Sunday, July 11, 2010

Garden Buddies: Fall planting time!

I know, I just finished planting all the summer veggies. But July is half over and that means it's time to start seeds for the fall harvest.
Fall plantings can really make a gardening season worth the time and effort. Seeds are less likely to wash away, seedlings are less likely to rot, and there's lots of light to get plants off to a good start.
It's important to pick veggies and greens that can handle the cold up here in zone 4 and zone 5 Iowa. Get them started and growing by August, and they'll be at a good mature growth when the first frosts come and the light starts to fade. So, I'm thinking a little bit of beets, and some carrots and spinach and lettuce. The greens don't need to be started yet, they can wait till August, but the beets and carrots need to be started ASAP. Other options for fall plantings include kale, cabbages, parsnips and radishes.

Thanks to Donna my garlic grower for the season, babysitting my babies back in Des Moines. She sent me some pictures of the bulbs, and I'm so excited to harvest them, it'll be soon! The picture above is one of my hardnecks that was planted last fall.

Seed saving reminder, if you left peas on the vine to dry and save, now is the time to start gathering those dried pods and separating out the dried peas to store for next year. Don't be afraid to leave some of the pods on, especially the higher up pods, as peas will mature from the ground up and the top once might not be totally done and ready to save yet. Wait till they are dry and crunchy. Lettuce and spinach from spring should be finishing their flowering and starting to set some seed, but they're definitely not done yet.

Go ahead and try some fall gardening, you might find you really like it. I'm making a couple of cold frames next month, so expect posts and pictures on that, maybe I'll get some greens to survive until Yule. :-)

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