Fall & Winter Growing Guides

Greens

Lettuce

Seed DepthSeed SpacingSoil Temp for Germ.Days to Germ.Thin Plants To Approximately 800 seeds per gram.
One gram will sow 15 row feet.
1/8″See Below40-75°F2-1510-16″

Lactuca sativa
In many parts of the country, the wide variety of colors, textures and flavors that a gardener can achieve in summer plantings can also be experienced throughout the fall and winter. Our fall and winter varieties are specially selected to withstand frosty temperatures (down to 20°F) that can reduce other varieties to mush!

CULTURE: Most leafy green vegetables are hardy, cool season crops that can withstand cold weather (down to zone 6) and rains with minimal covering. Cold frames or cloches can be used during severe winter weather (down to zone 5) to prevent freezing or to lessen the effect of heavy rain that will damage the leaves. Many lettuces and greens will germinate well at soil temperatures as low as 40°F, and most grow best when the air temperature is between 50–70°F. Pay close attention to individual variety characteristics for hot weather planting. Lettuces and greens can be sown either directly into the garden or seeded indoors and transplanted out. With a bit of planning you can create a continual harvest of salad greens for your table year–round by sowing these seeds every 3 weeks.

TO DIRECT SOW: Seed 1 inch apart in rows 18 inches apart. Cover seeds lightly and firm gently. As soon as two or three true leaves have formed, thin leaf type lettuces to 8–10 inches and heading types to 12 inches apart.

FOR TRANSPLANTS: Sow 3–4 seeds per inch in sterile seeding mix 3 weeks prior to planting out. Optimum soil temperature range for germination: 40–75°F. Days to emergence: 2–15 days. Transplant individual plants into pots or cell trays. Remember to harden off your transplants for 4–6 days before planting out by reducing water and setting outdoors in a sheltered location. Leafy green vegetables require a moderately fertile soil. One cup of our complete fertilizer per 10 row feet will give adequate nutrition.

INSECTS/PESTS: As most greens are fast growers they don't have many pests. Aphids can be washed off with a strong spray of water and any slug problems can be controlled with diatomaceous earth, slug baits, or traps.

HARVEST: Remember that a stand of salad greens only remains in prime eating condition for about three weeks. Consider succession plantings so that you may enjoy fresh garden salads all season long. Even though picking individual leaves will help extend the season somewhat, all will eventually become tough and bitter as they began to bolt. We've found rinsing greens under warm tap water can help reduce bitterness.

European Greens

Seed DepthSeed SpacingSoil Temp for Germ.Days to Germ.Thin Plants To Seed counts are listed in the variety description.
1/4-1/2″See Below50-70°F2-156-12″

The range of color and textures in arugula, corn salad, spinach and chard as well as a host of other greens is seemingly unending. The cool weather of fall and early winter in zones 5 and above brings out the full flavor of these European staples. With the protection of floating row covers or a cold frame, most greens can be grown in the fall and winter months in many areas. Add a bit of Old World flavor to your table with these distinctive tastes and colors.

CULTURE: European greens are cool season crops that perform best in rich, well drained soil in full sun. Most will withstand moderate freezes (down to 20°F) with some cover. Rapid continuous growth is essential for a good yield and high quality. Plants grow best when the average air temperature is between 60–70°F. These varieties are best direct sown into well worked ground. Sow 1/4-1/2 inch deep and 1–2 inches apart. Keep the soil uniformly moist for best germination. After germination, thin spinach, arugula and chard to 6–8 inch spacing. Thin purslane to 4–6 inch spacing. When sowing the mesclun blends, broadcast the seed over a 4 x 4 foot area, then lightly rake in and water. Covering the seed with a piece of Reemay (ZRC811) will help deter birds and improve germination.

DISEASE:

INSECTS: Aphids can be a problem but can be controlled with water sprays, Pyrethrin or Insecticidal Soap. HARVEST: Harvest can begin as soon as the leaves are large enough to eat. Overmature greens are often bitter and tough. Frequent harvests are essential for best quality. Radicchio needs cool weather for the best flavor and should be harvested as soon as the head or heart reaches full size.

Spinach

Seed DepthSeed SpacingSoil Temp for Germ.Days to Germ.Thin Plants To Approximately 80 seeds per gram.
1/2″1″50-70°F6-213-6″

Spinacia oleracea

CULTURE: Fall spinach needs rich well-drained soil; it becomes diseased and dies in poorly drained soil. Sow 1/2 inch deep and 1 inch apart in rows separated by at least 12 inches. Thin to 3 inches apart in the row, further if large individual plants are desired. Refer to the European Greens culture above for more growing tips.

Swiss Chard

Seed DepthSeed SpacingSoil Temp for Germ.Days to Germ.Thin Plants To Approximately 50 seeds per gram.
1/2″2-3″50-75°F5-1710-16″

Beta vulgaris, Cicla Group
If you have trouble growing spinach because of poor soil or dry conditions, try Swiss Chard. It's easy to grow and slow to bolt, with a wonderful crunchy stalk and savoyed, green spinach-like leaves. Refer to the European Greens culture above for planting instructions and growing tips.