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Sunday, October 11, 2009


Winter vegetables grow in The Learning Garden from a Fall 2008 planting.

The following list is a work in progress. The initial work was done by my good friend Katarina Eriksson, a Santa Monica horticulturist of note. She has listed her favorite varieties and I have added in my own; she prefers hybrids and I prefer open pollinated - both of which we'll cover in class.

ANGELICA: Annual or Biennial Herb. Direct-seed ordinary moist loam in in shady position in early autumn, in late August or early September; requires light to germinate. Transplant the Angelica seedlings when they are about 2 inches high to their permanent position in the autumn 18 inches apart. Plant 2' apart in semi-shaded spot with plenty of water. Angelica seeds should be sowed as quickly as possible as their germination ability degrades quickly. When planting in the autumn, sow the seeds where you wish to have the plants permanently reside or in a nursery bed. Seeds should be planted half an inch deep to ensure the seeds are covered. Transplantation. Our sources disagree a bit here. The older materials provide the following advice: Transplant your angelica seedlings when still small with a space of about 18 inches between each plant. If not already in their permanent location, transplant your angelica plants in the autumn 3 feet apart. A modern resource explains that with it's long taproot, Angelica can be quite temperamental if transplanted and recommends not covering the seeds.

HARVEST: harvest leaves or stems before flowering. collect seed in late summer and year-old roots in autumn. all are edible. Will self-sow if left to flower the second year. Cut the Angelica stems down to their base in late June or early July.


ANISE/ANISESEED: Annual or Biennial /Spice, Herb. Direct sow in fall to spring about 1' apart.

HARVEST: Leaves throughout the growing season. Flowers as they open. Ripe seeds as they turn gray-green. Anise is sweet and very aromatic, distinguished by its licorice-like flavor It is used in a wide variety of regional and ethnic confectioneries, including Greek stuffed vine leaves (Dolma), British aniseseed balls, Australian Humbugs, New Zealand Aniseed wheels, Italian pizzelle. German pfeffernusse and springerle, Netherland Muisjes, Norwegian knotts, and Peruvian Picarones. It is a key ingredient in Mexican "atole de anĂ­s" or champurrado, which is similar to hot chocolate, and taken as a digestive after meals in India.


ARUGULA, (Also known as ROCKET, ROQUETTE): Annual Salad Herb. Plant seeds in place, in fall thru spring, will bolt in summer heat. Space 8"-1' apart, if too crowded they will also bolt easy. Or try it in summer in shade.

HARVEST: as soon as 4 to 6 weeks, you can harvest young leaves as desired or cut plant in half. If cut at ground level, plant seed in its place. the older the leaves the more bitter the leaf.


BEETS: Annual Root vegetable. Plant seed, 2-3 weeks before last frost. Succession crop every 3 weeks, space 4" apart. Or 16 plants per square foot.

HARVEST: Baby beets when roots are just rounding out and tender and continue until they are full size. Leaves are usable at any size. days to mature 45-60 days.

SELECTED VARIETIES: 'Red Ace' one of the best all-around red beet, 50 days. 'Early Wonder' tall, bright, glossy green leaves and slightly flattened red roots. 'Detroit', 'Dark Red', 'Golden' has orange skin, rich gold interior. green leaves, yellow stems, good for salad (and won't stain your hands or clothing so it's good when working with children)55 days, 'White Blankoma' white, slightly conical roots with strong, tall all-green tops, 55 days, 'Chioggia' is an Italian heirloom with pinkish-red and white rings, sweet flavor. 'Bull's Blood' deep burgundy leaves for salad and beautiful, dark red root, good as a baby veggie or full size. 58 days.

Annual Vegetable. Plant seed in late summer for setting out in fall for winter harvest, plants take a long time to grow, but worth it. space 12-20" apart. Set out transplants into the garden slightly deeper than they were in the container, either use several varieties with different maturation dates or do multiple plantings for a longer harvest.

HARVEST: cut off heads when they are full but flowers not yet open. sometimes new side-shoots, (mini heads) will then form and grow in a few weeks from cut stem. days to harvest 40-120.

