Growing Tips

El Nino and planting fall/winter crops

After this unusually warm summer, my gardening partners at our Giving Garden plot have been wondering how long the warm weather is going to last. While I usually plant a crop of lettuces, chard, kale and collards for the fall, I haven’t had much success growing year round. This year might be different though thanks to El Nino!

Cliff Mass, noted local meteorologist gives more information about the weather potentially coming up this fall and winter in a article: Experts predicting warmer fall, winter for Western Washington

If indeed we experience a warmer fall/winter, what are you planting as your late season crops? Do you have any suggestions for a successful winter growing season?


  • Agnes

    I agree, it’s been a warmer than usual late summer and I’ve had to re-sow and replant transplants for the autumn. That’s been my solution thus far, as well as watering often to keep the soil moist for seedlings to establish.

    • Dianne

      Absolutely, our soil is currently so dry. I’ve been starting plants in large pots under deciduous trees to take advantage of the dappled sunlight and find they’ve been happier. I’m thinking that once the rains start tho, our “warmer” weather will actually be quite wet.

  • Dianne

    This year I’ve planted leeks, garlics, onions, daikon radish and kales as reliable winter crops. In previous warmer weather years. I’ve also planted chards (reportedly red chards are the most sensitive to cold weather), cabbages, and lettuces. Friends have planted broccoli as well. The problem: protecting the plants from heavy rains, slugs, and snails! I have to be fanatic about hunting for them and squashing them as the usual methods don’t work well when they’re diluted by all that water! (Even if the weather is warmer it won’t be warm enough for plants to out-grow damage.) I’ve been told that the soil is too cold for the plants to be able to use the nutrients in the soil but that IF they can use anything a it’ll be a good organic fish fertilizer. And if there’s a warm winter: expect the usual garden pests to survive and thrive as soon as spring arrives!

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