bit of room between my tomato plant and where I wanted to plant my leeks. I had a few starts left that didn’t ever get into our raised beds so I stuck them in the middle of the tomato and leek planting area. They are just now starting to get big and ready for producing broccoli. Best part about waiting to plant them? I haven’t had to fight the aphids and squash bugs as I would have had to do in the spring and summer.
The cabbages are sort of funny this year. I had 6 growing in our raised bed and now are preserved into sauerkraut. But of course, I want more! I see recipes being made in the fall and winter like cabbage rolls, unstuffed cabbage soup, and ham and cabbage. Yum! I’m making myself hungry just typing this!
There were a few seedlings I had planted earlier in the spring that didn’t grow into anything. They were covered by some kohlrabi leaves which didn’t allow them to get enough light to grow any bigger. They sat there for months without growth. And then one day………………
It still amazes me that we have 4 cabbage heads growing from seedlings planted earlier in the spring.
After my tiered gardening system didn’t grow my beans as I had planned, (you can see this system on my YouTube video HERE) I decided to separate the containers and plant a cabbage in each one of them. We have 5 different varieties of cabbage seeds that I planted just yesterday: Earliana, All Season, Golden Cross, Savory King, and Red Express.
The first batch of garlic we grew only produced about 8 heads of garlic. And although 8 heads of garlic is pretty good for the first time, for us, it wasn’t enough. At the end of May, beginning of June, I searched high and low for garlic starts with no luck. I didn’t want to try with store bought garlic as they can be hit or miss with growing. A sweet friend sent me a box of garlic from the year before explaining, “I am not sure if these will grow or even produce anything but thought you could use them.” So in the ground they went. I must say, they are looking super and I am so excited to harvest them at the end of September. We placed them in our raised beds, in our cut-flower garden and in our English Cottage Garden too.
Once they are harvested and cured, another batch will go into the raised beds for spring next year.
Can you ever have too many onions? I don’t think so and I don’t even like onions. This year’s spring harvest of onions was amazing! You can actually see my video HERE on my YouTube channel where I harvested and braided our onions to preserve to use throughout the winter.
After the harvest, I had a bare spot in the garden along with a few onions starts from the set I purchased in the spring. I decided to just put them in the ground to see what they would do. I’m pleased to say, they are growing well and hope to be harvested in October or early November.
Now …….Your Fall and Winter Garden
Whether you are on a farm, in a subdivision, or in an apartment, you too can plant a fall and winter garden. Do you struggle with knowing what to plant in your fall and winter garden? Did you know that many herbs will grow in containers in your home on a window sill throughout the winter? Did you know that you can grow things like onions and leeks in containers in your backyard or on your porch? Every item that you grow helps you to be a little more self-sustainable. And there is nothing like fresh food from your own garden to help keep those winter blues away.
Will you start a fall and winter garden this year?
Be sure to check out my friend Megan’s blog at Simply Rooted Farmhouse where she also shares her what to plant in your fall and winter garden along with how to grow a great fall garden. She also shares LOTS of recipes and homemade products to help keep ya healthy and in a more natural home. (Thank you Megan for doing this collaboration with me! I’m truly blessed to have you as a blogger friend and homesteader friend! )
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