Archive for June, 2013

Fall Gardening 101

Enough spinach to choke Popeye!

Enough spinach to choke Popeye!

I know that summer just started and many of us are still waiting for that first ripe tomato, but it is time to start planning for FALL gardening.  Fall gardening is something many people don’t even think about or if they do, it’s way too late in the year to do anything about it.  In some ways, fall gardening is much easier than spring gardening…the only really difficult part of it is the timing of the plantings and babying some plants through August heat waves.  The rest is pretty easy.

fall harvest2012 008

I’ve been gardening in the fall for several years now and have had amazing harvests of lettuces, radishes, beets, beans, kohlrabi, turnips, and carrots.  This year I plan on growing fall broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts as well.  Fall is also time to plant spinach and garlic for a harvest of spinach in April and May and a harvest of Garlic in June.

fall harvest2012 004

Fall planting is usually done in 3 stages.

  • Stage 1:  Early August — Planting transplants of beets, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, and kohlrabi.  Planting seeds of turnips, carrots, and beans.
  • Stage 2: Early September — Planting transplants of lettuce and seeds of radishes.
  • Stage 3: Early October — planting transplants and seeds of spinach, and cloves of garlic.

If you have space in your garden that will be empty during these stages after you have harvested your summer crops, it is a great idea to use the spaces to grow fall vegetables.

This year I will offer a limited quantity of transplants and seed packets to help you plant your fall garden.  There will not be an open sales time, all plants will be pre-order only.  Plants will come in densely planted cups with 5-25 plants per container.  The lower count containers will be plants such as Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli.  The higher count varieties will be types such as lettuces, beets, and spinach.  Seed packets will have enough seeds to plant a 12 foot row, depending on variety.

Prices for plants and seeds are as follows:  Stage 1–$20; Stage 2–$10; Stage 3–$10.  All three stages $35.

I will also be offering a la carte hoop loops and Agribond floating row covers which are great for covering your lettuce to extend your harvest into early Winter.  Hoop loops will be 3 for $12 and Agribond fabric will be $1 per running foot (83 inches wide).

Seed garlic is very expensive and needs to be ordered very soon.  I will not be offering seed garlic, but you should order yours online ASAP for delivery to your home this fall.  I recommend these vendors for purchasing seed garlic:

http://www.territorialseed.com/

http://www.seedsavers.org/onlinestore/Garlic/

http://www.thegarlicstore.com/

Order a half pound (8 oz) of a variety that looks interesting to you.  I recommend getting a “stiffneck or hardneck” variety as these have amazing flavor.  I personally grow Russian Red and Elephant Garlic (actually a leek).

I am a school teacher and fall is a VERY busy time of the year for me.  This is why I will not be offering open sales dates and will only be taking pre-orders for plants and seeds.  Pickup of plants will be at your convenience at my driveway gate during specific time frames.  Stage 1 will be  August 2, 3, and 4.  Stage 2 will be September 6, 7, and 8.  Stage 3 will be September 27, 28, and 29.

If you are interested in purchasing any of the stages and/or hoop loops/Agribond fabric, please send me an e-mail at kctomatotimes@gmail.com.  I will send you a PayPal invoice or you can send me a check to reserve your desired stages and materials.  I need to have all pre-orders in by July 15th so that I can begin starting seeds and ordering other materials.

If you have any questions….feel free to ask and I’ll help you on your way to a great fall garden!

garlic2013 004Russian Red and Elephant Garlic harvested this morning

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First day of Summer video blogging

 

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Septoria running rampant, but otherwise we’re growing!

I have tried to stay as “organic” as possible when it comes to insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides.  Pyola has served me well as an organic insecticide, but this spring I had to break out the liquid Sevin spray to fight the dreaded cutworms that killed ten of my tomato plants.  I only use herbicides in my garden paths and the driveway, never use them in the garden beds.  For the past several years I have used Ortho Garden Disease Control (Daconil) to slow the spread of fungal diseases with pretty good results.  However, this year’s cool and wet weather has Septoria running rampant and it is laughing at my weekly treatment of fungicide.  I’m on my way out now to find some Mancozeb to wage war against this fungus or I may not end up with any tomatoes this year!

In other news, the rest of the garden is doing well.  We’ve been eating lettuce for months, but we’re about done with it as it is bolting in the hot weather.

Last of the lettuces

Last of the lettuces

The onions are sizing up nicely as are the beets.

First harvest of beets.  We need to get some goat cheese!

First harvest of beets. We need to get some goat cheese!

The cauliflower has been amazing as we’ve devoured heads of Cheddar and Veronica and will soon be eating the purple variety Graffiti.

Graffiti cauliflower...tastes as good as it looks!

Graffiti cauliflower…tastes as good as it looks!

The tomato and pepper plants are setting fruit and we’re just a week or two away from the first ripe tomato!

Tomato plants are blooming and setting fruit!

Tomato plants are blooming and setting fruit!

We’ve been drinking kale in morning smoothies and are loving this delicious way to eat this most nutritious green.

Loads of delicious, drinkable kale with asparagus in the background

Loads of delicious, drinkable kale with asparagus in the background

The garlic is a week or two from harvesting.  I dig it when most of the leaves have turned brown.  We have elephant and Russian Red garlic filling this bed.

Vampire prevention!

Vampire prevention!

We had loads of kohlrabi this year, but are waiting a bit to harvest these monster Kossack storage kohlrabi.  They are bigger than grapefruits and growing fast!

THAT is a kohlrabi!!

THAT is a kohlrabi!!

We’ve also tried our hand at starting our own sweet potato slips.  It takes a couple of months to get them to the planting stage, now I know why the slips are so expensive to buy!

Sweet potato slip ready to go in the soil.

Sweet potato slip ready to go in the soil.

The summer squash are growing nicely as well and should be flowering soon.

Summer squash can't be far away!

Summer squash can’t be far away!

The cucumbers have found their way to the fence and are starting to climb.

Cukes are climbing!

Cukes are climbing!

The onions are sizing up and will be ready in a month or so.  We’ve eaten a LOT of green onions but will have plenty for storage in the freezer this summer.

Onions from Dixondale farms

Onions from Dixondale farms

I’m again growing corn…it’s such a waste of space though.  If we get  few tasty ears it will be worth some of the trouble.

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The carrot bed is very lush and rabbit free!

Bugs bunny eat your heart out!

Bugs bunny eat your heart out!

The bush beans are just about to flower.  I’m hoping to have enough beans to eat lots fresh and then can some with my pressure cooker.

Bush Beans...Early Contender

Bush Beans…Early Contender

All in all, it has been a great growing season.  Now…off to find some wicked effective fungicide!

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A June Tour of the Garden

It has been an incredible year for growing this year.  The tomatoes and peppers are a bit behind, but the cool season crops are still thriving!  I took some videos this morning…enjoy!

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