Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fall Garden Progress

How is your fall garden coming along? Mine has been a process of planting, waiting, planting again, waiting, planting again... Finally things are germinating and it is looking like we might have at least a few fresh veggies this fall and winter. Would you like the tour? Up above are my baby beets. This is the first time in three years of trying that I've actually gotten beet seeds to germinate. The trick seems to have been keeping the soil moist, which has meant watering sometimes three times per day.

Next we have baby broccoli. Broccoli has worked well for me in this particular raised bed - a cheap-o soil test showed that the pH level is perfect for growing broccoli here. Sure enough, every little seed I plunk in the dirt sprouts right up. So I keep on planting more and more - I have a feeling my family will lose its love for broccoli by winter's end.

The brussels sprouts are starting to develop teeny tiny little sprouts at the base of the leaves. I'm SUPER excited about these; brussels sprouts are my all time favorite vegetable. I just wish I could eat them endlessly without suffering the embarrassing consequences.

And finally we have lettuce, showing evidence of visits from snails. I usually cover my newly-planted beds with bird netting, which keeps out the biggest snails. The little guys can still sneak through, but the netting keeps most sprouts from being bothered. Time to buy some more because I don't want to lose my fall lettuce crop!

I didn't take pictures of my cauliflower sprouts, or the "cursed bed," where I have been unable to grow anything other than salsify and two stunted sunflowers. I have put collard, chard, spinach, lettuce, kale and pumpkin seeds in this bed and nothing happens. I did a soil test, which didn't show anything unusual, so I really can't figure out what is wrong. I think I'm going to gather up all the sheep poop from the pasture, cover the bed with it and let things marinate over the fall and winter. Hopefully the problem will have rectified itself by spring.

I am constantly daydreaming about feeding my family from the bounty of my garden, but it looks like we'll be frequenting the farmer's markets again this fall and winter. There just aren't enough beets, kale, broccoli and lettuce here to sustain us. I have to keep telling myself that this year is better than last year - last fall all I could grow were kale and swiss chard. Gardening seems to be like any other skill - practice makes better, and perfection is pretty much never attained. How is your fall garden going?

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