Sowing Winter Crops

Seeded Hoophouse
Hoophouse seeded with carrots, spinach, and hakurei turnips

After it’s summer crop of tomatoes and peppers, the new hoophouse has been seeded for its winter crop of carrots, spinach, and hakurei turnips. This winter crop is always risky business because germination takes weeks and nothing really grows significantly until day length increases to 10 hours, which happens in the middle of February.

Transitioning to winter

I have removed the last of the tomato plants from the high tunnel and begun replacing them with lettuce and spinach transplants. The high tunnel has performed beautifully in its first summer season.

It’s time to sow tomatoes!

I have used various systems to decide what date to sow tomatoes.  Choosing the correct date for indoor sowing requires predicting how soon consistently warm weather will arrive in the Spring, and this varies tremendously from year to year.  This year I have adopted a new system  I sow when my dog Lucy starts to actively shed her winter coat.  Today’s the day!

Lucy looses her fur
Lucy looses her fur

Veginox

Veginox
Veginox

Equinox defines the two dates each year at which day and night are of equal length.  A more useful set of dates for gardeners are the dates at which the day starts and stops being longer than 10 hours, because this is the minimum number of daylight hours required to allow growth of most plants.  I call this the veginox. Here in the Seattle area, at latitude 47N37, the spring veginox is February 8 and the winter veginox is November 3.

You may determine the dates for veginox at your location by using this form.

My planting dates

Vegetable Start plants this long before planting date Planting date 98294 area code Distance
between rowsc
Distance apart
in the row
Artichokes (globe) Crown pieces Aug.-Nov.
April-June
48-60″ 48-60″
Asparagus 1 year Feb.-March 60″ 12″
Beans (lima) not suitable May-June 12-24″ 4-6″ bush
12-24″ pole
Beans (snap) not suitable May-July 12-24″ 2-6″ bush
12-24″ pole
Beets not suitable March-June 12″ 1-2″
Broccoli 6 weeks Jan-July March-Aug. 12-24″ 12-24″
Brussels sprouts 6 weeks Mar.-June May-July 24″ 24″
Cabbage 6 weeks Mar.-May April-June 24″ 24″
Cantaloupes 4 weeks April May 48″ 48″
Carrots not suitable March-July 15 12″ 2″
Cauliflower 6 weeks Mar.-June 1 April-July 15 24″ 24″
Celery 9 weeks Jan. – May March-July 24″ 5″
Chard not suitable April-July 24″ 12 inches
Chinese cabbage 4 weeks July August 30″ 6″
Chives 6 weeks Feb.1 – April. 15 March-May Needs 4 sq ft Scatter
Corn (sweet) not suitable April-June 36″ 15″
Cucumbers (slicing) 4 weeks April-May May-June 48″ 24″
Cucumbers
(pickling)
4 weeks May-June 48″ 6-12″
Dill not suitable May 24″ 6-9″
Eggplants 9 weeks March May 24″ 24″
Endive 6 weeks Feb. -July 1 April-Aug. 15 12″ 10″
Garlic not suitable Sept.-Feb. 18″ 3″
Kale not suitable May-July 24″ 24″
Kohlrabi not suitable April-Aug. 15 24″ 3″
Leeks 4 weeks Feb. – April March-May 24″ 2″
Lettuce (head) 5 weeks Mar. – June April-July 12″ 12″
Lettuce (leaf) 5 weeks Mar. -June April-Aug. 12″ 6″
Okra 8 weeks not suitable 24″ 18″
Onions 10 weeks Jan.-Mar. Mar.-May 12″ 3″
Parsley 10 weeks Jan.-May Mar.-June 12″ 8″
Parsnips not suitable April-May 24″ 3″
Peas not suitable Feb.-May 36″ bush
48″ vine
2″
Peppers 10 weeks Mar.1-Apr.1 May-June 24″ 12-18″
Potatoes (sweet) 6 weeks not suitable 48″ 12″
Potatoes (white) not suitable April-June 30″ 12″
Pumpkins 4 weeks May May 72″ 48″
Radish not suitable March-Sept. 12″ 1″
Rhubarb Crown pieces March-April 48″ 36″
Rutabagas not suitable June-July 24″ 3″
Spinach not suitable April & Sept. 12″ 3″
Squash (summer) 4 weeks Apr.-May May-June 48″ 24″
Squash (winter) 4 weeks Apr. May 72″ 48″
Tomatoes 8 weeks Mar.- May 36-48″,
closer if
supported
24-36″
Turnips not suitable Apr.-Sept. 24″ 2″
Watermelons 4 weeks Apr. May 72″ 60″