When ever I teach a winter gardening class I always tell my students that the target date for planting for Fall and Winter gardens in Utah is August 1st. It’s a good thing that isn’t a hard and fast date because I missed it this year! But overall the fall garden is doing pretty good.
Let’s start out with the beds planted for early fall. We were still pretty limited on space at the home garden this year so we don’t have a ton planted, but here you can see we have 7 kale plants in. These were planted from starts on July 13th. You can see they are coming along great, really some of it could be harvested now but I’m going to let these plants mature for another few weeks and then we will have a great harvest of kale that should last into October and beyond. And best of all these plants will be ready just about the time the summer garden stops producing.
Also I planted some cabbage on July 13th. This is just an experiment so I only planted 3. I’ve never planted it that early before, the plants have some nice heads and I’m hoping they will be ready soon. Right now we are in a race with the snails and slugs, I should probably pick them now but we still have so much summer produce that I’m trying to wait. If it works and the heads aren’t too bitter then I may plant more next year. But we are not huge cabbage eaters so I don’t ever see me planting more than 6 at any one time.
About three weeks ago we planted the next series of starts; these were all started on June 22 indoors. I really should have gotten these in the garden a week or 2 sooner, but it has been so dang hot again that I thought it best to let these guys stay inside till the 100 degree days went away. I finally got them in, they had about 10 days outside under a tree to harden and that really made a difference. The took off well as soon as they were put in the ground.
Again we are struggling with space! I decided to plant these all here in the home garden so that I wasn’t having to mess with the borrowed garden all the way into December. Finding space for the 48 starts I had was pretty tough. Here’s a shot of most of the broccoli. It’s really looking good.
Everything will get a hoop house over them this week. For now they will just have the lightest fabric row cover on them to help keep the aphids and cabbage loopers off them. Later I will switch that to plastic to retain heat and help the crops mature in the late fall. The Brussels sprouts and cauliflower are and experiment I’ve never planted them this time of year so we’ll see. All the other plants should give us some dependable harvests starting in early November. I’m hoping this year we will have enough broccoli to actually freeze some for the winter!
The Kolhrabi went into the front flower bed and is doing well
The front bed is also where we put the cabbage. We figured they would make some nice looking plants for this bed in the fall when the peppers and flowers come out.
For most of the winter crops the seeds went straight into the ground. These are the newly dug beds that we just finished about a month ago. They are staked out to fit our 3 cold frames. The first frame has one row of Swiss Chard and then most of the rest of it is planted to spinach, it will also get some mache seeds planted in the open spots this week.
The second frame was planted all to carrots, normally we would have planted a second bed this size to carrots as well but we just didn’t have the space this year.
The 3rd bed will be our lettuce bed it isn’t planted yet. We have had one disaster after another with our fall lettuce starts. First we planted them on August 5th and I decided to use a heat mat to help warm the soil. I guess I never really paid attention to the temperature the garage because I cooked the seeds!! Just too much heat and after 10 days there was not a single seed germinating. So I replanted again this time without the heat mat, then we went away for the weekend to celebrate our anniversary and I forgot to turn the timer on the lights. So the seeds germinated and without any light turned into 1.5 inch long, leggy starts in only 2 days. They never recovered. So I replanted again yesterday but we are so far behind now that I’m afraid we are too late for this year! I’ve always prided myself on my skills for starting seedlings, but I sure blew it this year!!
So in hopes of having some kind of lettuce crop this winter I went ahead and planted seed directly in the soil for cold frame #3. I also planted 1/2 of the bed with Mache.
So there you have it, the 2013/2014 fall and winter garden is in and growing!!