October 1, 2012

Early Start on My Spring Garden

Well, here it is, October 1st, and I'm still trying to get my fall garden in. Why is it I can never bring myself to plant my fall garden when my Cooperative Extension says I ought: July and August? I suppose one reason is that it seems odd that cool weather loving plants would even want to bother when the temps are in the 90s F everyday. For another, (with the exception of this year), these are the months when we have our summer dry spell. That makes keeping teeny seedlings alive a challenge.

Wando peas and purple top turnips, all doing well.
This is the cattle panel I showed you in my last garden post.

Because it's so late I'm wondering if anything will have a chance to grow before it gets cold and everything goes dormant. If not, I figure what isn't ready to harvest this fall and winter, will be next spring.

Here's what I've planted so far, from saved seed unless otherwise noted:
  • peas, Wando
  • turnips, Purple Top White Globe
  • beets, Detroit Red
  • garlic
  • lettuce, mixed saved seed, all old
  • carrots, Parisienne (thank you freebie from Baker Creek)
  • parsnips, All American
  • onions, multiplier
  • Hulless Oats (Baker Creek)
  • cabbage-collards, Morris Heading (Shumway)
  • celery, Tendercrisp (Baker Creek)
  • kale, Dwarf Siberian (Baker Creek)
  • collards, Vates, (Shumway)
  • broccoli, Calabrese, a new variety for me (Baker Creek)

Dwarf Siberian kale planted fall of 2011. I'ts making a comeback.
This one will be for seed saving. I planted more for eating.

I grew the Dwarf Siberian kale last year, from a gift packet of seeds from Baker Creek. We loved it. It was so much tastier than any kale I'd grown before. I had so many brassicas growing however, that I was uncertain that the plants didn't cross pollinate, so I didn't save seed. My workaround for that in the future, will be to rotate which seeds I save. If kale, then I'll pull everything else to make sure the kale seeds will indeed grow kale.

I pushed all the cantaloupe vines out of the way, but left them to grow.
I planted new kale seed in the bare spot. 

In the past, I've always waited until a row or bed finished producing, then pulled the old plants and prepared the soil for the next thing. This time I found space wherever I could, pushed summer plants out of the way, and planted in the midst of them. For some reason I can't bear to pull plants that are still trying to produce, even though I know they'll soon be goners with first frost due in a couple of weeks.

Garlic just starting to come up. I planted over 150 cloves this year.

This year I'm planting more too. I'm planting whole beds with one thing rather than dividing the bed into sections. I figure what the heck. There'll be plenty for us and for the goats, plenty for seed saving, and lots of spring leftovers for the pigs.

Volunteer parsnips. You can see my sweet potato plants in the top right

Because most everything is recently planted, there isn't much to show you. Hopefully it will all get a good head start before cold weather slows everything down. Of course, now that I've finally got almost everything planted, it has decided to not rain. Still, it's in. And that's something.


sista said...

I know just how you feel. I am still picking green beans although they seem to be slowing down and I just started ripping out the squash plants. It's so hard to do when there is the smallest glimmer of hope. I also have a hard time planting fall crops in the heat of the summer. I always end up planting late so I look for varieties that have a shorter maturity date. Like 55 day beets (Merlin)You can see this on my post.a-winter-garden-everyone-should-have-one Also a solution to the fact that it is hard to start cool weather plants in the heat of summer. I have had to provide shade. I'm glad it's not just me. Your garden will be great I'm sure.

Teri said...

How about covering the plants with some gardening fabric or a plant hoop, kinda like a mini greenhouse.

Amy Dingmann said...

Seems like with gardening (and much of life) its a guessing game. Once you think you have it figured out, it changes. And you never know what curve ball Mother NAture is going to throw next. But, like you said, you got it in...and that's what matters! Now it is a game of wait and see. :)

Leigh said...

Sista, good idea about the short maturing varieties for late fall garden planting. And I agree, everyone should have a fall garden. :)

Teri, I've seen several examples of shade cloth gardens and always thought it would be useful here. I may try that next year.

MamaTea, ain't that the truth!

