December 7, 2011

My Best Fall Garden Ever

The last time I showed you my fall garden, things were coming along pretty well. With plenty of rain, and nothing worse than a few killing frosts, it's thriving.

Fall garden & a wheelbarrow load of leaf mulch

This has been the best fall garden I've ever planted. Not everything that I planted came up, and some of it came up sporadically, but what has, is doing well.

Broccoli, needing thinning.

I admit I've neglected it because of the kitchen remodeling project. It needs weeding and mulching. And thinning.

Garlic. I planted about 100 cloves.

This is the most garlic I've ever planted, about 100 cloves. I've been increasing our garlic every year, saving and replanted all I grow. My eventual goal is to grow a year's worth with some to spare. Maybe next year?

Cabbage collards in front, turnips in back.

I planted both collard seed, and cabbage collard plants. The collards were mainly for the goats, though we've eaten them as well. The cabbage collards though, are tastier.

Kale in foreground, beets (left) & collards (right) behind.

The beets survived the deer, maybe because I covered them at night for awhile. My buckwheat was completely demolished by them however. I was able to collect about a pint of seed and dry one cutting for the goats.

Parsnips growing in front, collards behind

This is the first year I've had parsnips come up, and I'm happy about that. I've also had some flowers survive several frosts, calendula.

Calendula (pot marigold) have survived a few frosts

The green you see in the background of some of the garden photos, is our winter wheat. I planted a small patch last year, and this year I bought 50 pounds to plant. That should have been enough for about half an acre, according to Gene Logsdon, but I planted thickly and used up 46 pounds before I got that half acre covered. So far it's doing beautifully.

Winter wheat

I think it worked out well that I didn't plant the entire half acre. This way we'll be able to plant corn in the spring without having to rush to get the wheat harvested first.

As you can see, I've begun the job of mulching everything. My preferred leaf mulch is from our pecan, hickory, maple, and dogwood trees. These are calcium accumulators, and my garden could certainly use the calcium from their decomposing leaves. I also plan to pile the unplanted beds with all the leaves I rake. It's a wonderful way to spend those mild autumn days.


Sue said...

Wow, it all looks great. Being able to grow a garden easily is one of the things I miss where I live. We have less than 1 month that is almost guaranteed frost free. Makes growing a garden challanging!

Anonymous said...

Have to admit, I am coveting that you can grow so much this time of year!! :) Looks fabulous!

Woolly Bits said...

we've had too much rain all year long and by now it shows - the garden beds are too mucky to do anything. and my corn salad plan for inside went awry, because all the seedlings were finished off by some slugs:(( the garlic however is coming along nicely - I didn't count the cloves I put in, but I think they came from 6 large bulbs.... might not be enough for a full supply, but I do like the fresh early garlic, because it's milder than the older cloves, so I am looking forward to good pickings:)
your kale looks very smooth compared to the ones we grow over here! I only used kale nero this year though, which isn't quite as wrinkly either.

Tami said...

You can actually grow broccoli? Tell me your trick, Leigh. Did you start from seed or buy the plants? Last year I bought them but the died back with in a month or two. Didn't get much out of them.

Mama Pea said...

Gosh, Leigh, everything looks so good, especially your winter wheat.

Comparing your garden and mine this time of year (which is nothing but frozen ground, of course), you'd think we lived in different worlds!

It's so interesting to see what can and can't be done in the garden in different locations!

Lynda said...

The wheat looks fantastic! Your Fall Garden is amazing. My favorite time to garden is the Fall. I've been a bit lazy and not planted as much as I wanted..or should have. I even forgot to plant garlic!! What true gardener would forget the GARLIC?

Bootzey said...

I am jealous! I started my fall garden in September and my plants look NOTHING like this. NOTHING!!!!! I'm coming over for dinner!

Nina said...

Nice! I'd love to have a fall garden without needing a hoop house or other protection. So far, things around here just stop growing after September. This year something ate the late plantings of beets, carrots and greens that I'd hoped to harvest in the fall. I've only a few leeks left.

Mr. H. said...

Your garden looks fantastic, how exciting to have so much going on so late in the season. Your March post really got me to thinking about the benefits of leaves and this year we went all out and collected an amazing amount of them for the garden.

Love seeing that calendula alive and thriving. I checked on mine yesterday and even with temps down as low as 15°and numerous 20°nights they are still looking pretty good. I am thinking of growing a small patch of them out later in the season next year and using the young leaves as salad greens.

Leigh said...

Sue, if anybody has a garden challenging climate, you do! I reckon a self-sufficient diet in your part of the world would be pretty limited. :)

Stephanie, this is the first year I've gotten so much. It means we're having to learn to eat greens every day, but it's a blessing to have fresh veggies available. :)

Bettina, I agree about that fresh garlic! My kale was Siberian Dwarf, or maybe it was Dwarf Siberian. The packet was a freebie gift for a seed order. Rain is a real challenge. Right now, it's raining a lot here so that the ground hasn't dried out in weeks. More rain today too.

