Monday, August 9, 2010

Fall Planting

Though we have not written much about it, the garden has been a great success this year, largely due to Alanna's regular attention. All of us have been wanting to get more involved, so Ed and Normandy turned a couple beds and I planted them with fall greens. The muffin tin above is the very clever method we came up with to keep the seeds straight. BUt more on that later. Here's what else is going on.

The onions are growing well, though we aren't sold on group planting. The theory is that onions can grow right next to each other without impairing their growth, so long as they have extra space around them. Eliot Coleman advocates it to cut down on transplant efforts - four plant can be put in at once - and he is usually a reliable source. But even with generous plant spacing we have noticed a big difference between the onions planted close and those planted in twos or singly. Next year we might try direct seeding as early as possible and giving them more space.

The asparagus we started from seed is bigger and bigger, though we are not yet sure if it will flower. We hope it will this year so that we can remove the female plants now while their roots systems are still relatively small.

It's lucky we planted the winter squash on a bed that will have berries in the future, and thus has ten feet on each side. The two plants have already overrun this buffer and are snaking into the tomatoes and raspberries and down paths.

But they have set lots of flowers and fruit, and if we get a good crop we'll be happy. We are growing a variety called Harris Sweet Meat. They are supposed to look like eight pound green pumpkins, but right now none are bigger then baseballs.

Alanna developed this clever trellis system for the beans. We got them in late, but they should start bearing soon.

This picture doesn't do it justice, but this beet is indicative of what a success this year's crop has been. Eventually we hope to have a root cellar that justifies growing huge quantities of these and other vegetables that store, but in the meantime we're exploring temporary ways of achieving the same thing.

And this is me leveling the bed and incorporating the amendments. Alanna's step brother Ben helped with the planting, and we managed to put in two types of kale, arugala, mustard greens, lettuce, da cheong chae, chinese cabbage, (which I doubt will have time to mature), and radishes. We have never gardened here before, so everything is an experiment this year. Next year we'll have a much better idea about planting times, and we hope the slugs will be less prolific, but on the whole it has been great.

I'll also mention that tomorrow we expect an exciting arrival.


  1. Last weekend on "You Bet Your Garden", Mike McGrath suggested mounding hair (human or animal) around the base of your plants to protect them from slugs. Evidently the hair sticks to their bodies, they bog down and never make it to the stalks. Alanna may have already encountered this method in her research, but I thought I'd throw it out there. It's a little weird, but I'd say it qualifies as "organic". Er...unless you use color-treated or permed hair(?).

  2. Thanks Chuck! I have never heard of this method. Who wants a hair cut? Maybe when all of our cows shed their winter coats in the spring I will be able to gather what I need and slop it around at the garden. That would be awesome.

  3. We have all those bags of lama wool in the hops barn, maybe next year, we can put them to use... I can't possibly spin that much lama wool!


  4. I didn't know you had stashed llama wool in the hops barn! Get out of town! You already are out of town! That would be great fun to try next year.