Knee-high garlic in April

Knee-high elephant garlic in April.
This is just one of many crops that can be grown along the coast during the winter.

Winter Crops are easy.

Growing Along the Coast in Winter.

The coastal area weather allows us to garden year-round. When the cooler months arrive the rest of the country has to move the crops into heated structures to continue, but here it is possible to continue growing your own food, and in fact, some crops are best grown during this time. You've noticed that some weeds  thrive during the rainy season. There are gardening crops that do the same. There are advantages to growing crops during this time, such as less competition with weeds, fewer bugs, and the rains do all the watering for you. The cool weather slows down the crop growth, meaning you can harvest the food as you need it.

Use plants that have adapted to coastal winter conditions. Cooler air temperatures mean cooler soil temperatures as well, and that causes slower growth. The seed packet may say 70 days to maturity, but that's during optimum summer temperatures. The light quality and quantity is much different. Even if you used a heated greenhouse you would need high-powered lights to grow a crop of winter tomatoes.

When to Plant

Around the time the flies get sticky. Late August, September, it depends on your location. When your Significant Other asks you to bring some fly spray home from the hardware store, it is time.

Winter Crops

All crop plants have evolved to prefer a range of temperatures, and it makes sense to grow them when they are the most comfortable. Rainy season plants would then include those that prefer a cool environment. So what can your garden grow during the rainy season besides radishes? Leafy plants such as lettuce, chard, endive, spinach, kale, even cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Fruiting plants, which include peas. Root crops like beets, onions and shallots, garlic, and turnips. If carrots are sown so they mature late in the year you can leave them in the ground all winter and harvest them as needed. Other crops includes chives and parsley. If the garden is not growing any food crops during the winter, it should be utilizing a soil-building cover crop such as Crimson Clover.

Growing Beets in the Rainy Season

Growing Garlic on the West Coast

Growing Peas during the West Coast Winter