SELECTED VARIETIES: 'Blue Wind' 49 days. 'Packman' 50 days. 'Windsor' 56 days. 'Belstar' 66 days. 'Gypsy' 58 days, 'Arcadia' 63 days. 'Green Magic' 57 days. 'Diplomat' 68 days. 'Marathon' 68 days. 'De Cicco' 48 days. 'Happy Rich' 55 days and 'Small Miracle' 54 days are mini broccoli plants that are good for smaller gardens and container plantings. Nutribud, 58 days is an open-pollinated variety with a higher concentration of glutamine and lovely edible heads; you can save seed of this one.

BROCCOLI RAAB: Annual Vegetable. Plant seed in late summer for fall/winter harvest, plants take a long time to grow, but worth it. space 12-20" apart. Set transplants into the garden lower than they were in the container.

HARVEST: Clip and bunch entire plants when buds appear, or pick buds for extended yield.

SELECTED VARIETIES: 'Sessantina Grossa' early, large buds. Thick, tender shoots and buds. Fall, winter and spring crops 35 days.'Spring Rabb' big, slow bolting 42 days. 'Spigariello Liscia' Tender, deep blue-green leaves, harvest leaves or whole plant. 45 days. all from johnny's.

Annual Vegetable. Plant seed in summer for winter. spacing 15-20" apart, pinch off top 4-6" of plant when lower sprouts are 1/2" wide. Set transplants into the garden.

HARVEST: After frost for best flavor. Sprouts should be firm, round, 1/2" to 2" in diameter. Begin harvest by snapping off the sprouts at bottom of stalk and work your way to the top as they mature. days to harvest 80-120.

SELECTED VARIETIES: 'Jade Cross', 'Rubine Red' has unique dark red sprouts. 'Oliver' 90 days and ' Diablo' from Johnny's. 'Bubbles' is a good producer too.

CABBAGE: Annual Vegetable. Plant seed in late summer, plant out transplants in early autumn. Spacing 12-24" apart. Use different varieties or plant out several different times for a more continuous harvest. Also, one could set out the really late cabbages and harvest less then full grown plants through out the season. Cabbage holds well in the soil providing it doesn't get too hot or too dry.

HARVEST: Anytime the head starts developing and feels firm. Prevent splitting by harvesting as soon as heads are mature or giving heads a quarter-turn twist while still in ground. cut across base with a knife. leave remaining stem in the ground, and tiny heads may form later. days to harvest 65-100.

SELECTED VARIETIES: Fast-maturing spring types, savory types have wrinkled, curled leaves, they can be hard to clean and snails love them. 'Ruby' is red. For Fresh eating, 'Golden Acre,' 55 days is the open pollinated variety used as the bar, 'Farao' 64 days, and 'Tendersweet' 71 days. For Storage 'Storage No 4 (F1)' 95 days and 'Danish Ballhead' is an 0/P variety at 90 days. Some Specialty cabbages: 'Caraflex' 69 pointed. 'Gonzales' 66 days, round mini cabbage. 'Kaitlin' 94 days high in vitamin C. Red types: 'Red Express' 63 days, 'Super Red 80' 73 days, 'Ruby Perfection' 85 days, 'Integro' 85 days.

CABBAGE, CHINESE: Annual Vegetable Green. Plant seed in early fall, space 12-18" apart. Chinese cabbage is one of the preferred foods of snails and slugs.

HARVEST: in winter, cut off heads; remove outer leaves. days to harvest 45-90 days

SELECTED VARIETIES: Two types MICHIHILI TALL TYPE: 'Greenwich' 50 days. and NAPA TYPE: 'Minuet' 48 days. 'Rubicaon' 52 days. 'Bilko' 54 days. 'Napa-type', bolt-resistant varieties; 'two seasons' 'Blues', 'China Express', 'Pac choi', 'Joi Choi', grows fast. 'Dwarf Mei Ching Choi' is good in pots. grow in winter only, heats makes them bolt and flower, which is also edible. SAVORY: from Johnny's 'Alcosa' 72 days. 'Famosa' 75 days. 'Samantha' 85 days. 'Deadon' 105 days a beautiful red savory with
light green interior leaves.

