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Planting for a Four Season Harvest, Part 7

Tender Crops in Last

CabbageThe most tender crops, pole beans and limas, go in last while pepper plants and eggplant are set out.

At the very last I sow winter squash --- not more tender, really than the summer types which won't, however, be harvested until fall.  The small varieties are better for the backyard garden than Blue Hubbard, while the dark-green, heart-shaped Quality now rates higher with me than Butternut.  It was even more vigorous growing in last summer's drought than Butternut, and far more prolific.  The average fruit weighed 5 to 6 pounds, only one weighed 10, and it was just as disease-resistant.  Quality's chief virgue, however, is the marvelous flavor of its fine-grained flesh.  It can be eaten immature, skin and all.  Buttercup also has good flavor, but in my experience is more susceptible to disease and insect attacks.  I also plant a few hills of Small Sugar pumpkin whose flesh is not stringy, and which are good both for decoration and for pies.

The big rush is now over.  In a few weeks, though, short showing must be made for these fall crops:
1---Brussels sprouts;
2---Cabbage possibly, now that the spring-planted varieties are beginning to head up, or;
3---Chinese cabbage which must be treated as a fall crop.  If sown in spring to mature in hot weather, it bolts and goes to seed, so always sow Chinese cabbage in early summer to mature in fall;
4---Broccoli or cauliflower, although it may be unnecessary to sow more broccoli.  Now ready to mature, the spring-sown plants in good soil may continue to bear through summer and fall until frost and after.  Usually, though, I like to have a few plants come into bearing in September;
5---Florence fennel which, like Chinese cabbage, should mature in cold weather;
6---Leeks for early next spring while the spring-sown plants are used in the fall and winter.

Sow the above in drills in the ground, or in flats, then later transplant.  Fennel and Chinese cabbage are generally treated as row crops --- sown and then thinned.  I usually do transplant them and have noted no setback in growth.

To be continued....

Tirrell, R.  1966, February.  Planting for a 4-Season Harvest.  Organic Gardening and Farming.

Reprinted by permission of Organic Gardening magazine.  Copyright Rodale, Inc., U.S.A.  All rights reserved.

This post is part of our Planting for a Four Season Harvest lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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