Sunday, October 17, 2010

Garden Buddies Oct

Hello again garden buddies.
The joy of fall gardening is upon us, harvesting winter squashes, pumpkins and potatoes.
We had record high temps this last weekend and my tomato plants were obliging enough to ripen a whole box of tomatoes for me. Dave and I cooked up one last batch of tomato sauce, we were a little lazy though and just tossed the jars in the fridge instead of canning them. They'll last a couple of weeks, which is good enough. We had a frost scare a couple of weekends ago, and I took the time to cover my tomato babies before going to bed for 2 nights. Now, I'm glad I did. This is one of those judgment calls that gardeners have to make. Yes, you can cover your tomatoes and save them from light frosts for a couple of days, but if you find yourself out for a week or 2 doing nothing but covering and uncovering tomatoes, it might be time to let them die gracefully. Grab the nice looking green tomatoes if you have decided to let them give up the ghost. Those greens will ripen on your counter in most cases and be almost as tasty as the vine ripened ones. (almost)

Fall gardening is often a lot of prep work for spring. It's a great time to pull out or hoe under the old, dead and spent. Cover everything in a nice thick layer of compost to protect the soil from harsh winter conditions. I have 4 or 5 cabbages heading up in the random corners where I squeezed them in this summer. They spent most of the summer really cramped with their neighbors, but now that we've got a bit of frost, their neighbors are declining and the cabbages are just hitting full stride. The Kale is still going strong. I'm hoping the parsnips are sweetening a bit in their little row. (The one I dug a month ago was a little tough.)

Garlic planting time is here as well. Plant them one clove at a time, pointy side up and cover with a think layer of mulch/compost to keep them from heaving up in the spring freeze/thaw cycle. At least 4 inches, and you can't go wrong with 6. I've got about half of mine planted, and hopefully I'll get the other half planted next weekend.

If you're overwintering biennials for seed production, make sure you give them a nice warm bed of straw too. I have some turnips I'm attempting this with. They have 4inches of straw on them.

I'm also checking out my cold frame and making the little last minute adjustments to it so it can perform it's function this winter. I have a couple of little cabbages in there, and some lettuce. It won't be anything extravagant, but it'll keep me entertained. :-D I'll probably need to start putting the cover on it at night this next week.

The last farmers market day is Weds. I need to wrap up my preparations for the Winter Storage Experiment. :-D

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