Gardening Articles

Establishing the Fall and Winter Garden

West of the Cascades, germinating fall and winter crops in the heat of summer is always difficult. Even when the entire garden is well watered, midsummer sowings require daily attention and frequent sprinkling; however, once they have germinated, keeping little seedlings growing in an

irrigated garden usually requires no more water than the rest of the garden gets. But once hot weather comes, establishing small seeds in the dry garden seems next to impossible without regular watering. Should a lucky, perfectly timed, and unusually heavy summer rainfall sprout your seeds, they still would not grow well because the next few inches of soil would at best be only slightly moist. A related problem many backyard gardeners have with establishing the winter and overwintered garden is finding enough space for both the summer and winter crops. The nursery bed solves both these problems. Instead of trying to irrigate the entire area that will eventually be occupied by a winter or overwintered crop at maturity, the seedlings are first grown in irrigated nurseries for transplanting in autumn after the rains come back. Were I desperately short of water I'd locate my nursery where it got only morning sun and sow a week or 10 days earlier to compensate for the slower growth.

Previous: Summer: How to Fluid Drill Seeds
Next: Vegetables to Start in a Nursery Bed

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