Personal tools
You are here: Home ›› Learn ›› Resources ›› Garden Almanac ›› September ›› Overwintering Crops

Overwintering Crops

Learn about planting overwintering veggie and cover crops.

You can sow a couple of types of plants now that will "overwinter" or grow slowly in your garden through our chilly, wet winter. Try salad greens to provide winter vegetables and cover crops to build your soil.

  • Salad greens can be sown from late September into the first weeks of October; don't plant too soon because small plants (1 or 2 inches tall) overwinter better than larger plants. Look for varieties that are specifically noted as winter crops. This includes many Asian greens, chard and spinach varieties.
  • Cover crops can be sown now to provide nutrients and organic matter for next year’s garden. Try a cover crop mix of rye, vetch and clover (available at nurseries) or, for a later planting (until early November if the weather stays good), try fava beans.

Overwintering plants have unique soil fertility needs to help them survive the cold and thrive when spring arrives. The goal is balanced growth throughout the fall and early winter. Don’t provide too much nitrogen because it produces fast growth full of water, which makes plants more susceptible to frost damage. In the spring, top-dress the soil around the plants with a high-nitrogen organic fertilizer or composted manure to spur faster spring growth.

In an established garden, the nutrients necessary for fall plant establishment can be supplied by cover crops and compost. Incorporate well-rotted compost into the entire garden bed. The comparatively warm soil temperatures of fall allow soil bacteria to mineralize the nutrients in the compost, making them available to winter vegetables.

Contact our Garden Hotline for more information or to get custom answers to your specific questions, (206) 633-0224. Get more information on organic gardening topics in Tilth Alliance's "Maritime NW Garden Guide" or ”Your Farm in the City.” Check out our list of classes.

Document Actions
powered by Plone | site by Groundwire Consulting and served with clean energy