Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fall Garden Time

Last Wednesday evening, I gave a talk at the Mountainview Library (in Marietta) on starting the fall garden. I handed out a planting schedule, and I am pretty sure that many attendees were not all that happy to see that the time to start the fall garden is . . . now.

It doesn't help that this has been an unusually hot summer, but I when I see those "Christmas in July" fliers from the local crafts shops, I know it's time to get busy with the planning and soil preparation. To be honest, I am running a little behind.

Last weekend I started some seeds in the ground (Detroit Dark Red and Detroit Golden beets; winter radishes -- an assortment), and I also started a flat of seedlings to transplant to the garden when more spaces open up and the temperature outside has moderated a bit. I took the flat to the talk with me as a "visual aid."

I planted the seeds on Sunday afternoon, and then I set the flat on a shelf in the dining room. In summer, when it is SO VERY HOT outside, I get better germination if the flat starts out indoors. However, I left it inside one day too long. On Tuesday evening when I got home from work, I could see that some seedlings had emerged and were already taller than they should be!

I hustled the flat right out of the house and into the garden, where it now resides under some tulle - to protect it from insects. The above photo is from Wednesday, and the too-tall seedlings are pretty obvious. Since then, those have fleshed out enough that they don't look so strange, and a lot of other seedlings have come up.

This is what I put in the flat: Bloomsdale spinach, Detroit Dark Red beets (as back-ups for the ones started outside), Marvel of Four Seasons lettuce, Capitan lettuce, Bronze Arrow lettuce, Georgia collards, Red Russian kale, China Choy bok choy, Pan du Zucchero chicory, and Perpetual Spinach chard.

Today, I prepared the bed that the carrots will go in. I was going to plant them, but it looks like we will be getting some serious rain in the next 24 hours, and I don't want the little seeds to wash away.

I'll start more lettuces and spinach in a couple of weeks, when I plant the first "regular" radishes (probably French Breakfast).

Meanwhile, the summer veggies are still coming in. I pulled out the cucumber plants today, because they looked absolutely terrible, so this is the last of the cucumbers. They've been coming to the table for a month now, though, so I can't complain. They've been great!

Most of those tomatoes and a couple of the peppers went into a pizza sauce. The rest went into the dehydrator. The okra were promptly fried and eaten. I only planted six okra plants this year, and they are producing just enough to be a real treat. Of course, they will produce through most of October, so there is a chance that we will get tired of them at some point - but that's hard to imagine right now.


  1. Your home-grown produce looks SO good! Mine looks pitiful in comparison, but still tastes delish.

    I'm about where you are with fall planting except I'm a zone or so colder, therefore late. Hopefully row covers will help come October.

  2. I'm no good at fall gardens, and can't tell you how many times i've tried. Good luck with yours!

  3. Darius -- In home-grown foods, looks are a lot less important than flavor and nutritional value. My garden does seem to be having a pretty good year, though, in spite of the crazy heat. The insect damage has been minimal so far.

    If you are just north enough to be able to grow the million varieties of Appalachian pole beans, then I am jealous. I try a new one almost every year, but it is too hot here for most of them to actually make beans.

    EG -- Some years my fall garden does better than other years, but I have figured out that if I start soon enough, I will have at least a nice harvest of lettuces, chard, and bok choy. The broccoli is iffy, but that doesn't stop me from going out each year to buy a "six-pack" of plants at a garden supply store and planting them!


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