Archive for July 29th, 2011

Best Varieties for Fall and Winter Gardening

admin July 29th, 2011

Ok, we’ve already talked about the fact that a variety that overwinters beautifully in, say, Oregon or North Carolina won’t do well in Saskatchewan or Maine, so let us begin with the assumption that varieties are regional and specific, and use this thread to share widely our wisdom about what grows well in cool seasons in our particular region and place like it – that is, I’d be really grateful if you’d tell us what has overwintered well for you, or done well in fall, and also where you are and what your climate and soils are like “ie, high desert climate, cold winters, hot, dry summers, alkaline soil zone 5″ or whatever.  There’s not enough of this information out there.

Here are some of my own observations about growing here, in zone 4/5 (5 official, 4 for elevation), on my wet, thin soil in my wet, cold climate ;-) .  I had a good chance to experiment with varieties during the years we ran our CSA.

Best cold tolerant salad greens: Forellenschuss, Winter Density, Red Oakleaf  and Marvel of Four Seasons Lettuces, Mizuna (too bad I find the taste boring), all arugulas, vit and big seeded maches, beet greens (start a new crop since the little ones are best), sorrel, any mustard, pinky lettucy gene pool mustards, Fedco’s “ice bred” arugula and Collards.  Rainbow Collards, Prize Choy Bok Choy.

Best spinach: Vert and Bloomsdale Winter

Best cold tolerance in broccoli: Umpqua (OP) and Blue (Hybrid)

Best cold tolerant root varieties: Flat of Egypt and Lutz Longkeeper beet, all parsnips, Diamante Celeriac, Golden Ball and Purple Top White Globe Turnip, Oxheart and Meridia carrots (the latter are designed for overwintering – they didn’t quite for me, but did very well), any salsify and scorzonera, Gigante Kohlrabi.  Also Yellow Mangels lasted quite a long time in the ground for me – and I thought they were tasty, if a little mild.  Goats liked ‘em too.

Best fall producing pea varieties: Alderman (tall vine shelling) and Sugar Ann (snap)

Best cold tolerant leek: Blue de Solaize

Best cold tolerant favas: Lorraine

Best cold tolerant cabbages and kales – All kales  (red and white russian  are pretty hardy – red has even overwintered for me, but they do winterkill before the Tuscan and Siberians for me), Winterbor and Redbor are probably the hardiest.   Coeur de Blue, Glory of Enkhuizen, Stein’s Late Flat Dutch Cabbage, Even’star Collards, Vates Collards

Best Mustard: Osaka Purple and Green Wave

Brussels Sprouts: Oliver

Parsley - Curlys stand longer than flat, I find.

Best tomatoes for overwintering in pots: Red Robin, Balconi Yellow

Best hot peppers for overwintering in pots: Fish (this is the only one that doesn’t end the winter looking sad), Korean Dark Green, Thai Hot

Best basil for overwintering: African Blue

Best eggplant for overwintering – Pingtung Long, Fairy Tale

One important thing to do is talk to local farmers and extension agents about what they’ve tried - and check out local trials at universities.  Lots of good research going on there.

Ok, how about the rest of you?  Share your wisdom!