CALENDULA, (pot marigold): Annual or Biennial flower Herb. Sow seed late summer for all cool season bloom. Direct sow or start pots indoors in late summer and plant out in fall. May bloom all year near the beach. The name calender is derived from this flower. The bright yellow and orange flowers add color and flavor to food and drinks. space plants about 6-9" apart.

HARVEST: leaves for salad greens as needed, the flowers for salads, soups, coloring rice, cheese, cakes, and vinegars.

SELECTED VARIETIES: The heirloom plants are wild and lanky, the new hybrids should be organically grown seeds. Touch of Red is a yellow variety with red on the reverse which is stunning.

CARAWAY: Annual or Biennial Spice, Herb. Has been a flavoring and medicine for more than 5,000 years. Sow seed in ground in fall to spring, spacing 8" apart.

HARVEST: Young leaves as needed. Seed heads as they turn brown. Roots in autumn after seed harvest.


CARROTS: Root Vegetable and salad green. Plant by seed in midwinter through spring and midsummer into fall. space 1/2" to 1" apart or 16 seeds per square foot.

HARVEST: When carrots are fully colored yet tender, and the ones with the largest tops, if not sure which are biggest, dug around the root with your fingers to test the size. Days to harvest 50-75.

SELECTED VARIETIES: Nantes and Imperator hybrids usually produce well in sandy loam. Danvers hybrids tolerate both heavy and sandy soils. Tendersweet, Yaya, are good fresh eating; Healthmaster is sweet, crisp root that juices well. Minis, are god in pots or heavy soils. Grow colorful varieties such as purple dragon', White Belgium, Sweet Sunshine and Nutri-red.

EARLY VARIETIES: 'Mokum' 54 days, 'Nelson' 56 days, 'Yaya' 56 days. 'Napoli' 58 days. MAIN CROP/STORAGE: 'Vitanan' 65 days, 'Sugarsnax 56' 68 days, 'Negovia' 69 days, 'Nectar' 72 days, 'Bolero' 75 days, 'Hercules' 65 days, 'Parmex' 50 days, 'Kinko' 52 days, 'Rainbow' 57 days, 'White Satin' 68 days, 'Creme De Lite' 70 days, 'Atomic Red' 70 days, 'Purple Rain' 73 days, 'Cosmic Purple' 70 days, 'Purple Haze' 73 days,

Annual Vegetable. Plant seed in late summer for fall harvest, and again plant in fall for winter harvest. Space 18" apart or 1 per square foot. Grow self blanching varieties or blanch heads by pulling outer leaves over it and holding in place with twist ties.

HARVEST: When head is full and firm, cut at bace, do not delay harvest, as the head will grow fast and pass the harvest point in just a few days. Days to harvest 55-90.

SELECTED VARIETIES: From Johnny's. 'Snow Crown' and 'Fremont' for spring and fall crop. 'Lime Green Panther' or 'Purple Violet Queen'. For most dependable when grown from late summer to fall. Snowball is a self-blanching with small heads.

CELERY: Annual, stem and leaf vegetable. plant from seeds indoors, set out transplants at 12" spacing. A really slow grower, I don't find it's worth the labor – and home grown celery usually has a bitter, pronounced taste that I find only good for soup or stew after it's been cooked to death.

HARVEST: cut off entire head at the base. In mild climates, allow some inner stems to remain to lengthen harvest. Days to harvest 80-135.

SELECTED VARIETIES: tall Utah types such as Ventura grow steadily and mature about 100 days after transplanting. A heirloom variety Giant red has strongly flavored stalks blushed with red, best used as a "cutting celery."

CHAMOMILE, GERMAN: Matricaria recutita: Annual flowering Herb. Direct sow in autumn to spring, about 6" apart

HARVEST: flower heads as they appear for tea; tranditionally flower infusion prevents damping-off in seedlings and speeds the composting process.


CHERVIL: Hardy Annual or Biennial Spice, Herb. Essential to French cooking and almost impossible to find fresh. Grown since Roman times. Sow seed in the cool months of autumn and needs light to germinate, repeat sowings every 2 week intervals. space about 6-8" apart. If the Chervil leaves are kept cut down to the roots the new leaves will shoot up again, or new seeds can be sown for succession at regular intervals, from the end of February to the beginning of October. During the summer, sow in a shady position. Chervil can be grown indoors in pots for winter use.

