Welcome to our experiment…
Dear everyone who would like to start a produce garden,
There is much to learn on this journey. Here’s where we are followed by a place for you to start.
In the garden
It is just starting to cool down here in southern GA. The temperatures are down into the 70’s or so during the day and there is a distinct chill in the air when I go out to the barn in the mornings. Sunrise is happening later and later and soon we will enter the season when morning and evening chores are done in the dark. I am not a fall person in most of the country but here, in the deep south, I find the cool not too extreme and the plants wait until much later in the year to start dying off so the ugliness of winter is postponed and abbreviated.
“But don’t you like the fall?!? The leaves and cold and sweaters and pie and orange colored everything?!?” I hear your query. No. I am a plant person. I like things verdant and lush. Fall is the yield sign warning us of winter with the death of plants and the dormancy of hardwoods. Not my thing. I also look terrible in orange and yellow.
Besides, pumpkins grow better in the spring before the squash borer population explodes.
So, as I was saying, the morning air is getting crisp and I will soon be taking my coffee to the barn with me to watch the sunrise with the horses and cats. That part I like…kind of.
In the garden we are planting based on the countdown backwards from our guestimated first frost date. The brassicas are up. There will be enough brussel sprouts around here to sell if the insects allow. The garlic beds are being stripped of the heirloom melons that used them this summer and prepped with lots of rich organic matter for the fall planting of my favorite allium. Planting fall garlic for spring harvest makes for larger bulbs. The leeks have just gone in the ground and spend what seems like an eternity slowly developing. They take so long I try to forget about them so they are just a nice surprise when they are finally ready. The collards and kale are almost ready for the first harvest and the okra, peppers and eggplant are still chugging along. I’m a little burned out on okra, which does really well here in the deep south, but I am so proud of our amazing plants that I’ll probably post pictures of them.
It is finally lettuce season again, hallelujah! I am a plant based eater (more about being a primary consumer in the future) and I am in love with butter heads that are so mild in the fall.
The temperature is not the only consideration when we plant. Many plants notice day length. So do chickens. It may be warm down here but the shortening days (really the lengthening nights) are an indicator to the plants (and some breeds of chicken) that the end (winter, yuck) is near so one must take this into consideration when garden planning. I recommend this: http://www.johnnyseeds.com/t-library-vegetables-day-length-production.aspx# but don’t get too bogged down in it. Just make a mental note for now.
For the curious and the local (and not to make my colder-climate friends jealous) here is a list of what we have growing right now, in mid Oct:
carrots (if they germinate)
beets (again, a little slow to germinate)
The garlic just went in!! I am especially fond of garlic.
And weeds. We grow weeds. I am especially disdainful of weeds. At least the more obnoxious weeds. It is my life’s goal to make something delicious an invasive weed. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every pulled “weed” yielded a carrot?
So there you have it. A little intro to our garden and where it is right now. We will start talking methods and sharing our successes and failures in my next post because this has, alas, grown much too long.
Welcome to my little farm and happy eating, Katy
This week’s project:
www.rareseeds.com (Baker Creek) 417-924-8917
Contact at least two of these seed companies and request their catalogs. Yes, paper catalogs via snail mail. No, it is not the most ecological choice in the short term but this is important. You need to hold these in your hands and look through them like so many do fashion magazines or trade publications. What we are doing here takes more of your brain than a screen can stimulate. You need to put these in your WC or on your car seat for when you are waiting to get the kids. But for today, just request them. We will deal with them when they arrive.
Why am I suggesting these catalogs? First, they provide heirloom and/or organic seed stock. Second, I have first hand experience ordering and using seed from each of these companies and have been satisfied. Third, I enjoy looking at and reading these catalogs. They are pleasant and easy to use. They provide the information I need to make informed decisions.
Nothing. That’s right, I am not suggesting you change anything just yet.