Lettuce prepare for winter
We knew August wouldn’t leave us without a week of blasting heat. For our summer crops, however, its their last hurrah as we prepare to rotate into our winter crops—cabbages, lettuces and roots.
What is the difference between summer and winter crops?
The main difference between the crops we plant in the spring and those we plant in the fall is their cold tolerance. Generally speaking, plants we grow for fruit (tomatoes, peppers, squash, and tree fruits) are harvested through the summer into fall, because they need longer hours of sun and warmer nights. These crops generally don’t tolerate colder nights and the occasional frost.
All other crops, the ones we grow for roots, shoots, bulbs or leaves, are planted in the fall to be eaten through the winter and into spring. Some, like garlic, can even overwinter under snow-covered ground before sprouting up in the spring!
Wait…. does that mean no tomatoes over the winter?
If you buy local, yes. There are some winter-growing varieties of tomato, but for the most part the plants need heat and the longer daylight hours that only summer can provide. Sure, we can import them from warmer places, but our ancestors survived heartily through the long tomato-less winters! Tune in next week for a few how-tos on how to preserve these summer veggies so you can stay local.
FYI: What constitutes a fruit or vegetable?
Its a debate as old as time itself. Here we set the record straight:
A seed-bearing product that forms from the ovary of a flower
Tree products: cashews, avocados
Tomatoes, eggplant, peppers
All other plant parts, such as roots, leaves and stems
Lettuce and other leaf crops
Broccoli and Cauliflower
Carrots, potatoes and other roots
Introducing: our volunteer of the week
Monty is starting middle school this month and has been a repeat volunteer at One Gun Ranch all summer. Monty’s mom, Meredith (a volunteer previously featured in this newsletter), brought him to help out and to get away from “screen time”. Monty is an adept video gamer and spends most of his time being creative in Minecraft, Overwatch and other VR spaces. He is our “idea guy” and has helped us do a bit of real world problem solving around the vegetable garden, including investigating a mole’s path of entry into one of our garden beds! It’s always great to get the younger perspective.
In this photo, Monty investigates a cucamelon after picking it from the vine.