Thursday, September 23, 2010

highlights of our season end meeting

It was a great gardening season. HORRIBLE weather but what a lot was gained in this season of gardening. I know you each learned something you didn't know. You all worked hard and that in it's self is a big gain. What we learn we can do gets easier to do.

Here are some snippets of what we covered in our last meeting.

To put your garden to bed for the winter:

1. Clean out everything if you don't you invited nasty bugs to winter, plants will keep growing and grow leggy and be attacked by one thing after the other. Don't leave what you aren't growing

2. Don't cover your garden with plastic directly on the ground (mold)
Don't put compost in until spring unless you are planning a winter garden or planting over wintering seeds.
With all our rain the compost nutrients will be nearly gone by spring planting

3. Clean the ground around the garden of gardening debris. You can be your own worst enemy but letting things rot in the garden. The compost bin is for rotting items.

4. If you wish to protect your soil you can put a mulch over your garden. Newspaper, peat moss, straw. Just keep in mind anything you lay down will be a home for some kinds of bugs. Remove straw in the spring it doesn't compost fast enough to leave in your garden. If you cover over wintering seeds uncover them in late Jan.

What if you do want to garden through the winter what do you do?

I planted late summer seeds for fall harvest. They include beets, kale, carrots, spinach, broccoli, choi's, any of your orange cards. I am starting to harvest the kale, spinach and broccoli. I want to leave a lot of things for that kiss of frost which will sweeten kale, beets and many carrots. This means that I have not put my garden to bed yet and I won't be until late Oct or frozen nights which ever comes first. Shockingly I am still harvesting beans that are still producing.

If you did not plant seeds for a fall harvest you can not reasonably plant now and have the plants have enough heat to grow. The only exception I see is that great salad table, which I plant now and grow all winter with a cover and a 60 watt bulb. Yummy miners lettuce etc. You can plant your garlic and Shallots now.

What can you winter over?

Wintering over means planting seeds from varieties that can take cold ground and then spring to life in early spring.
Some plants work very well this way, others it is a waste of time.
What works for me is to plant the kales, chard, beets and broccoli but not the peas they rot and rarely make it. Here are some of the seeds I work from and any with the key words, early, winter, frost etc. will work. You need to protect these seeds with mulch or at least plant them a bit deeper than you normally would. (not so deep they can't ever pop out!)

Lettuce-Arctic tundra blend (winter hardy)
mico greens mix (harvest when small )
Arctic King butterhead
Provencal winter mix (a nice mix of winter hardy greens)

Kale- Winter Red

Broccoli- Rudolph early sprouting

Beets-flat of Egypt

Chard- Fordhook Giant Swiss chard

Carrot- Merida
Autumn king

Little Hints

Before I winter over my garden I take a trowel and stir up the soil and destroy any cut worms, or other under the soil bugs! It's worth it to me to keep the bugs under control naturally

Got green tomatoes? if you don't see signs of blight then remove any blooms, any un-needed green and see if those 4 days of sunshine next week do it. I hear it will be in the 70's yeah! If that doesn't work collect the green tomatoes and do one of the following:

1. Make green relish
2. make fried green tomatoes they are yummy
3. dip the tomatoes in a 9/1 water to bleach solution dry and put in a paper bag with one uncut apple.
Check the bag every week removing the spoils or the conquests.

Donna's wisdom: Everything comes in a cycle, Bugs have theirs, air and water currents have theirs, we have ours. We garden with the hope that we can adjust to the cycle already in place without us! We plant everything we love and we only get what can survive the cycle then upon it. We have to love gardening for the hope of possibility.

Fonnell's widsom......don't worry if your garden pays for itself now. If you were hungry and you didn't know how to grow anything then who is going to feed you? By your third year of paying attention to the garden you will have gained so many skills it will pay for itself. Do you think you would have any veggie or fruits to buy at the store if the farmers felt it payed for itself? Good question. Some times it does, sometimes it doesn't

Donna is a senior citizen, once the superintendent of the floral for the Evergreen State fair and a very wise gardening friend of mine.

1 comment:

jamie said...

thanks so much for this info. i was just wondering the other day how i should put my garden to sleep for the winter. questions answered!