Megan said...

It is terribly hard to get a winter/fall garden planted in August, isn't it? This is the first year I think I've actually done things on time, but it's due to missing all of summer. Hopefully your plants will take off before frost comes!

Nina said...

I understand teh difficulty in planting a fall garden in the height of summer. That's when I'd have to do it too. It's hard to justify planting the fall garden in the same space as the summer garden, when it's in full bloom and production.
You could put up a hoop house and extend your growing season for some of the fall crops. Since your winter is so mild, you'd likely get a really long fall season out of it.

Unknown said...

We struggle every year with the decision to fight the heat and start the crops. When we don't; we regret it later and fret over it. When we do; we are so glad that whether it survives or not, we made the effort. Hope your garden continues to thrive.

Susan said...

I like that Dwarf Siberian Kale - I might try that next year. I did manage to reseed some lettuce and spinach in my cold frame. If I could get spinach into January, I would be very, very happy. My Swiss chard is rampant and I set up the hoops for this winter. I am putting plastic over it this time, as I am hoping the snow will slide off. Your garden looks amazingly good for the temps you've gotten this year.

Laura said...

The only fall things that are in yet in my garden are some beets (not enough), and peas. I have lots of kale that I want to plant, lettuce and broccoli, but I haven't done it yet! I have hoops over my raised beds, and ordered the clips to hold the plastic on, which have arrived, along with the plant "fleece" for under the plastic to protect them even more. I'm hoping to get out there today to get started on the next bed, too... Oh well - we'll get it done or we won't!

Farmer Barb said...

How do you sow your Hulless oats? I have some , too, but am a little clueless on how to get them in. Fling and rake? can I sow them in ground with grass? Do they start and then pick-up again after the winter? So many QUESTIONS!!!

Sherri B. said...

It has been an odd gardens year for us..Late spring, second year in a row! Then rabbits invaded..we were not even prepared for that and feel kind of blind sided..ugh. Lessons learned and a new beginning next spring. xo

Lynda said...

Can't wait to see how your hulless oats do...they are on my wish list! The kale sounds good, too. I planted the red and dinosaur again for this fall...but the Dwarf Siberian sounds pretty good.

Leigh said...

Megan thanks! I just noticed yesterday that they are predicting a late first frost. That would be very good indeed, considering how late I planted everything.

Nina, I used to make a hoop house a goal every year. I didn't this year because I never seem to get to it! It might be a good idea to try though, especially for fresh greens.

Michele, that's it exactly!

Susan, I need a cold frame too! Another item on my to do list. How do you like your Swiss chard? I canned a bunch my 2nd summer and we have yet to finish it. :o I really like spinach better, but that Dwarf Siberian kale is mighty tasty too.

Laura, I've heard about that plant fleece and will be very interested to know what you think about it. And one year, I'll try the hoops. Last year our winter was so mild, I didn't even need them. No guarantee this year will be like that though.

Barb, grains seems to do well if just broadcast onto the ground. The robins scarfed down all my tiny experimental patch of hulless barley though, so I do try to rake the seeds in at least. If it rains hard though, that will uncover and rearrange everything! The hulless oats were just a small seed packet. Hopefully this will be my seed crop for next year. :)

Sherri, it's try, it's always something! We see rabbits around by as far as I know, they've never eaten much in the garden. Deer on the other hand .... grrrr.

Lynda, the Dwarf Siberian is hardy and has the most delicious, nutty flavor. We eat it raw!

Mama Pea said...

I don't know whether to be jealous of you being able to grow things in your garden nearly year round or if I should be appreciative of having some time off from gardening! Seeing spring-like growth this time of year seems so foreign to our area where all is definitely dying and heading into winter slumber time.

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Leigh, how Totally Impressive! I'm sitting here, stiff and sore from moving rock and thinking...I'll just buy my food.
Dunderhead! That's me -grin-.

Leigh said...

Mama Pea, I hear you about having time off. I confess that I don't do many garden chores during winter, even though I ought to be gathering mulch!

Sandra, thanks! Struggling with wiregrass makes me feel the same way. :)