7.15.2013

Getting Ready for Winter

Huh? With temps in the 90's? Winter? Are you insane Tiny G?!

I am pretty sure that we gardeners are messed up in the head. We have dreams of tomatoes and peppers in January, and dreams of row covers and brussel sprouts in July. Kind of like horse show people (I mean, only an insane person would wear jeans, leather chaps, and long sleeved heavy jackets in the middle of Summer to get a tiny piece of crappy polyester they call a ribbon.)

But all judgements aside, you read me right, I'm getting prepared for winter. Well, really I'm getting ready for the fall garden. I've never actually grown a designated "fall garden" before (unless you count leaving tomatoes and peppers in until it snows), so like most ventures in my life, I'm gonna fly by the seat of my pants.

But, unfortunately, I do have to plan for this, just a little bit. The thought came to me yesterday when I noticed the garlic is about 5 days away from harvest, and Hubby said "What are we going to put there?"

Obviously, nothing! No wait, why not? What grows in the coldish weather? Kale, brussel sprouts, carrots, beets, radishes, lettuces, peas (PEAS!!!), cabbages, broccoli, and spinach. I'm sure there is more stuff, but this short list just about sums up what we eat.

So how do you go about this fall gardening thing? Well, first off, figure out when your first frost is (ours is about October 18) and count back 12 weeks (this weekend for me!) and that is when you should start your brassicas indoors. Let them go for about 3 weeks, then set them out into the garden. Then be crafty and look up when you should direct sow the root stuff and leafy greens like lettuces. This will depend on the variety of seeds you have, your weather patterns, etc... (I'm no expert here, flying pants and all). I'm pretty sure you could do a direct sowing of lettuces and spinach every couple of weeks and have a continuous supply until the snow starts flying, but don't start them too early or else the heat will get to them and they will bolt and go bitter.

And don't forget about the garlic! Plant that goodness towards the end of October. I usually get to it by Halloween, but no later. You could also do a green manure crop to add some good organic matter to your soil for the upcoming Spring.

So what about y'all? Are you going to do some fall gardening? Any tips for me?


6 comments:

  1. I started a few cabbages and more lettuce just yesterday, in my handy dandy new (on sale for $2 each) windowsill greenhouses. Today I started packing the semi-decomposed leaves from the compost pile, and put them on the newly emptied areas, then called my son to tell him I'm almost ready for a load of cow poo to top off the beds. Soon I'll plant more beets, and later will do the spinach. We can do this, Tiny!

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    1. We can totally do this! You should take a picture of those greenhouses, I'd like to check them out. I will probably just start mine and cover the trays with plastic bags. I recently dismantled my seed starting shelf, and there is no way I am putting it back together for just a tray or 2!

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    2. I couldn't find the NK brand on line, but they are identical to this one selling for $10.36 (ridiculous price for a bunch of cheap plastic):

      http://tinyurl.com/m2sbu7c

      I'm not crazy about the NK seed starting kits, only because the plastic domes are so flimsy. Jiffy makes a much sturdier one, but the $2 clearance price was too enticing! They do fit nicely on my laundry room window shelves, whereas the 73-cell trays are way too cumbersome and a bit too wide. I hear you on the plant shelves. I put mine outside for the summer, and I'm not bringing them back in until next March! It's too hot out there for the seed starting, I think. We're heading right back up into triple digit days. I planted 3 rows of carrots just before we got those 110+ days, and 1 carrot germinated. Yes, that's ONE carrot.

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  2. wow.... you just amaze me... maybe I should try to grow some garlic... hmmmm

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  3. As I just last year (or was it the year before?) started Fall gardens, I'm not of much help. I think the lightbulb came on one year when ALL my garden was finished, by, like, the middle of July. Then I'm like, DUH! Fall Garden!

    I would think that your list of yummies sounds pretty good for fall garden candidates. I've been starting my seeds outside, I just hope it's not too gawd-awful hot for them that the fry to a crisp. Oh, and you could use some plastic tarp when the temps get lower during the end of the fall garden season.

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  4. It's too hot here to start a fall garden. I just leave the summer stuff til about Oct. or so, then rip it out and I'm done. Get too freezing cold too fast here....

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