August 28, 2015

Fall Vegetables Garden versus Spring Gardening in Western Kentucky

It is very difficult to put a spring garden in Western Kentucky. The ground is usually too wet to rototill until April and by then it's already 80 degrees. And this year we had snow on the ground until the end of March.

Most people go straight to summer vegetables when they start planting. I've tried planting lettuce, radishes, peas, and potatoes in the spring with my first garden here. It got so hot so fast that the radishes were fiery hot, the peas didn't produce nary a thing, and the potato plants were huge and lush with not a single potato in the whole bed which can happen when there are periods of unrelenting heat. The only thing that was edible was the lettuce, and the White Icicle radish seed pods which I found to be interesting and delicious cooked. I do have friends who grow early spring lettuce, but they are windowsill or greenhouse grown.

Fall gardening is where it's at. The heat of summer dissipates in September leaving mild glorious weather till the first frost in November. But I am usually so exhausted from the hubbub of summer, all the cooking and preserving, that a big fall garden can seem daunting.

This year we didn't do any big preserving sprees. Just a lot of fresh eating and cooking from the garden, a little pickling and I made tons of baby food using garden produce. It was a really nice kind of casual summer gardening. Mostly due to the fact my tomatoes and peppers did so poorly this year. But that being said, it makes a fall garden seem fun and exciting.

So I've been spending what little free time I have cleaning out some of the garden beds. Yesterday I dug and raked and got the carrot bed planted out. A couple of the seed packets were ancient from 2009, carrot seeds are only good for 4 years and after that you're lucky if a single seed germinates, so it was good to get all those seeded out. I also planted radish, turnip, and beet seeds in the garden.

Then some more Brussels sprouts got started indoors because the plants planted out in June don't look too great, along with broccoli, kale, mustard, collard greens, Chinese celery, garland chrysanthemum, fennel, lettuce, and a whole bunch of Asian greens. Hopefully it's not too late to start Brussels sprouts or broccoli.

Clearing out the beds to get ready for fall planting:
Broccoli bed and summer squash bed have been completely cleared, and the bush beans have been cleaned out of the Brussels sprout bed. At the very bottom are artichoke plants.
The asparagus keep on putting out new ferns and they have 2 months to gain some size. Only 2 small artichoke plants remain, perhaps they didn't appreciate the exceptionally wet year we had and rotted out.
The pepper plants are starting to set some peppers. High heat can sterilize the pollen, keeping peppers from forming.


Margaret said...

Look at those glorious pepper plants - they are huge! It's funny, but we in the north always envy the long growing season in the south. Never really occurs to me that there may be issues of the "too hot, too fast" variety. But at least you have a nice long fall. Our first frost is at the beginning of October, but my experience in the past few years is that you get very little growth on anything much past mid-September.

Phuong said...

Hi Margaret,
Some of the pepper plants are almost 5 feet tall (1.524 meters), and a friend of mine growing a Poblano pepper in a big styrofoam container says hers is over 6 feet tall (1.83 meters). But I think our incredibly wet spring may have contributed to the plants gangliness.

Your fall garden looks great and it looks like you got a fantastic stand of carrots. It feels like winter is just around the corner, soon it'll be Christmas!

Texan said...

Yes we are a summer vegetable area as well. I stopped trying to plant vegetables that need a long cool spring. Once we come out of winter we stay cool a short time, not long enough to grow winter veggies it seems. I have tried potatoes, cabbages, brussels, broccoli, beets, well just a lot of them and no luck. Like you by fall I am so wore out I don't usually do much if anything. I have a bunch of winter greens seeds I would like to try this year. I will put in my garlic. I read a blog where a gal grows year around she is in Kentucky I am pretty sure. She grows under the fabric cloth stuff and there will be snow on top of it but her winter greens are lovely. So if I can get them planted I am going to try greens. Greystone is holding is own at this point! :O) We are hopeful he will make it... Let me ask what type of computer nerd are you LOL I saw it on your profile. I am considering a career change, into computer land.

Phuong said...

Hi Texan,
My father's been retired a couple years, but he did a big career change in his 50s. Started out by taking a night course in C++ programming and the last dozen years he did very very well as a programmer. If you're interested in programming, then I say yes. Do it. You usually have to work in or around a metropolitan area, but some companies allow you to work from home.

Personally, I haven't worked as a programmer since after college.

Texan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Phuong said...

Hi Texan,
Sorry, my little one accidently deleted your comment when he grabbed the mouse. I'm glad Greystone isn't getting worse at least.

Programming is still a great field. Competitive but still very worthwhile.