Categories: Edibles

What to Plant Now

By Published On: October 8, 2013
What to Plant Now

Carrots!Take advantage of our warm fall weather. Warm days and nights mean warm soil temperatures — ideal for seed germination. And carrots can be so darn fussy and slow to germinate you don’t want to miss your window. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area or a similar climate (in the range of USDA hardiness zone 10) don’t wait.

Winter carrots are the best of the best. Cold weather develops and heightens the sugars, or sugars-up, amplifying and sharpening the existing flavors, making carrots of any other season seem dull and lackluster (although I could argue in favor of nearly any homegrown carrot). Carrots, and other veggies, grown into winter develop a complexity of flavor. Not unlike what a good heat wave can do to a summer crop of grapes or tomatoes.

Tips for growing carrots:

  • Carrots like sandy to finer, loamy soils free of rocks or other obstacles.
  • If you’re not working with optimal soil, choose a variety of carrot that will work with you. Try varieties of shorter carrots, Little Finger or Round Romeo’s for instance.
  • Grow your carrots from seed and be sure to read and follow the seed packet instructions. This is your go-to source of information, especially when planting a new variety and especially if planting for the first time.
  • Your carrots will probably be ready to harvest in about 3 months. Check if they’re ready by brushing away the soil at the base of the stem. Look at the shoulders of the carrot to be sure it looks the way you think it should.
  • Try more than one variety. You never know what will take or what might thrive in your particular micro climate.
  • Complete your harvest by February unless you’d like a few to go to flower — the animals would love this.

Other crops to grow at this time:

  • Sugar snap peas
  • Kale
  • Lettuces
  • Chard
  • Artichoke
  • Radishes
  • Bulb onion from seed
  • Shallots
  • Spinach
  • Garlic
  • Turnips
  • Fava beans


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About the Author: Emily Murphy

I’ve learned there’s something wonderfully powerful in the simple act of growing. Here, in our gardens, we can repair ourselves and our plots of earth with our own two hands. GROW WHAT YOU LOVE and GROW NOW!

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  1. Sophia October 26, 2013 at 8:17 am - Reply

    Emily, here in my garden plot in Tiburon, I grow potatoes all yearlong. And, if i wasn’t leaving, i’d be shoving some garlic cloves in the ground. Last year’s fava beans planted in the fall, didn’t produce until it got warmer in the spring, whereas when planted in the spring, they produce in no time.

    • Emily Murphy October 26, 2013 at 9:21 am - Reply

      I love potatoes all year long too. Yum. Selfishly wish you would put some garlic in – maybe that would mean you’d stay another season? :)