To Do In The Northwest Edible Garden: June 2012

Plan & Purchase:

Shocking, isn’t it, that it’s time to plan the fall and overwintering garden? Gets me every year. If you are into the year-round harvest thing, now is when you get your gameplan together for things as far away as next May’s cauliflower. Territorial Seed has a dedicated fall/winter catalog that will come out in paper in a month or so, but that’s too late for people like me so I research my seed needs online here.

Sow Indoors:

Mid-to-late June is when I start the first wave of fall and winter crops. Brussels sprouts take forever to grow, so if you want them for Thanksgiving (and I always do) you’ve got to start them now. Fall and winter cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli and kohlrabi (the big winter-keeper types) can be started from mid-month onward through mid-July.

At this time of year, if you have a greenhouse or sunny porch, you can start the fall crops outside, either in a nursery bed or in little pots. They will dry out quickly, though, so be diligent about watering. You can also turn the seed lights back on and start them indoors. Be aware of what varieties you are planting. Spring brassicas aren’t bred to hold up in winter weather, so seek out varieties that will work for when you plan to harvest them.

Sow & Plant Outside:

  • Beans – my first planting of beans are 5-feet up the trellis, and even the latest in-ground planting in a kinda-shady area is up and growing. If you didn’t plant beans last month, go for it now.
  • Summer & Winter Squash – Like beans, my first-planted squashes are rather huge for this time of year. Both summer and winter squash seeds can go in anytime.
  • Melons – Plant a short season variety.
  • Cucumbers – Sow directly and try trellising! Cucumbers are easy to grow vertically and you get more in an area and get much straighter cukes that way. I’ve got a bunch of both fresh and pickling cukes growing in cellpacks and need to get them transplanted.
  • Brassicas – Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, collards and kale and Asian greens like pac choi and Chinese cabbage, etc. can all be direct sown now but at this time of year you must think about days to maturity. Super fast maturing brassicas (many of the Asians) that would come mature in the heat of August aren’t necessarily the best idea because these crops favor cool weather. With those, waiting a couple of weeks or a month so that maturation happens in cooler September is a good idea. On the other hand, long-maturing brussels sprouts started this month will give you sprouts for Thanksgiving, whereas waiting a month may mean missing that window.
  • Root Vegetables – You will have the best results in loose open soil and I encourage you to cover your carrot and parsnip seedlings with row cover to prevent the carrot root maggot from destroying your veggies as they do mine with some embarrassing frequency. This year I am harvesting perfect, un-maggotty-carrots from an overwintered sowing of Mokums I tossed into the ground in October as companion to garlic. This timing avoided the hatching out of the carrot root fly. The longer I do this the more I think overwintered seeding may be a huge effort-saver and natural season extension technique. All it takes is patience. A last crop of potatoes can also be put in at the beginning of this month if you sow short-season varieties like Yukon Gold. Mid-to-late June your main sowing of carrots can go in, along with parsnips (last chance on these), beets, rutabaga and turnips. If you are plum out of room in the garden, these crops can be sown through July but yield and harvest size will be smaller.
  • Corn – This is my first year growing corn, so I’m no expert. Apparently corn should be “Knee-high by the 4th of July.” Right now, at the beginning of June, my corn is about calf-high. The books tell me you can put corn in now and it should grow fast for you and be harvestable in September/October. I’d still hedge bets with a short-season adapted variety and I wouldn’t delay getting it planted.
  • Salad Greens – lettuce, (every month a new sowing!) warm-weather New Zealand spinach, mustards, arugula, etc . can all be sown. Plan on harvesting arugula and mustards as baby greens. They will bolt rapidly in warm weather. Rapidly.
  • Swiss Chard – There’s still time to plant Swiss chard for bountiful late summer and fall harvest. I’m letting last year’s chard go to seed and do it’s own thing on the assumption that the chard knows when it should seed itself. We’ll see what happens.
  • Onions – green onions and overwintering leeks can be sown. Chives and garlic chives can be started in a nursery bed for a harvest next year.
  • Herbs: Chives, parsley, mints, marjoram, oregano, dill, fennel, borage and the like can all be sown out. Cilantro, fennel, dill, and of course basil can all be grown. Plant lots of basil if you haven’t already! Everyone loves pesto.

Transplant Out:

All your warm weather transplants: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc. should be fine going out now. We’re still dipping into high-40s nights and are running slightly below average for daily high/lows but compared to last years craptastic late spring it’s downright balmy.

Be sensitive to where and how your transplant out. Harden your transplants gently if they are coming from a nice cozy greenhouse and be particularly gentle with eggplant and peppers, giving them a warm microclimate in which to snuggle, heat sinks (like wall-o-waters or big rocks) and extra attention, particularly if night time temps dip.

