Sunday, October 17, 2010

Beets, Bok Choy and Brussels Sprouts – A Winter Vegetable Garden

Beets, Bok Choy and Brussels Sprouts – A Winter Vegetable Garden

 Photo corteousy of

Gardeners in the low desert of the southwest are gearing up for another gardening season and perhaps the bigger of the two. Fall and winter gardening plants choices are greater and the weather is milder.

Soil and air temperatures impact the germination of seeds and the growing of the plants themselves. When air temps are still over 100 degrees during the day, the evenings are still warm as well. These conditions are not favorable for the tiny seeds to burst open with life. Many vegetables can be started indoors on a very sunny windowsill or counter and transplanted outside in the garden when the temps are less than 90 degrees during the day.

There are many plants which grow during this cooler season but some of the common ones are beets, bok choy and brussels sprouts. Of these three, brussels sprouts have the highest amount of protein and fiber – too bad they get such a bad wrap by so many people!

These three plants also represent three different species of plants. Beets are called root vegetables because we typically eat the root or the beet root; bok choy is a leaf vegetable because we eat the leaf and it doesn’t produce a separate vegetable and the Brussels sprouts are part of the cole crops (Brassica oleracea) like cabbage and broccoli.

Root, leaf and cole crops are the three species that grow best in cooler weather. Many of them will sit and wait to grow until the weathers cools down if planted in warmer weather.

Here are a few planting tips to ensure a successful fall garden:

1. Wait until it is below 90 degrees to plant in the garden
2. However you can begin to prepare the garden bed. Remove any dead or diseased summer plants.
3. Amend the soil – it has been depleted of most nutrients by the summer crop and the heat and sun.
4. Add organic mater like compost, earth worm castings, even bury your kitchen vegetable scraps.
5. Only turn your soil deeply if it is heavy clay soil and needs a lot of amendments.
6. Otherwise just mix in the organic matter into the top 6 inches or so.
7. Water the garden well and wait a few weeks before you plant seeds or transplants.
8. Read the back of the seed pack for instructions specific to that plant. This will also help ensure greater success.

Just remember to be patient with the plants, keeping soil uniformly moist especially when the plants are young. Some of these plants will take up to 90 days before the vegetable forms and if all the seeds are planted at the same time, they will mature at the same time. When it is time to plant, sow seeds at two to three week intervals to extend the length of time to harvest throughout the season.

Growing your own food is fun and rewarding. It is a great way to spend time outdoors and get some exercise. Share the surplus with neighbors, or learn to ‘put up’ the harvest by canning or freezing. You will be glad you did when you taste fresh grown vegetables this winter.


Sweet Life Garden said...

Thanks for the great advice, this summer does seem to be dragging on a bit!

mysisterdalesgarden said...

Goddess, those beets look wonderful. I haven't planted my winter garden yet---but soon.
Please visit my garden in the photo gallery 1


AZ vegetable gardens (12) arizona gardening (12) compost (10) Garden Goddess (9) Down 2 Earth Gardens (8) Phoenix (7) permaculture (6) vegetable Gardens (6) AZ (5) bermuda grass removal (5) community garden consultant (5) edible gardens (5) gardens (5) monsoon rains (5) Garden planning (4) seed saving (4) Community Gardens (3) Companion planting (3) Garden design (3) Soil (3) apple trees (3) beets (3) computer garden design tools (3) desert (3) fall planting (3) herbs (3) low desert gardening (3) low desert winter gardens (3) mosquitoes (3) mulching (3) rain harvesting (3) Garden Maintenance (2) Gardening tips (2) Master Gardeners (2) Rain barrels (2) Squash Bugs (2) Swiss Chard (2) Three sisters garden (2) amending soil (2) apple (2) basil (2) bats (2) citrus (2) design (2) earth day (2) edible (2) flowers (2) gardening (2) green peppers (2) mint (2) nematodes (2) pruning (2) rain guage (2) rosemary (2) soil secrets (2) sustainable gardens (2) tomatoes (2) tree (2) "Bill McDorman" (1) ARMLS (1) African marigolds (1) Blossom End Rot (1) Christmas Cactus (1) Clay (1) Coirn (1) Companion planting. (1) Contest (1) Cornville (1) Corriander seed (1) Deswrt gardening (1) Doreen Pollack (1) Double digging (1) Fall garden clean up (1) Fall gardens (1) Gambusia (1) Garden Tools (1) Garden books (1) Garden workshops (1) Grden Journals (1) Healing Gardens (1) Heirloom seeds (1) Home Staging (1) Humus (1) Japanese beetles (1) Johnny Jump-ups (1) Kohlrabi (1) Loam (1) Mesquite Flour (1) Microorganisms (1) Phoeniz (1) Pole Beans (1) Red amaranth (1) Sand (1) Sierra Club (1) Slow Food Phoenix (1) Soil Food Web (1) Squash (1) Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes (1) Toby Hemenway (1) Tree Pruning (1) Wildlife habitats (1) amaranth (1) artichoke seeds (1) bachelor button (1) bermudal grass removal (1) bird netting (1) bok choy (1) broccoli rabe (1) brussel sprouts (1) bugs (1) cilantro (1) compost. bugs (1) corn cups (1) cutworms (1) dandelion greens (1) digging (1) dirt (1) earthworks (1) eating from the garden (1) edible cactus (1) edible container garden (1) feeding fruit trees (1) fertilizer (1) fleas (1) flies (1) flower gardens (1) food (1) frost (1) fruit trees (1) garden (1) garden bed preparation (1) garden coaching (1) garden disease control (1) garden journal (1) gardening quiz (1) grass (1) green (1) green beans (1) green features (1) green gift giving (1) grren beans (1) harvesting (1) heirloom (1) holloyhocks (1) home selling (1) how much to plant (1) infections (1) injury in the garden (1) ladybird (1) ladybud (1) lavender (1) leafy greens (1) leaves (1) lettuce (1) mosquities (1) mosquito control (1) mycorrhizae (1) native foods (1) native seeds (1) natural mosquito repellant (1) natural mosquitoe repellant (1) new garden (1) olive trees (1) on-line garden club (1) oregano (1) palo verd tree (1) pansies (1) peach (1) peach trees (1) peaches (1) permaculture design (1) permaculture design course (1) pest control (1) pesticides (1) plastic (1) poor drainage (1) praying mantis (1) prickly pear (1) professional gardener (1) protecting fruit trees from birds (1) radicchio (1) radishes (1) rain water (1) rain water harvesting (1) ratoons (1) recycle (1) root rot (1) second crop (1) soil building (1) soil secrets. nitrogen (1) soil testing (1) southwest vegetable gardens (1) spinach (1) squash vines (1) stock (1) summer (1) sunflower (1) sunflowers (1) surface water (1) sustainability (1) sweet peppers (1) tilling (1) tomato (1) transplant (1) trash (1) trees (1) vegetable (1) vegetablvegetable Gardens (1) violas (1) water use (1) waterharvesting (1) watering a garden (1) weather (1) wildflowers (1) wind (1) xeriscape plant (1) year-round gardening (1)