FALL GARDEN TAKING SHAPE

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Posted by Gordon | Posted in News | Posted on 22-09-2011

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FALL GARDEN LOOKING NORTH

FALL GARDEN PREPARATIONS

 

A lot has happened in the past month as the summer garden started shutting down  A quick summary would include the garden meeting a couple weeks ago where we discussed several issues.  Chris, Terry, Davis and Kathy, and I were present.  Peggy was getting ready for her daughter and son-in-law to relocate to our area from California.  Her daughter is joining the Savannah (GA) police department.

Among the items discussed at the meeting was the expansion of the garden by 900 sq ft which included the construction of 140 additional feet of raised beds.  This will allow for the space required to plant additional volume of those crops which are in great demand like sugar peas, pole beans and summer and winter squash as well as give us the space to properly rotate our crops.  This expansion is now complete with fall plantings of sugar peas, winter squash, malabar spinach and tromboncino squash.  Other crops will be placed in these beds to fill in any open space.  Tomorrow is the day set aside for Davis, Terry and I to erect the support fence for the peas to grow on.  We will be purchasing and installing the Rain Bird drip watering system for this new section of the garden.  This will make the watering a fully automatic process.  The cost of this system will be just at $100.

We also discussed the fall crops that we plan to grow.  Several new crops were suggested to include turnips, collards, spring onions and regular spinach.  We will plant a limited number of the eggplants I have started (we don’t know if there is enough time to bring them to maturity) .  A big winner in our likes was more broccoli and I have responded with planting 18 new set and will increase this by 9 more this week.  I have also planted several hills of winter squash, a bed of spinach, collards, lettuce, three beds of spring mix, romaine lettuce and several other crops.  We have the room and the list expands.

Davis and Kathy spent several hours in the garden while I was gone on my family vacation.  They removed most of the weeds that had intruded into the garden (strange how they can withstand the heat while the food crops have a difficult time).  You can see the pile of weeds just out of the garden fence to the left in the photo above.  This made it possible for me to plant.  Chris is back in St Louis for a couple weeks and Peggy is still busy with her daughter while Terry has been Kayaking.  So our thanks must go to Davis and Kathy.

We discussed the target goals for invested time in working the garden in both the planting and growing stages.  We all decided that 2 to 3 hours a week during the preparing and planting and 1 1/2 hours a week during the growth stage (weeding and watering).  This should give us ample time for completing the choirs required and leave a little time to just enjoy the garden (puttering).  Harvest times were not discussed.

Chris told us about a soil specialist who had taught soils in her master naturalist classes and we all agreed to ask him to trade some of his accrued consulting obligation which he has with Davis to advise us on our soils and make suggestions as to how to improve it for higher yields.  They report that he has a fantastic garden (although small) from which we can learn.  Davis and Kathy also have a friend who specializes in growing their own asparagus.  We can all learn more from them on the secrets to having a bumper asparagus crop.

General report is that the okra is growing but not producing as well as in past years.  I am sure it is a soil issue.  The peppers are still making peppers even as the high heat has given away to cooler air.  The Jerusalem artichokes are doing well and making the tuber sets to enlarge the planting for nest summer.  An interesting crop is the self planting of watermelon that sprouted from the melons eaten by the raccoons.  They seem to be thriving better than the original planting (this may be a two crop per year plant).  I also can’t imagine the thornless blackberries looking any better.  I am just plain impressed with what these little 2 inch plants have done.  I was ready to return them to amazon.com when they first arrived last summer but have I been put into my place!  The boysenberries do not look as good.  I think they have a virus which I will investigate and treat them for once I know what I am doing.  The plants are OK but many of the leaves have a virus patch/spot on them.  They just are not as vigorous as the blackberries.  I will build a bird net support for the row once it gets too cold to work the plants.

Another major project for this winter is to bury the underground electrical cable I have to bring electricity into the garden for tilling and weed trimming.  I am also planning to create raised bed containment walls around the Melon bed (soon to be the new tomato bed) and to do the same around the berry row.

Plans for this Spring are to start another hive of bees and to plant the fig hedgerow.  There are suggestions that we get three olive trees (I have found a source for plants that thrive in zone 8 and 9) and to start a serious strawberry patch).  I have ordered two Paw Paw trees and have received today 30 crocus bulbs (Crocus sativa) the saffron crocus which will divide into many more and provide us with all the saffron spice we can use.  Also have the seeds for the 3+ inch prickly pear cactus fruit.  It makes a wonderful jam and should be producing in 2012.  I have given up on peaches unless someone helps me find the variety that was developed for the Texas gulf coast – I found it once but have since lost it.  We need a second pecan tree as the 25 foot/5 year old needs a pollen partner.  We will probably only feed the squirrels and crows but why not.

Citrus is only 50 days off.  The trees are heavy with fruit and we should be enjoying grapefruit, oranges, navels, tangerines, limes, lemons, cumquats and mandarin soon.  I used to have a wonderful Japanese persimmon – the big one without seeds that taste like honey – the ones that you can find in the grocer stores.  A large water oak fell on it and that was that.  I’d like to get another one if we can find it. LAST BUT NOT LEAST – I am getting 20 additional guinea fowl to add to the seven survivors from this year’s hatch.  These will be released into the forest around the garden and hopefully be able to fend off the raccoons and hawks as well as eat all the ticks.  We will see.

The Fall garden should be a really good one.

 

looking north

LOOKING NORTH FROM THE LOCATION OF THE EXPANSION AREA

 

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