October 31, 2015

Weather Watching and Planting the Last of the Winter Garden

A row of beets flanked by two rows of spinach.
Chicory and a wayward asparagus fern.
Italian sprouting turnip needing to be harvested.
Flanked on both sides by tall sprouting turnips and sprouting broccoli, the carrots may never have had a chance.
Little lettuce starts that I finally planted in the ground, mainly Susan Green Oak and Arctic Crisp.
Turnips germinated in just 4 days, yayyy!
These are my two newly seeded/planted beds. On the left I tried Granny's homemade seed tape technique for carrots, turnips, and lettuce using paper towels and Elmer's glue. On the right is four regular rows of spinach, fennel, turnips, and radishes.
Fennel seedlings look very similar to spinach seedlings.
Basil still alive, although there are a few dark spots from when they were touched by cold.
Green eggplants still forming, there's 3 dangling fruits on this plant.
The wayward eggplant is in the asparagus nursery bed. The asparagus is looking great even for how late in the season it is.
On the other end of the asparagus nursery bed is a couple artichoke plants, and you can make out a few lemon grass plants.
The daikon radish are starting to form, so exciting.

Ah. Watching the weather with hawk-eyes, trying to outrun the cold and get some fall planting done. I finally got the last of the lettuce, spinach, Asian greens, radishes, carrots, beets and turnips planted about a week and a half later than I had planned but at least it’s done. I’m crossing my fingers and toes for a mild December like the weather people are predicting but we shall see. We’ve been eating lots of radish and turnip greens from thinning their beds, the radish greens are perfect because the stems cook up tender and thus they don't require de-stemming. The greens have been tasty sautéed with onions and garlic, a dash of Vietnamese fish sauce and sometimes finished off with a couple of eggs cracked over the top and cooked sunny-side up and then served atop rice. Sometimes I add a squeeze of lime but lately I've been eyeing the flavored vinegars at the grocery store.

The radish roots themselves have been pretty spicy with the warm weather, I’ve been giving them to a friend who enjoys the extra bite. The October planting of radishes should be wonderfully mild and crisp and grow to gargantuan size by early December.

And come to find out most of the carrot beds that were planted at the end of August are now pretty much shaded most of the day, so there’s little chance for those carrots to mature. The beds I’ve been planting this week get a lot more sun but it is getting way late in the season. Gardening in a new place does that to a person. Our old place got full sun all day long and everything grew and grew fast.

There's still 2 beds left that can be planted up but it's probably not going to happen. In the spring my husband is planning to till the whole yard and rake it flat, so garlic will have to be planted in containers.

October 29, 2015

Tomatoes Cleared Out And An Update On Late Summer Sown Vegetables

Finally cleared out the tomato beds. Such a chore. Getting the posts from the tomato fencing down was tough, my partner must have used a sledge hammer to pound them in the ground.

But it had to be done if there was any hope to get the lettuce, more spinach, carrots, turnips, and beets planted. I've been watering everyday by hand with the watering can while the newly emerging infant plants get established. It's been so dry this fall, we might have had one rain storm in September and a couple light rains in early October. The ground was so dry to begin with, the rain actually made the soil the perfect texture to dig. I'd been digging each bed as I got them cleared out and then planting them up one by one.

All the old seeds has been getting used up this fall which is so satisfying. If they don't come up I just seed something else in its place. A surprise was the ancient kohlrabi seeds from 2009 and 2011. All of them must have come up and now there's a 25 foot row of them. Hilarious. Especially since we've never eaten kohlrabi.

Carrots and radishes were planted together in a couple of beds. Never again. What a horrible mistake. When you pull radishes the carrot seedlings come up right along with them. It is so much trouble. But come to find out it's better to thin a bed when the soil is dry, I was able to carefully pull radishes without bringing up too many carrots along with them.

Did I ever mention they had a pitcher's mound in the middle of where the garden is now? A gigantic pile of sand. Huge. It's made the clay soil really friable in places, hopefully it'll make for long delicious carrots this winter.

They were predicting our first frost to be November 18th. We shall see. The weather had been in the 80's (26 degrees Celsius) the last couple of weeks, but has cooled down this week in the 60's and 70's.

Tomato, corn, and egg on top of rice. The tomato was picked green when the garden was cleared out and allowed to ripen on the counter. Not as flavorful as a sun-warmed vine-ripened tomato but still good with a nice crispy texture. The corn was picked at a friend's farm.
These carrots were planted August 27th, so they are definitely growing slowly, very slowly.
Shogoin turnips planted at the same time as the carrots, this variety takes longer to mature in general and they are just starting to head up.
The kohlrabi stems are starting to swell.
To the left of the turnips in the same bed are the kohlrabi which are being crowded by the huge turnip plants. The bed to the right contain late summer sown radishes and carrots, the radishes have been cleared out of the sections containing carrots.