Shoulder-Season Vegetables & Winter Storage Crops
In addition to the greens, squash, and leeks below, we recommend a variety of cabbage family crops to get you through the cold season. We are currently unable to produce seed of those crops ourselves (because of cross-pollination with a neighboring seed grower) but you can find them through other regional seed companies.
Lepidium sativum. 20 days. Garden cress is an easy-to-grow cool-season green and this variety is our favorite of several we’ve tried. Very large, broad leaves for a garden cress, with nice wavy edges. Fairly slow to bolt & good peppery flavor with not too much spice. Gives a fantastic boost to salads and sandwiches. Reintroduced in 2009 by Adaptive Seeds, this old variety from the Netherlands had been commercially unavailable for a decade. Grown organically but not certified.
Chichorium endivia 60-80 days.
A very productive, easy-to-grow leafy endive, we love this shoulder-season green, especially in addition to sautees and stir-fries. Large, dense rosettes of narrow, dark green, fringed leaves with tender white centers. Cut the head for sale or harvest the outer leaves for an extended harvest in your home garden. Tolerates more frost than lettuce and slow to bolt in summer. Grown organically, just harvested a month before official certification came through.
Whatcom County-adapted from the Belgian Breeder's Winter Mix Leek population.
We adopted this over-wintering leek several years ago as a still-diverse F7 population from Frank Morton, at Wild Garden Seed, who had received it the prior generation from a fellow breeder. It over-wintered beautifully for us that first year and we have continued to grow it out for three generations in Whatcom County in Northwest Washington State. It currently expresses itself as an average diameter and height leek, with less of a white shaft than some other leeks but robust capacity to handle our winters and provide plenty of oniony delight in the hunger season. It likely still contains more variation than a stabilized variety and thus the opportunity for growers to select and grow out seed from the plants that do best in their conditions. Open-pollinated leeks are a must to preserve, as they are a vital crop for the winter season.
Packets are ½ gram and contain a minimum of 150 seeds.
A very early, vigorous landrace moschata resulting from a grand crossing and reselection from numerous varieties, in search of the genes that would produce in Joseph Lofthouse’s cool mountain climate. Round pumpkins and butternuts of all shapes range from about 4 to 25 lbs. Most are good culinary quality, and just slightly sweet, so great for salads, soups, stews, and stir-fries. Huge vines. Very productive. Matures even in cold summers in the maritime Northwest. Keeps well. Cure one month before eating. Continue to select from this diverse genepool to generate a variety that is best adapted to your region and conditions. (Note: With butternut shaped squash, you can cut off what you need of the neck, let the neck veins bleed for a few minutes, then spread the sap around the cut surface with your clean finger, which seals it so that the cut squash will keep weeks at room temperature. You don't need to use the whole squash at once. This means you can afford to grow the big squash that are most efficient to handle, store, and prepare.) An OSSI-pledged variety, bred by Joseph Lofthouse. Second photo shows an example of Joseph's selection.