Monday, October 14, 2013

(DF) FALL GARDEN? Ok, so it's a little late

Like a lot of people, I grew up with garden planting time being in the early spring and again in the fall.  Well, not really fall, but more like summer (early to mid August) for a fall crop.  Based on how things were done when I was a kid and how things worked with the climate here, I have continued that practice all of my adult life.  So why am I planting in October?
There are a couple of reasons.  The first, and less logical reason is that I have been unable to work in the garden all summer and simply couldn't stand not having something growing.  Lets face it, the ground needs worked up in order to get a handle on the grass anyway.  It is hard for me to have nicely worked garden soil in warm weather and not plant something in it.  The second, and more logical reason is the simple (or more complex, depending on how you look at it) fact that the climate here is not at all like it was when I was growing up.  There is now no way of honestly considering when the first hard freeze will be, or the rainy and dry seasons either, for that matter.  My memories of seasonal change in the past are certainly not what we are living today.  In recent years, I have seen some strange things, like picking vine ripe tomatoes for Thanksgiving salad.

I will reserve the memories of past climate for another post, but with the erratic climate in mind , it makes some kind of twisted sense to keep planting as late as possible.  No I am not planting corn, green beans and okra this time of year, but things like turnips and beets can take a lot of cold without much damage.  I did plant a few blackeyed peas a couple of weeks ago (though I doubt they will have time to make) simply because they are good for the soil and if they freeze, I can till them under.
Yes, it seems late even for turnips, but if the extreme weather holds off a bit, a good mess of turnip greens is always food on a cold evening.  And who knows, they may even make turnips.  As for the main garden, It is not tilled up yet but hopefully will be in time for planting a LATE cover crop of rye or winter peas.


2 comments:

  1. Looks nice David! What are winter peas? Are they edible, or just nitrogen fixers/cover crop? Also, if you can find swiss chard seeds, they will grow all winter, especially with a low tunnel.

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    1. Thanks Mary, I had forgotten about Swiss chard. I haven't grown it in years, mostly because the rabbits like it as much as I do. The winter peas I mentioned are actually called Austrian winter peas and are normally grown here to fix nitrogen in the soil and then are tilled under in spring to add organic material. They are also used for animal feed, so are obviously not toxic and have nutrients. Though I haven't heard of people eating them, it would be worth checking into. They do produce a lot of peas about the size of lentils.

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