GUIDE TO PLANTS FOR YEAR ROUND HARVEST
Some plants do fairly well any time of the year. They can stand mild winters, especially with some protection from row covers. Sometimes they are less tolerant of summer heat and may need to be planted in part shade during hot summer months. Some varieties of year round plants are better suited to our area than others. Here are a few of these plants:
Beet, Carrot, Collards, Leek, Lettuce, Onion, Radish, and Chard.
ARTICHOKE: Perennial that produces edible thistles throughout summer. Prefers cooler weather than our foothills but will yield, especially with protection from afternoon sun and wind.
Green Globe—85 days. If started in the greenhouse can produce the first year from seed. Some seeds may not be true to type, so rogue those out. Plants are attractive, deer resistant, and can get quite large, 4’ x 4’ or so.
ASPARAGUS: Perennial that produces each early spring. The older it gets the more it produces. Plant in a permanent bed that is well composted. Doesn’t like to be moved.
Mary Washington—Older variety that produces well and is long lived.
BEET: Beets are extremely nutritious, and the entire plant can be eaten. Beet greens are wonderful steamed separately or on top of the chopped roots. They do not like acid soil, and prefer a loose, rich area of the garden in full sun. They do not like hot weather, so may not perform well during July and August. You can pre-soak the seeds overnight and sow directly into the bed for best germination. Plant your beets 3-4” apart and thin if they touch. Eat the thinned baby beets—they are delicious. Plant a small row of beets weekly for continued harvest.
Burpee’s Golden—58 days. Golden through and through, this beet root and the top is mild tasting. Great novelty beet that has been around since 1970.
Chioggia—55 days. A mild beet known as the bulls-eye beet because of its red and white circles when cut in half. Does not bleed like a dark red beet, and both tops and roots are very tasty. My favorite beet!
Detroit—56 days. Heirloom from the 1800s that produces a nice 3” round beet with dark green leaves. Sweet tasting.
Early Wonder—55 days. Beautiful bright green large tops with a wonderful flavor. Beets are 3”
Ruby Queen—55 days. This beet is an All-American Selections winner and produces very flavorful 3” beets. Can be used for canning, pickling or steaming. Is more adaptable to our clay soil.
CARROT: Can be planted year round but is difficult to germinate in the heat of the summer. Try a piece of plywood held up by bricks on each end over your carrot bed until seeds germinate, and keep them watered twice a day in summer. Carrot seeds are small and are barely covered with soil, so they dry out quickly. They can take 10 or more days to germinate, so don’t give up!
Cosmic Purple—58 days. This purple carrot is sweet and tasty, and kids love it!
Danvers 126—72 days. Heat tolerant and very tasty 6-7” long carrot. A real treat.
Atomic Red—75 days. Atomic Red carrot is at its best when cooked as this helps to make the lycopene more available to your body. Atomic Red carrot has 10” long tapered roots.
Red Chantenay—70 days. A Golden orange carrot that is 5"-7" long and 2" in diameter. Chantenay red cored is known for its ability to handle relatively heavy soils and still produce. Resist splitting and forking. Reliable. Chantenay red cored makes a good storage carrot.
COLLARDS: Although collards do better in cool weather, they can be harvested most of the summer. They get quite large so thin as they grow into each other, or space 18”-2’ apart. Collards can be steamed, fried, or used in soups and stews. They are a little like a cabbage/kale cross and are mild and sweet. A very nutritious vegetable.
Champion—74 days. Good disease resistance, can be grown spring or fall.
Vates—75 days. Great producer, 32” high, with tasty leaves, especially after a frost.
LEEK: Johnny’s Selected Seeds has a chart for year-round leek production. It can be done! Leeks can easily be started by sowing 100 seeds in a 6” pot 8 weeks before the last frost. Cover the seeds with a small amount of soil and place the pot in a warm, sunny window or under grow lights. Keep the tops trimmed to 3” if you want stalky plants. Plant out in a trench about 6” deep, 4” apart. As the leek grows, fill the trench in. This blanches the stalk, making it tender. Eat any thinnings but remember that leeks like to grow close together. Harvest when 1/2” in diameter but can be left to get quite large and still be tasty.