HARVEST: Leaves as needed until flowering. use fresh or freeze.

SELECTED VARIETIES: Curled chervil is the best variety.

CHIVES and BUNCHING SCALLIONS/ONIONS: Perennial bulbing green Herb. Set out seeds or plants in spring. Both types go dormant in summer, then new tops grow as weather cools. some bunching scallions may bear all year. If necessary, transplant in early Spring, lift the Chive clumps and divide every 3 or 4 years. Nip out the Chive flower buds as they appear. If the Chive leaves are not used regularly, occasionally cut them down so that fresh leaves are produced. 

HARVEST: Clip leaves from chives as needed. harvest bunching onion in fall. The flowers are edible and pretty on soups and salads.

SELECTED VARIETIES: Bunching scallions 'Red Baron', 'Evergreen Long White' and 'Evergreen Hardy White'. Chives 'Grande'.

CILANTRO, CORIANDER, or Chinese Parsley: Hardy Annual Spice, Herb. This a herb and a spice. Direct-seed in fall to spring, in shade in summer. space about 6" apart. transplant may make plants bolt. Sow the Coriander seeds thinly in the herb bed in rows about 5cm (2 inches) apart during February to June (to give ongoing supply). No thinning should be required. OR Sow Coriander seeds in September/October as above for autumn/winter supply - cover with cloches to extend crop into late autumn.

HARVEST: The leaves (Cilantro) as needed, the seeds (Coriander) when brown. Roots as the plant dies. If you plant seed form the spice jar you will get a type that bolts fast, not very good for leaf.

SELECTED VARIETIES: for rounded seed "Chinese', For leaves, 'SlowBolt' and 'Long Standing'. 'Delfino' is a new variety that shows a better ability to withstand heat.

DILL: Annual Spice, Herb. Direct-sow every 3 weeks from fall to spring. They will bolt in the heat and self-sow. Sow Dill seeds in open ground in shallow drills 12 inches apart, at the end of March or beginning of April. When the Dill seedlings are old enough, thin them out to 9 or 10 inches apart.

HARVEST: Leaves as needed; cut off flowers for more foliage. Flowers when fully open for pickles, Seeds just as they turn brown.

SELECTED VARIETIES: For ferny threadlike blue-green leaves try 'Fernleaf' it grows only 18" high and is good for containers.

ENDIVE: Salad Green. Direct sow seed in late summer or fall. Space to 6-12"

HARVEST: For milder leaves by pulling them together and hold with tie. cut leaves to mix in salads or Cut young plants off at the base. Older plants turn bitter.

SELECTED VARIETIES: look for self blanching varieties. 'Frisee' is a mature head that has to be blanched for two weeks prior to harvest. 'Neos' and 'Galia' are popular.

ESCAROLE: Salad Green. Is the same species as endive but has wider, scalloped leaves and milder flavor. It's best when it matures in cool weather. Hearts are often lightly braised, which reduces their
bitterness and brings out a sweet flavor. Space to 6-12"

HARVEST: Same as endive.

SELECTED VARIETIES: 'Batavian Full Heart'.

FAVA/BROAD BEAN: Annual vegetable. Among the largest and meatiest beans, favas are eaten fresh or dried, they prefer cool weather. Plant seed in fall for winter to spring harvest, day to mature, 75. Space to 6-12" Can be transplanted or direct sown. Harvest over a long period – keep them picked and they will keep producing – four plants can provide plenty of beans for two folks even if they are fava bean addicted.

HARVEST: Pick for green shelling when beans are plump inside the large pods.


FENNEL, FLORENCE: Hardy Annual or Perennial Spice, Herb. Direct sow, can continue sowing seeds through winter, space 2' apart.

HARVEST: Leafy stalks for flavoring soups and salads. Cut at soil level, when base of plant is about 3-4” in diameter and shaped like a bulb. Days to harvest 65-90.

SELECTED VARIETIES: 'Zefa Fino' bulbs are white, firm and highly aromatic. 'Zefa Tardo' prefers cooler temps so plant later in fall.