Tami, broccoli is something I don't always have success with. Last year I grew Waltham 29, and this is from saved seed from that. It dies back when we get repeated hard freezes, but seems to make a comeback when warmer weather resumes. If I could managed to get it covered, I wonder if I could harvest fresh broccoli all winter long?????

Mama Pea, I agree! Actually, things don't do so well here in the heat of summer. I'm thinking I need to focus more on fall, winter, and spring gardening. Something to experiment with!

Lynda, you forgot the garlic, oh no! :o LOL. If it was me, I'd go ahead and plant some now. You never know. :)

Serenity, my secret is goat and chicken poop. :) Composted of course, but it really has made a difference!

Nina, I'd love to have a hoop house! Maybe I get lazy because we have such a long growing season. Critters and bugs eating things though, is a common problem no matter where one gardens.

Mr. H, I have to say that I've seen results from those leaves. This year's tomatoes had no blossom end rot! I was very excited about that. :) I didn't realize calendula could be used as a salad green; thanks for that tidbit. I mostly love just having something bloom when the rest of the yard looks so bleak. :)

Jody said...

Hi Leigh, I'm so jealous. We have almost all the same stuff you have in our garden, only on a much smaller scale. I'm afraid we're too far north to see our cabbage, kale, beats, turnips and broccoli survive. At least we gave it a shot. You look like you're going to have an incredible early winter harvest! Nice job.

Doyu Shonin said...

You are awarded one green thumb for the parsnips, and the wheat looks terrific.

Laura Jeanne said...

Wow, you sure do keep yourself busy, Leigh! Everything looks wonderful.

Kids and Canning Jars said...

I am glad your garden is and has done so well. Mine not so much. We had an ok ammount but I am not happen with it. I hope I learn better what to do this time next year. Thanks for the great view of your garden...Melissa

Renee Nefe said...

Too bad you can put a few of those pesky deer who eat your garden in the freezer. :(
I have a great picture of the deer helping herself to my neighbor's garden...luckily we have 6 foot privacy fence and only get bunnies who don't devour the entire garden.

Grace said...

Leigh, I'm so impressed with your fall garden!

Mine is in and growing but on a much smaller scale, in my front yard. I actually have peas coming in!

I'm enjoying the whole fall gardening thing and I will certainly be doing this every year from now on. As always, thanks for the inspiration.

Ngo Family Farm said...

Beautiful, and so green! We're covered in snow here, so what a treat to see your thriving garden. I'm also excited to see how your wheat harvest goes next year--that's something we've been looking into as well.

BrokenRoadFarm said...

Looking good - inside AND outside!!

Leigh said...

Jody, as long as the weather stays fairly mild, it'll keep on growing. Last year everything went dormant when hard winter set in, but picked right back up in the spring!

Risa, thanks! I've actually never had a green thumb. I've probably killed more plants than I can count. I'm giving credit to the chickens and goats, for their contributions to the compost pile. :)

Laura Jeanne, that's the idea. :)

Melissa, I think fall gardening is a challenge too; that's why I'm so pleased with this one. It truly is the best I've had so far.

Renee, that's actually on the to-do list! Whether or not it happens remains to be seen!

Grace, and it will get better every year too! Now I'm wishing I'd planted peas, I think they would have done well.

Jaime, our experimental wheat patch did really well and was easy to grow. A larger harvest may be a bit of work!

BRF, thanks!

bspinner said...

Your so lucky to have nice weather so you can plant almost all year long,

Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

Wow! that's the Bestest garden ever :o) you have enough to last a while ..

Reginas Cottage said...

your garden looks wonderful.that is a dream of a garden.
and your kitchen from the last post is amazing.
blessings regina

Leigh said...

Barb, I agree. Hopefully the real winter weather will hold off just a little while longer.

Ginny, more than we can eat ourselves at the moment. :) Wondering if I should try to can some of those greens!

Regina, thanks!

Lynn's Urban Garden Diary said...

Everything looks so great! I'm so jealous. :)


Leigh said...

Thanks Lynn! For a number of years my fall gardens were a flop. I have to credit my compost for this one, which means I have to credit all the manure we get these days from our critters!

Tom Stewart said...

Hey Leigh,
Your Fall Garden looks great! The only thing I got in the ground is garlic and it is doing well. The weather has been very warm here. 79 degrees just two days ago.
Got to love the leaf mulch! I pick up as many bags as I can at curb side and have been using them as a layer in the new "Lasagne Garden" as I can and as mulch around the Garlic and the one lettuce plant that is still growing in the garden!

Meg @ said...

So jealous that you can plant in the fall and have such wonderful success!! We built some cold frames and we're hoping the stuff inside will take off while the world is covered with snow. Last year we got 83"!

Leigh said...

Thanks Tom! I'm giving that lasagne method a try too, in our beds. That can use a lot of leaves and it's amazing how quickly they deteriorate.

Meg, you probably won't feel that way next summer when my garden is dying of thirst from heat that wilts everything and evaporates the moisture right out of the ground! Not so sure I'd trade that for all your snow though!

CaliforniaGrammy said...

How did I miss this post? Your garden is gorgeous and plentiful. You are amazingly organized being able to pull off a fall garden along with all your projects going on inside the house. Nice job indeed!