Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Fall Garden

Autumn is upon us in great force here on the Wet Coast. I am sitting here listening to a storm passing by, with rain bouncing off the ground and wind whipping the trees. I have been hoping for a few more sunny days to do some much needed garden clean up, taking out some more summer plants, weeding and preparing one of my gardens for garlic planting. I had to use the one sunny non-work day this week to cut the lawn which has recovered from our summer drought like gangbusters! The continuing fall clean up will have to wait for the next sunny day

There are still some summer crops growing, like my cucumbers and tomatoes. I don't think that the smaller cukes will grow with the reduced sunlight, and I have brought in some green tomatoes to ripen inside (in a paper bag with an apple). Unfortunately many of the unripe tomatoes are beginning to rot.

My Banana Girl planted seeds from my cilantro in mid August and now we have delicious, fragrant cilantro for my salads and saut├ęs. Yum!

The everbearing strawberries are at it again. After a lull in August due to the heat, they have produced berries again. 

The mini garden that my daughters planted mid summer is doing very well, and we have been harvesting lettuce and carrots for some time, and their kale is ready to start using now. Given how shallow their raised bed is and how crowded it is, I'm not sure how well their beets will do, but the carrots have grown so perhaps the beets will be fine. I am interested to see how their broccoli does, as the ones I planted in a container are not looking as good. They also have chard in the mix. 

Speaking of kale, I planted two different kinds in the spring and they are both going strong, which is a good thing as my girls love kale chips. I hope to have these plants last all winter. I learned an interesting fact recently while researching perennial plants for veggie gardens - kale is a perennial that we usually grow as an annual! I can see that because I overwintered my kale last year and it was still going strong in the spring. I took it out, though, because it was getting woody unruly. 

In September I planted a couple of Asian greens, pac choi and gai lan, which I have never grown before. The first batch I planted were completely eaten by something. I suspect snails and slugs so the next time I planted them I sprinkled crushed egg shells to repel them from the seedlings. While there are still bite marks on the leaves it seems to be keeping the plants alive. 

Cauliflower is another new plant for me so I have no idea of what to expect. I am watching this one with great interest. I think I planted them too close to the turnips, which are taking over, however. 

Mustard greens were the hit of our summer garden so I decided to try a different variety in our fall garden. Red mustard is supposed to have a spicier zip, and these are ready to start picking so we will find out soon enough. 

Look at these turnips! Wowzers! I'm excited because I love stews and soups in the cold months and turnips are a must. I've also discovered that I like turnips in my homemade fried rice. I wish I had planted more.

The pride and joy of my fall garden is my Brussels sprouts! It is a tradition for me to grow these and harvest some for our Thanksgiving dinner and the rest for our Christmas dinner. I don't know why I didn't realize this before, but I just learned that the leaves can be used much like cabbage leaves. I've been using the more tender looking leaves sparingly. The sprouts seem smaller this year, although there is still a couple of growing weeks to go before Thanksgiving. 

Next up is preparing my beds for garlic as soon as we have a dry day for me to get outside. 

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