Giant Musselburg/American Flag—105 days. This leek is a very winter-hardy heirloom that can get quite tall and 2-3” in diameter. It has mild flavor. Save seeds—leek seeds do not cross with onions.
ONION: The natural cycle of an onion is to seed itself about August, grow through winter, form an onion in early summer, and form a seed stalk that will reseed itself in August again. However, onion seed can be started indoors in winter and planted out as early as February or March—onions will still be ready in summer but just won’t be as big as Fall-planted onions. To plant seeds, surface sow on a flat or in a pot, and cover with a light layer of fine soil. The onions will grow through like little hairs. Short-day onions are usually grown in the South, whereas our day length allows intermediate or long-day onions to fully develop a bulb. All our selections are long-day or intermediate day onions.
Evergreen White Bunching—70 days. Green onion tops with small bulbs. This onion can be direct seeded close together and the thinnings used in salads and soups. This is not a bulbing onion.
Yellow Sweet Spanish—110 days. A sweet yellow onion that can be stored up to 6 months. Can get quite large but always has a nice, mild flavor.
Red Torpedo—Red Torpedos are long, red-purple, spindle-shaped onions with a mild, sweet flesh. Torpedos are great for planting in small garden spaces as you can get far more in a smaller space than when compared to other onions. 110 days to maturity. Remember to enjoy them soon as sweet onions are poor keeper. Will perform well in cool weather. Intermediate day length.
Vogliotti—This is our pride and joy onion! A local heirloom handed off to Eric and Christine Taylor by the Vogliotti family. This beautiful, tasty, and mild red onion is quite adapted to our hot summers and cold winters. It grows well year round here. The best onions can be used for seed collection, if it is the only onion grown in your garden (onions will cross with one another).
Walla Walla—Mild yellow onion from Walla Walla, Washington. Does not store well.
RADISH: Really a cool weather crop, radishes can grow in all but the hottest months here. They will do better in part shade in summer, but produce a crop so fast that most of the year you will be eating radishes! Seeds are large and easy to plant, spaced 2-3” apart.
Cherry Belle—21 days. This is the typical red, round, white-fleshed radish everyone loves. Never gets pithy.
Comet—25 days. Red skin, white flesh, perfect round shape. Can be grown in hot weather.
Easter Egg—28 days. Multicolored radishes, very fun and also flavorful.
French Breakfast—28 days. This is an elongated French heirloom radish, with red top and white bottom. Tasty and attractive and just a little different.
German Giant—28 days. This red heirloom is very mild and very large. Will keep growing without getting spicy or tough. A great radish.
Pinkie—26 days. 1” pink radish with white flesh.
Purple Plum—28 days. 11/2” round, bright purple radish is beautiful and very tasty.
Watermelon—55 days. This radish is white on the outside and bright pink inside! Novel and tasty.
SALSIFY: A root vegetable planted in spring. By fall roots are ready to harvest. The second year it blooms with a purple flower beneficial insects love. (Black Salsify has a yellow flower).
Be careful not to pull it out thinking it is a weed!
Mammoth Sandwich Island: White roots. Sow in early spring and harvest roots in fall, or carry roots over the winter to see the blooms in spring. Will continue to be edible the following year.
SWISS CHARD: Chard loves spring! Seeds can be direct sown April through early August, about 4” apart and thinned to a foot apart, or start in flats in February and carefully transplant (chard does not really like being transplanted so take care not to damage the roots). Chard leaves can be steamed or used in stir fries or soups. Very nutritious vegetable.
Fordhook Giant—55 days. An heirloom from the 1920s, this is the standard green leafed chard with large white ribs. Can reach 2’ tall easily. A very tasty, dependable chard.
Magenta Sunset—55 days to mature. Bright pink ribs make this chard as ornamental as it is delicious.
Rainbow Mix—55 days. A mix of stem colors ranging from gold, pink, purple, orange, red and white. Ornamental, nutritious and delicious.
Flamingo—55 days. Tender chard with pale pink ribs. Attractive and tasty.