Fall and Winter Crops are Just Getting Started in High Tunnels

Gordon Johnson, Extension Vegetable & Fruit Specialist; gcjohn@udel.edu

As summer crops finish in high tunnels, October and November provides the opportunity to plant a wide range of vegetables for late fall and winter harvest. This is a way to continue providing fresh produce to CSA’s, farmer’s markets, restaurants, schools, and local retail.

Leaf Crops
Options for leafy greens from direct seeding include many mustard family crops such as kale, green and red mustards, arugula, Bok Choi, Napa cabbage, Asian greens such as mizuna, and turnip greens. Many of these greens will overwinter in a tunnel.

Many types of lettuce for cut salad greens and small heads can be direct seeded including leaf types, butterhead-bibb types, romaine, and crisp head types. Lettuce can be grown throughout the fall and winter months.

Beet family greens including beets for greens, swiss chard, and spinach direct seeded in October will provide long term harvests into mid-winter.

Other cool season greens to try as a fall planting in high tunnels include corn salad, cress, and Claytonia.

Newly planted arugula in a high tunnel

Root Crops
Beets, carrots, radishes, and turnips seeded in the high tunnel in October and early November will provide late fall and early winter harvests.

Leeks transplanted now for overwintering will allow for late winter and early spring harvest. Green onions (scallions) will produce a fall crop from transplants and will overwinter from direct seeding to produce an early spring crop. Chives and garlic chives seeded in October will produce a crop from late fall through spring.

Other Possibilities
Thick seedings of peas (green shelled or field peas) will provide plentiful pea shoots throughout the late fall and winter.

Herbs such as parsley can be seeded now for late fall through early spring harvest. Cilantro is an excellent choice for fall high tunnel production from direct seeding. There are also several perennial herbs that will produce well from late fall through winter (thyme, oregano, sage, rosemary, mint as examples).