There is nothing better than a homemade pot of soup on a cool, fall evening — and growing your own cool-season herbs, veggies and leafy greens will have you cooking up savory meals all season long.
If you haven’t tried gardening in our so-called off-season, you are missing out on a vibrant and productive time of year here. There are literally hundreds of varieties of vegetables, fruit and flowers that come into full production during the Bay Area’s fall and winter months, including brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts), root vegetables and leafy greens, such as mizuna, kale, chard and spinach. Peas, beans, potatoes, onions and — my personal favorite – garlic thrive at this time of year, too.
Gardening in the cool season is more relaxed and less demanding than summer gardening. Most of these crops grow at a slower pace, and Mother Nature
generally does much of the watering for you. However, if you are planning to take the winter off from edible gardening, you might want to consider planting a cover crop that will help nurture and improve your soil for next summer’s garden.
Cover crops (buckwheat, rye, clover, fava beans) not only provide nitrogen to the soil, they also help loosen the soil and suppress weeds. And they help feed and support our local birds, bugs and bees with their flowers and seeds.
You’ll find all the plants and info to get your garden going at the
upcoming Master Gardener Fall Garden Market, held in conjunction with the Fall Festival at San Jose’s Martial Cottle Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 5. Admission is free; parking is $6.
The Fall Festival offers such family-friendly attractions as a pumpkin patch, carnival games and petting zoo, as well as DIY craft workshops, farm tours, live music, square dancing and food trucks.
Swing by the garden market’s help desk with your garden questions, where volunteers can help analyze plant or pest problems if you bring a sample. Educational talks this year will include waterwise landscaping, planting perennials and growing garlic.
The market offers a wide array of plants, including Asian greens — Chinese broccoli, pak choi, tatsoi and nozawana turnip greens — as well as beets, brassicas, herbs and leafy greens like cilantro, parsley, chicory and escarole. There will be flowers, too, including agrostemma, snapdragons and sweet peas. Flowers not only add beauty, they also help attract bees and beneficial insects necessary for pollination and fending off the “bad bugs” in the garden.
Growing your own food is not only enjoyable, it’s important. You’ll eat better, spend more time outdoors, waste less, and help support and feed our native birds, bees and bugs. Bonus: kids love to eat what they grow!
October 5, 2019 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Martial Cottle Park
5283 Snell Ave., San Jose, CA
By REBECCA JEPSEN, CORRESPONDENT
Phone: 408-691-5659 email: firstname.lastname@example.org