FENNEL LEAF/SEED:  Hardy Perennial Spice, Herb. Direct sow in fall, space at 2' apart. Sow Fennel seeds in April in open ground in a dry, sunny spot, cover thinly with fine soil. Thin the Fennel seedlings to 38cm (15 inches) apart or transplant to this distance.

HARVEST: Leaves as needed before flowering. Stems just before flowering. Seeds just as they turn brown.

SELECTED VARIETIES: 'Bronze' and 'Rubrum' both have edible, bronze-red leaves and are very ornamental.

GARLIC: Annual/Perennial bulbing Herb. Plant by individual cloves split from a bulb. Leave papery husk on and set cloves with tips up, in frost free climates, the tip can actually be visible above the soil. Plant from early November to January. space 6" apart. Elephant garlic (which is not really a garlic) 7-8" apart.

HARVEST: In summer when at least half of the leaves have begun to yellow and the "necks" are still soft. Cure bulbs by drying in a warm, well ventilated spot for several days. Cut tops off after curing. store in a cool, dry place. Soft Neck types keep for 6-8 months.

SELECTED VARIETIES: Softneck: 'California Early', 'Silverskin,' 'Red Toch,' 'Inchellium Red.' Hardneck: 'Chesnok Red', 'Persian Star,' 'Music,' 'Spanish Roja.'

KALE: Vegetable Green. Space 12" apart

HARVEST: pick individual leaves as needed from the bottom first, days to harvest 70-85.

SELECTED VARIETIES: The heirloom variety Green Glaze deters cabbage worms and other pests. Champion and Flash are fast growing, and hardy to winter cold. 'Dinosaur' (also called Tuscan Black Palm or Lacinato) is a wild looking plant that seems to be preferred by chefs. It 'over-summers' in our climate.

KOHLRABI: Vegetable Root. Space about 4-8" apart, fast growing plant whose stem swells into a round ball just above soil line.

HARVEST: Spring and fall harvest.

SELECTED VARIETIES: Grand Duke and Winner for fall and winter harvest. Plant Early White Vienna or Early Purple Vienna.

LEEKS: Annual/Perennial bulbing herb. lant seed indoors 8 weeks before last frost date. Transplant around the last frost date. Or direct-seed 4 weeks before last frost. space 1-4" apart, thin to 4" and use the thinned out ones. Blanch the bottom on the leek by mounding soil or mulch around stems as leeks grow,

HARVEST: Pull when stem base is about an inch in diameter. Days to harvest 70-120.

SELECTED VARIETIES: Fast growing 'King Richard'.

LETTUCE: Salad Green. Plant by seed in late summer/early fall for winter harvest, plant every 3 weeks for succession crops. Space 6-12" apart or 4 plants per square foot.

HARVEST: For heading types remove entire head at the base with a knife. For other types remove outer leaves and let inner ones grow for continual harvest. Days to harvest 45-85.

SELECTED VARIETIES: Leaf lettuce is faster and the best for home gardener. Head or Bibb, type is more difficult to grow, Butterhead is a loose head and can be difficult to grow in warm weather, Romaine or Cos, which is a loose, upright head with a much sharper and coarser texture than the leaf and bibb types. Many, many types and colors. There are so many varieties to choose from, it is almost obscene - grow your own and you can have salads of 10 different lettuces!

LOVAGE: Perennial vegetable Green Herb. Perennial Herb. The parent of celery. Seed sown in late summer or early autumn. Division in spring to early summer every 4 years. space 1' apart.

HARVEST: Leaves as needed. The Seeds when fully ripe in late summer. And 2 -3 year old roots just before flowering.


MACHE (Also known as LAMB'S LETTUCE): Annual Salad. Is a mild gourmet salad green. Plant seed directly in fall as soon as weather starts to cool, space 2-4" apart.

HARVEST: Cut young plants off at the base or pick leaves as needed.

SELECTED VARIETIES: 'Vit' is more upright habit and adaptable to cold and heat.

Salad Green. Has mild-flavored rosettes of pencil-thin leaves. plant in fall for all cool season young leaf picking. Space 6-12" apart

HARVEST: Young leaves as needed.


