This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

new winter harvest calendar

To improve on my timing for winter harvest crops, I've added a Winter Planting Calendar to my online planting calendar. I added a link on the sidebar and here too: Winter Planting Calendar.

I was reading on the Johnny's Seeds website:

Winter harvest crops are planted in late summer or early fall for harvest throughout the winter. ... for harvest before and during the "Persephone Period," when day length is less than 10 hours and plant growth essentially reaches a standstill.
You can look up when daylight falls below 10 hours in your town using this site: USNO Duration of Daylight Calculator. For me, its November 10.

I've tried for many years to get a cold frame full of greens to eat all winter. One winter I was successful with a good crop of spinach. Usually I plant too late; the crop holds over the winter and begins to grow again in spring for a nice spring harvest. This is good too. Some winters, its just too cold and the crops are killed.

Using my new calendar I now know that its definitely too late to plant lettuce for winter harvesting. I have some seedlings I planted several weeks ago that should be good. But maybe I could get away with sowing some spinach and arugula seeds this weekend. I'm working on putting together a cold frame or some covered hoops in my garden.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Persephone info - great tool! One thing though, your link to info for individual vegetables generated a 404 error.

Thanks again - I learn a lot from all your postings!

August 31, 2014 3:04 PM

Blogger kathy said...

OK thanks! I fixed that. Don't know where it previously linked, but these days I like to use Johnny's Selected Seeds compiled culture info. Probably other seed sites have good info too, but they are nearby me.

Let me know any other glitches!

August 31, 2014 5:23 PM

Anonymous auntie beak said...

this is great info, kathy, thanks. i'll be using it to update my own fall crops spreadsheet (the idea for which i got from you in the first place).

August 31, 2014 7:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adding in first frost dates would make the calendar even more useful.

September 01, 2014 10:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the very cool calculator!

I am in a similar zone [early November "Persephone Period"] and just this weekend planted mache in a mini hoop house and claytonia and tatsoi in cold frames. My goal is also greens all winter! Good luck!

September 01, 2014 12:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting. In the past, I've managed to grow collards overwinter a couple times, and leeks once. No protection, just a relatively sheltered location.

September 01, 2014 8:27 PM

Blogger kathy said...

I think a first frost date is more useful for "fall planting" where you do not provide shelter for the plants and want to have them grown, harvested and out of the ground before the frost. My fall planting calendar is useful this and uses the first fall frost as input. With winter planting, the plants have protection or either hoops or cold frame that should protect during the winter so the frost is not as important as the time that the plants stop growing due to lack of sunlight.

September 01, 2014 10:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks much for the winter calendar.Today I went to the hardware store and picked up some more radish seeds thinking maybe it was the right time to plant my fall crop.Using your calendar, I see that it is in fact the exact day to plant! That said, huge rainstorm is coming so better to plant tomorrow after the washout. I also found a mesclun lettuce mix from botanical interests specifically designed for cool season planting and put that in 10 days ago. It's called sassy salad and you can plant up to 2 weeks before frost. Love the fall planting season!

September 06, 2014 10:24 AM


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