How is the gardening season going where you live?


  1. says

    I’m scrambling to put together another bed and eek out space for my fall/winter crops! Eep! Silly me for thinking you start fall/winter crops in the fall/winter. That would be too logical.

    My beans are off to a slow start. My basil looks terrible. All yellowy unhappy. I’m thinking of ripping it up and putting the fall/winter stuff there.

    Cucs, onions, parsnips, pumpkins and… tomatoes! are surprisingly fine though.

  2. says

    Crops must really grow fast for you in Seattle! I sowed my sprouts back in February and have them planted out already. We are pretty far north though so it takes that long for sprouts to be available by the end of November.

  3. queenofstring says

    My Basil is yuck too. I’m going to re sow where I want it to grow. I think one of my new beds has problems. It was a mass of weeds and rocks. I cleared it and amended it, the onions are going great but all the garlic on the other end is dead. Not entirely sure why, when the hosta right by it is growing brilliantly ( it’s a mixed front yard bed). Pretty much everything else looks good at this stage. Got to finish the beds for the tomatoes and peppers this week. Quick query: I bought sprout starts in April, they’re growing well, but as such an early start, when will they be maturing? Never grown sprouts before so a but puzzled.

  4. Kimberly C says

    Indoor basil starts I started back in early march look good, and another set under lights just getting their first set of true leaves. I planted my tomatoes out in the garden on Tuesday, though I’m worried that I planted them too densely and now worried about the shock of disturbing them again if I move them. My pepper starts look small but healthy, not sure how a “normal” pepper start should look at this point? (3-4″ tall, sturdy stem, ~4 sets of true leaves.) I have some awesome looking purple tomatillo starts to plant out soon. Shoulda probably planted cucumbers out a while ago, but just sowed them direct last week. Summer and winter squashes started. Thinking of sowing brussel sprouts and cauliflower soon. Snow peas growing well, pole beans I think I started too early and it didn’t help that the neighborhood bunny took a liking to them..

    Adaptive Seeds has done some interesting things with their kale, a lot of interbreeding of diverse gene pools for resilience. I’m looking forward to trying Western Front for the fall/winter. (

  5. Tiff says

    NOOooooooooooooooo! I’m not ready!!! Ok now that that has passed, I think my garden is doing pretty well. Planted all my starts of the 4 different kind of beans I started, and potted all my peppers, eggplant and will be doing that with the tomatoes this weekend. The broccoli, cauliflower, onions, lettuce ( well the stuff that didn’t turn evil) are doing great, minus the slugs of course! My cucs and squash got a bit shocky, but seem to be hanging in. So here’s my question…..and maybe a bit of a whine too! ” I know nothing about overwintering and all that cold veggies growing. Help! :) Oh and I am trellising all my cucumbers,and have them all planted in black pots to help them along :)

  6. says

    Brussels Sprouts around here need to be started indoors in March and may or be not be be ready for Thanksgiving in early October. They are at their best later, after a frost. Mine have been out for a few weeks and are enjoying the rain today. I put in an under sowing of Mesa peas, first time I tried that. I also remembered to stick some sacrificial radishes in between the plants, to lure any root maggots away from the sprouts. Should have done that sooner. One more thing to do: cover them with floating row cover once the sun returns, to keep the cabbage moths off. I had good ones last year but did not plant enough. They may still get damaged by slugs……

  7. Lady Banksia says

    Trying to garden in low 100’s temps is the challenge now. Ugh. Tomatoes (San Marzano’s) like the heat and all are awake and vigorous (a good 2ft above the top ring on the cage), but they struggle on some days. Peppers (jalapenos) are even dwarfing in the heat – small and not spicy yet, but reddening already nonetheless. Has been too windy to put the shade cloth up, but I need to. The tomatillo project produced lots o’ green, and lots o’ flowers, but not a single fruit. There are plenty of chances for pollination, so I don’t think that’s the problem. The blooms just fall off after they’ve opened up. I still have beets in the ground, but have to get to them, too.

    It’s just too hot here right now with no end in sight until early October.

    PS: just as an aside, my spinach had bolted by the beginning of April… makes me wonder – ‘Spring? What spring?’

  8. Renee says

    I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your blog! I printed off your “NW Edible Year Round Vegetable Planting Guide” and I love it! (We live on the Oregon Coast.)
    My husband and I raise beef, pigs, and I have chickens for eggs and meat. So the thought of being able to eat out of the garden through out the year, not just June-September excites me :) Thank you so much for taking the time to do the homework and research and sharing it with us. You saved me MANY hours trying to figure out what to plant when. Now I just pull out the guide and game plan from there. Thanks Again!!

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