Salad Green. The leaves are used in salad greens, plant seed in fall for winter harvest Space 6-12" apart

HARVEST: Baby and young leaves are best, older leaves are too strong.

SELECTED VARIETIES: 'Osaka Purple' is a large plant with broad spicy leaves, very showy.

ONIONS, (bunching, green onions or scallions):
Annual Root Vegetable. Plant by seed, transplants or sets in fall. sow seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before setting out. space sets 4" apart or 16 plants per square foot.

HARVEST: Harvest scallions about 8 weeks after planting or when 12" tall; bulbs when tops begin to fall over. Cure by drying in warm, dry area. Seed to harvest 20 weeks.

SELECTED VARIETIES: For the south choose short-day varieties, 'Yellow Granex', 'Vidalia', and 'Texas Grano'. Or Day-neutral types, 'Candy' and 'Super Star' for white or yellow onions. 'Red Burgermaster' and 'Stockton Red' are widely adapted red onions. 'Italian Red Torpedo' is a sweet variety that is delightful eating raw or just off the grill even though it is not a heavy producers.

Biennial or Perennial herb. Plant seed indoors 10 weeks before average last frost date. Direct sow in fall. Parsley is a biennial. If allowed to flower it may reseed (is this bad?). Space 6" apart or 4 plants per square foot. (Biennial best treated as annual) Thinly sow parsley seeds in a moist, sunny or partly shaded position of open ground in half an inch drills 12 inches apart during March for a summer supply. Or sow parsley seeds outside in a sheltered position June to August for Winter and Spring use. To aid germination, soak the seeds in tepid water for several days before sowing. Cover the drills with finely sifted soil only half an inch deep. Thin the seedlings (or transplant them) to 8 or 9 inches apart. Cut off flowering shots to prolong the life of parsley plants.

HARVEST: Pick outer leaves as needed or cut across, the plant will continue to grow.

SELECTED VARIETIES: Curley parsley grows less than 12" tall, mild flavor. Flat-leaf or Italian parsley has a stronger flavor and grows to 18" tall. Hamburg or parsnip-rooted parsley bears flat-leaf flavored leaves and long, white edible roots, Sow these in fall for a spring harvest.

Annual Root Vegetable. Plant seed in late summer to mature during winter. Sow seed directly 6" apart, keep sowing 3 weeks apart for continuous harvest.

HARVEST: After frost, dig roots all at once or mulch plants and pull as needed through winter. Days to harvest 90-120.

SELECTED VARIETIES: 'Lancer' and 'Harris Model'. Parsnips are biennial and die early in their second year.

PEAS: SPRING (English), SNAP, SNOW, AND DRY PEAS: Annual Vining vegetable. Plant seeds in the fall and late winter. space 2" apart or 8 plants per square foot, use trellis.

HARVEST: Carefully pick or cut pods off their stems. Harvest 'English peas' when pods fill out, 'Snap and Snow peas' when peas are full, yet tender. 'Dry peas' let them dry on the plant, harvest whole plant, allow to dy, then remove peas form pods. days to harvest 55-75

SELECTED VARIETIES: English spring types 'Maestro' 'Green Arrow', 'Alderman', 'Little Marvel' is 2' high. and a leafless 'Novella' and the baby pea 'Petit Pois'. You can eat the pods and the seeds of snap and snow peas. 'Snow peas' 'Oregon Giant' and 'Oregon Sugar pod II'. For 'Snap peas' 'Sugar Ann', 'Sugarsprint' and 'Sugar Star'. For 'Dry peas' 'Alaska' is good.

POTATOES: Annual Root Vegetable. Seed potatoes are available at local nurseries, and mail order, which provides a wider selection. Don't try growing grocery store potatoes because these have been treated with a sprouting inhibitor. Expose the seed potatoes to a sunny area then cut into pieces, each containing two eyes. Dust with sulfur. Dry pieces for up to 2 weeks, plant in shallow, 4” deep trenches with eyes facing up. Plant in fall of winter. Space 2' apart. As stems grow, mound soil loosely around bases, repeating several times throughout the growing season. mulch with straw or hay.

