Think About a Winter Garden

There are several plants that can go into the garden now as seeds and will reward you with greens into the fall and, if you’re lucky, up to  Christmas and beyond.

seeds for fall planting

The yellow wax beans are finished in my community garden bed. I was away for a week and just picked the last of them a few days ago. They were old so I cooked them a long time with a slice of bacon, but they were too stringy to eat. It was worth a shot, but they ended up in the garbage. I didn’t put them in my compost bin as they had fat from the bacon on them.

I’ll pull those beans up in the next few days and plant some kale and lettuce. I’ve already done that at home and here are some photos of Russian Red Kale which is a terrific green to plant now. Kale is one of the healthiest things you can eat. You can even make Kale Chips out of the leaves. These seeds were planted 8-14-14 and a week later had secondary leaves.

Russian Red Kale 8-14-14

The tomatoes in my community garden bed are still producing so they won’t get pulled out yet. When I do, I will make sure the cut up the plants before they go into the compost bin.

So…consider a fall/winter garden. You will be rewarded.

 

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The Fall Garden

Most of us have already harvested the last of the summer’s produce. Disclaimer…the garlic below did not come out of my garden. I had garlic, but hadn’t gotten around to cleaning it. The heads I bought at the store made a prettier photo.fall harvest
However, I was sorry to see a lot of tomatoes in the community garden go to waste. We need to figure out how to utilize the produce our own families won’t use. All the green tomatoes from my bed went on newspapers in the garage. As they ripened, I got enough to can two more batches of tomato sauce .

Now is the time to put in a fall garden. Broccoli, cabbage, and kale are among the plants that love this cooler weather. Seeds of some lettuces, arugula and other greens can be sewn with time to sprout before the really cold weather comes.mala's bed Sept 21-13Last year’s very mild winter meant we ate greens all winter from my raised beds at home. I had covered them with Agribon, a floating row cover. Originally I did this to keep the leaves out of the beds and then was too lazy to take the covers off. Little did I know the reward in store. We didn’t buy any greens until I pulled things out in April.

I laid the Agribon directly over my plants and secured the edges with a couple of bricks. When the plants grew bigger, I gave them more room by adjusting the Agribon and the bricks. Sun and rain go through the floating covers. Some people use metal hoops they purchase or make. I plan to put a floating row cover on my community garden bed and see how my fall plants make it through the winter in that location. This photo is from my raised beds at home. The covers went on October 8 because we were expecting a weekend of rain.row covers 10-9-13People also use floating row covers to keep insects off their plants. Next spring I’m going to give that a try. Maybe my broccoli will be worm free. That would be lovely!

Dog Vomit Slime Mold

Bonda Baxter (Community Garden bed #4) sent me information about this slime mold which she saw in the community garden. It’s not harmful, but it really looks disgusting. The information below is copied from the Ohio State University Extension website which is also where the photo came from.

dog vomit

Dog vomit slime mold (Fuligo septica) is a common problem this time of year. After gardeners put down a fresh layer of mulch they often see this aptly named growth showing up a few weeks later. This dog vomit is actually a slime mold that exists as an almost clear thin blob that crawls around the surface of the garden – this is its plasmodium stage. When it is developed enough to reproduce, it pulls itself together into the more recognizable pile that some describe as scrambled eggs. Eventually the scrambled eggs will brown to the recognizable pile of canine emesis. At this point, the slime mold spores are released to start the process over again.

Dog vomit slime mold is not harmful to plants. There is no way to totally eradicate it from the garden. However, some people have reported that watering in new mulch does help reduce the amount of slime mold. Also, any pile of sporulating slime mold can be scooped up with a shovel and deposited out of sight – breaking it up or blasting it with water will only help it spread its spores.

Could somebody please talk to the weather man. With the torrential rain today, this slimy mess will be all over the community garden.

Garden Maintenance

Garden Maintenance

In any garden maintenance is an ongoing issue. In a community garden maintenance requires people working together. Bridges Landscaping Services delivered a second load of chipped wood to the garden and on Sunday morning five ladies showed up to work. In a little over an hour they had moved all the mulch to the paths between the garden beds. One more load from Bridges should be enough to cover all the open spaces and that maintenance job will be finished for this year.

mulching garden 6-1-13 Bev and Pennie

While we were dumping barrows full of chips, we had to pick up trash from around some beds. Broken rain guages, lots of plant markers, pulled weeds, an occasional stake and a couple of tomato cages. All of us need to be mindful of keeping the garden clean and tidy. For example, if we each pulled weeds from the paths around our beds, we could eliminate most Round-up spraying. That would be a fantastic goal.

mulching comm garden#1 on 6-2-13

Working on projects like this is a terrific way to meet the gardeners. Above are Val Kenn Gray, Pennie Haase, Bev Pratt and Mala Burt.  Meg Ingold helped and took the photos. Bobby Malzone, who mows the grass in the garden common areas, stopped by on his bicycle. He was interested in the composting process and wondered if we could get a bag for the mower. That would supply us with green layers for the bins. Bobby had already spread some mulch a day earlier. We were grateful. Maintenance is the job of the entire community garden and every little bit that anyone does helps our garden shine.

Kudos to Jack Gray who, on a recent hot day, dug through clay, brick and oyster shells to install our new sign.

community-Garden-sign