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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fall Garden

So the Fall Garden is mostly planted. Tonight, I will be planting the rest of the turnips, cabbage, and onion. I know that I am late, but we left for two-weeks right in the middle of fall planting season. So its the best I can do.

So let me first explain my beds. I have a total of 12 4'x8' beds. Each bed is seperated by a 2.5' walking row. The walking row is only 6' deep; with the last 2' of the walking row being another planting space. These spaces will be used to plants that I will save seed from (hence they have to be planted longer), for extra space, or for experiments. Here is a look at the set of; this is Bed 11 on the left and Bed 12 on the right:

You can see the walking row between the two beds. I covered it with a piece of outdoor carpet laid over a piece of plastic. The row is a little dirty right now because I have to figure out how to keep some of the mulch from 'running' when it rains. You can see the extra planting space at the end of the walking row. All of the plantable areas are raised about 6" higher than the surrounding ground; this has helped a lot with drainage.
This is what I have planted:
Bed 1 - Cover Crop of Oats - germination was poor, so its basically a cover crop of winter weeds
Bed 2 - Winter weeds
Bed 3 - garlic, collards, spinach, mesculin, and radish
Bed 4 - Winter weeds
Bed 5 - Cover crop of Hairy Vetch - just planted hoping it takes
Bed 6 - onion, turnips, cabbage
Bed 7 - winter weeds
Bed 8 - winter weeds
Bed 9 - onion, broccoli, spinach, leeks
Bed 10 - Cover crop of Winter Wheat - poor germination
Bed 11 - carrots, lettuce
Bed 12 - garlic, spinach, cauliflower, onion
Look under the link 'Garden Beds' to see more information about the beds and what I have planted at any given point and to get an overview of the status of my garden.
So as you can see, I only have 5 beds planted for the fall. Eventually, all 5 beds will be covered with 1.5 mil plastic sheeting like Bed 12 is covered above (with tulle for insects). These were really cheap to make and I discuss them in an earlier post.
Things look ok so far. I expected to see more growth by now. I just figured out that I probably planted too earlier. Just three weeks ago, it was still 88 degrees here. The soil appears to be about 70 degrees now (air temps are around 75 now), so I hope some of my seeds will start to germinate now that the soil has cooled some.
Here are some shots of the progress so far:
Bed 12: I have one huge broccoli plant that you can see and several small broccoli seedlings that you probably can't see. However, the garlic (planted along the edges) is off to a great start. Here in the south, we need them to get a great start in the fall, so come spring they can focus on bulbing up (so I've read - this is my first fall garden ever).
Bed 3: This is another bed of garlic (edges) and one large collard green. I am surprised it did so well with temps in the high 80s. I will harvest from it this weekend. There are a few more collard seedlings and spinach seedings that you don't see. The patch towards the middle of the bed is a patch of radish. I already harvested half of those. Boy were they strong flavored. I don't think I like radish, but I don't hate it. So I think it is just a matter of finding the right way to eat it.
Unfortunately, some of my plants are showing signs of stress or nutritional deficiency. I'm sure it is the latter because I just got the results of my soil test back and my soil's ph is 7.5. This is a little high for most crops, but it also binds the nutritions in the soil; thus the crops can't absorb them. So I plan to start using cottonmeal seed as fertilizer and sulfur to bring the soils ph down. This is all 'new' soil because I just started gardening this spring. So it needs a lot of organic matter as well. I mean the soil had nothing; no worms, no insects, nothing. Now that I have a garden I am starting to see some life in it. Its a process.
What's next: More Canning!

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