HARVEST: Harvest about 6-8 weeks after planting for new potatoes. Do no disturb plants, dig gently along the sides, then replace soil. To harvest mature potatoes wait until tops die down. In dry soil, use a digging fork. gently remove soil, harvest tubers by hand. Dry, then brush off soil. store in a cool place, avoiding exposure to sunlight to prevent solanine production. Discard any green potatoes; cut out green patches before eating. Don't wash potatoes after picking.

SELECTED VARIETIES: Plant both early and midseason potatoes. The midseason group includes a wide selection of colors and types, such as oblong 'Desiree' (red skin, yellow flesh), round 'Red Gold' (red shin yellow flesh), 'Norgold Russett' (brown skin, white flesh), and 'All red' (red skin, flesh). For small fingerling potatoes try 'Rose Finn Apple' is a disease-resistant fingerling's that stores well.

RADISHES: Annual Root Vegetable. Super easy to grow. plant seed directly in the ground all year except in extreme heat of summer. Plant every 2 weeks for continuous harvest, space about 1-2" apart or 16 plants per square foot.

HARVEST: Pull roots once size is appropriate for the variety. Heat intensifies pungency.

SELECTED VARIETIES: Red, round salad radishes, 'Cherry Belle', 'Cheery Bomb II' 'Cherriette'. French radishes, 'French Breakfast' 'D'Avignon' form 4" long cylinders with white tips and red shoulders. Oriental Daikon form carrot-shaped roots that can weigh several pounds. Grow in fall; they bolt in heat.

Annual Root Vegetable. Direct-sow in fall with lots of mulch, space them 8" apart.

HARVEST: Dig roots as needed when about 4" in diameter. Days to harvest about 90.

SELECTED VARIETIES: Varieties differ mostly in terms of color and disease resistance. 'Marian' resists clubroot; 'Joan' develops yellow-fleshed roots with purple tops.

Annual Bulbing Vegetable. Shallots split into a cluster of 3 to 10 tiny, teardrop-shaped -onions. Save the largest ones for replanting, plant in the fall. Space 6" apart. Some varieties can be successfully grown from seed.

HARVEST: When tops die back, store in a cool, dry place.

SELECTED VARIETIES: You can grow Bonilla, Olympus or Picadore varieties from seed and find they are a LOT easier to grow than onions. Varieties available to grow from bulbs are even more limited.

SHUNGIKU, (Edible Chrysanthemum): Annual Salad Herb. is a tangy salad green leaf and edible flowers. Space 6-12" apart

HARVEST: Young leaves as needed, for soup and salads.


Annual Salad, Vegetable Green. Sow in fall and then throughout the winter to spring. Soak seeds overnight and plant directly in ground 1" apart the thin to 6-12" apart or 9 plants per square foot. For continuous harvest sow every 2 weeks. Does not tolerate heat. Smooth leaf varieties are easier to clean. Better to direct sow spinach.

HARVEST: Pick outer leaves as needed small inner leaves will continue to grow rapidly.

SELECTED VARIETIES: Smooth-leaf types grow best in spring, 'Space', 'Whale' and 'Olympia'. Semisavoyed varieties such as 'Tyee' and 'Melody' have slightly crinkled leaves. Savoyed spinach 'Bloomsdale Longstanding' is thick, heavily crinkled and makes an outstanding fall and winter crop. Heat-resistant spinach look-a-likes (not really a spinach)such as 'Red Malabar' produce smooth spinach-like leaves on vining plants that thrive in heat.

Perennial Herb. leaves used in salads, soups, cakes, fruit desserts. Direct-sow in autumn, Division in spring. Space 2-3' apart. Needs cold temps, does not grow well in hot climates.

HARVEST: leaves as needed. Seeds either green or brown. Dig year-old roots in autumn.


Perennial Vegetable Green. Any time of year. Plant sow seeds in spring for fall harvest, or fall for winter. Space 12" apart, can be direct sown, but also works well from transplants. In cooler areas (near the beach), chard will over-summer.

HARVEST: Tear leaves as plants age and they'll send up new leaves. Days to harvest 50-55.

