A Fall Garden

After my summer of B.L.A.H. (see last post), and feeling the pressure of the current supply chain crunch, I’m all into my fall gardening. We are in gardening Zone 8a; a very nice zone for fall and winter gardening. It always has surprised me that more people around here don’t do much fall gardening. And no, mums don’t count. Most people plant for the summer garden, and that’s great and all, but fall/winter are very productive, too.

This year, I’m trying out a few new varieties of veggies, mostly from Seed Treasures and Baker Creek. Some of the new things in the starter “greenhouse” are: Red Acre cabbage, Goliath broccoli, Chijimisai greens, Purple Lady bok choi, Chinese Pink celery, He Shi Ko bunching onion, and Sweet Spanish onion (from seed). Brassicas and greens do especially well for us during fall/winter, and they are so good for you! I use all the parts from my cabbages and broccoli; even the leaves. They are great in soups and stir fries, and very easy to dehydrate for later use.

I start most of my seeds inside in a cheap little “greenhouse” that I got from Tractor Supply. It has 4 shelves, and on the top three, I have a seed heating pad and two grow lights per shelf. The heating pads are from Amazon, and I have used Wal-Mart’s linkable grow lights. Right now, the temps inside are such that I don’t turn on the heating pads, but I will in December, especially, as I start my seeds for February plantings.

I use plastic containers from leftovers and salad mixes, mostly, with a soil-less seed mix. I am bad about planting stuff too deep, so this year I was extra careful, and only had to replant a couple of things. I found that spinach is especially picky and so I barely even covered it, misted it daily, and it all finally came up the second time around. I leave containers covered with a clear lid (or even Saran wrap) until the first true leaves come in, then I remove that.

I should have planted two weeks earlier to get everything to the right size for transplanting (I really want everything in by this week), so I’d recommend starting your seeds for most fall things no later than the last week of August if you are in my zone.

Some things you don’t want to transplant, like carrots. In the outside beds, I planted these seeds: Kohlrabi, turnips, two kinds of beets, radishes, chard, carrots (4 types), potatoes (an experiment), and garlic. Kinda miffed at the garlic.

I ordered garlic for the very first time and it was PRICEY stuff. With shipping, it was $25 for TWO HEADS. Yikes. Anyway, I planted it several weeks ago and….nothing. I got impatient and dug some up on Monday. Several had rotted, five pieces had rooted, and the rest were just sitting there and had done NOTHING. I replanted the rooted ones, chunked the rotted ones, and took in the ones that had done nothing. Earlier this year, I had rooted some garlic indoors and transplanted it later on and it did well. So that’s what I’ll do again. I have the ends of the pieces barely in some soil and I’m making sure the soil doesn’t dry out. Since the container is clear, I will be able to watch the roots develop and I’ll transplant them when I see good roots. Angry at the garlic priced like gold, I went to Wal-Mart and grabbed a sack of garlic like I usually do, and planted it all over our gardens. It doesn’t need covering when the cold comes, at least not here, so you can plant it wherever it will get full sun. UPDATE: A week later, about seven more cloves of garlic had rooted. YAY. I planted it yesterday.

What’s in your fall garden?

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