SELECTED VARIETIES: 'Lucullus' and 'Fordhook Giant' have white ribs. 'Rhubarb' has bright red 'Bright Yellow' has all yellow, 'Orange Fantasia' is, obviously, orange, and 'Bright Lights' (also called 'Rainbow' or 'Five Color Silverbeet') is a mix of all above colors with salmon, apricot and cream colors. Delightful!

TATSOI: Annual Vegetable Green. Space 6-12" apart



Annual Root Vegetable. Plant direct-sow 4-6 weeks before last frost. Sow in late summer for fall harvest; in fall for winter harvest in So. Cal. Space 5-6" apart.

HARVEST: Pull when roots are about 3" in diameter. Leaves are also edible, days to harvest 35-75.

SELECTED VARIETIES: 'Hakurei' for sweet salad turnips. 'Shogoin' and 'Tokyo Cross' for tender turnips and greens, and 'Purple Top White Globe' for storage. Heirloom 'Gilfeather' forms a large, sweet root with a green tops.


ARTICHOKE: Perennial. Plant root divisions after last frost, sow seeds in fall, harvest next in spring. space 3' apart.

HARVEST: Clip mature buds midsummer to midfalll depending on location.

SELECTED VARIETIES: 'Green Globe' is the standard; 'Violetto' an Italian purple variety with sharp spines at the tips of each sepal make it essential to trim the ends before serving; 'Imperial Star' from Johnny's produces artichokes the first season from seed. typically 6-8 mature buds per plant.


Perennial plants are most often planted in fall.

Perennial. Plant crowns 4-6 weeks before last frost, spacing 5-6" 14-18" apart.

HARVEST: Do not harvest the first year after planting, The second year harvest for 2-4 weeks. Subsequent years, harvest for 5-6 weeks. for highest yields plant only all male cultivators. Harvest by bending spear until it snaps or cut 1" below the soil.

SELECTED VARIETIES: 'Purple Passion' sweeter and more tender than green types. 'Jersey Supreme' all-male plants, 'Jersey Knight' from seed, all three above from Johnny's.

RHUBARB: Perennial. Plant by dormant crowns in spring. sow seed indoors in small pots in winter, transplant seedlings into the open or a larger pot in spring. space plants 36" apart or incorporate into your landscape. Or in Spring or fall, you can divide an old plant 3-4 years old and plant new ones or give away. Not all rhubarb turns reliably red in our mild winter climate.

HARVEST: Don't harvest the year after planting to let the plant get established. In spring, harvest only several stalks the second year after planting. Allow the stalks to get 10-15" long with a pink or red blush to harvest starting in spring through summer. You can cut the stalks with a sharp knife, but be careful not to injure any new stalks that are just beginning to poke through the ground. A simple harvesting technique is to grasp the stalk near its base, and pull it down and slightly to one side.  All parts of the rhubarb plant contain oxalic acid, a toxic substance that persists even after cooking. The quantity contained in the leaf stalks (petioles) is small enough to render it safe for eating. However, the leafy blades of the plants have a higher concentration of the oxalic acid, making them poisonous throughout the growing season. Be sure to remove the leafy blades and toss into the compost pile. About the middle of June or so, the rhubarb planting should be given a chance to rebuild its food reserves so it can make a good comeback next year. Discontinue the harvest, apply mulch around the plants to help control weeds and water as needed if weather gets droughty.  Your rhubarb should be used as soon as possible after harvesting, in order to get the best results from the plant. The stems can be frozen once they have been prepared.

SELECTED VARIETIES: The best strains are propagated by division rather than from seed. For red stems, try 'Valentine', 'Ruby', 'Canada Red' and 'Crimson Red'. Old standby cultivars such as 'Victoria' and 'Linnaeus' have green stalks that blush a little red near the base.

GARLIC OR CHINESE CHIVES: Perennial herb. Start divided plants in spring or fall, they have flat, solid leaves with a mild garlic flavor and 2" heads of white edible flowers. Space 6-12" apart.

HARVEST: leaves as needed like chives.


Katarina (Kat) Eriksson
Horticulturist, edible and water-saving Landscape designer

additional notes by
David King
The Learning Garden,


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