Getting Ready for a Winter Garden

For those of us down here in the south August is a time to pull up your dead spring plants, and till up the ground as best you can for a winter garden.  Right now I still have Blueberries and Grapes in the garden of course, they’re perennials. fallgarden03

I have sunflowers I planted from seed, which should finish up any day now. fallgarden04

I also have Tomatoes which should be done end of Sept mid October, and Peppers which could go till December.

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The tomatoes were starting to look dead, but it started to cool off and rain and they have grown all anew.  Complete with tons of little tomatoes. fallgarden05  fallgarden01

Somehow I also still have some Collard Greens, and Kale which managed to survive all summer.

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In the garden pictured above these are the seeds I will be planting for winter. I’m going to make the upper garden all salad greens, and plant the larger plants down on the bottom level.  Mesclun is just a mix of different greens you can buy premixed from Burpee.

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On the top row are the seeds I will sew this week.  The greens on the bottom row I will wait until early September, when I am sure it is cool enough.  I mixed in a lot more soil into my boxes this year as my 100% composted manure mix was too strong for a lot of my plants, and dried out quickly.

I’ve never had any luck germinating sweet peas.  This year I’m going to try my mothers method of soaking them overnight, and then planting them in the morning.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

Summer Garden Update: Our first squash!

Our summer garden is starting to produce now. By the time we get back from Puerto Rico everything should be in full swing.

Our first (and biggest) harvest was this Tatume Squash and one sweet pepper.

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However, I don’t remember planting any Tatume Squash. The seed packet was marked “Yellow Summer Squash,” with a picture of the small yellow squash that you normally see in the grocery store.

You can imagine my surprise when the vines grew to the size of pumpkin vines and took over the entire yard.

I spent many evenings cutting squash bores out of them, and I was worried we might lose them altogether, but they have survived.

Then this giant watermelon looking monstrosity of a squash showed up on the vine. Anyway it tastes very good, like zucchini, and just one makes several meals.

My tomato plants were slow starters but are now doing well. The peppers are at about at the same stage — lots of green, no red yet.

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The grapes are continuing to hang on the vine, taunting us as we wait on them to ripen. Thankfully we have this little lizard working to keep the bugs off of them.

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I’m growing more greens, fruits and vegetables than I thought possible in just two small raised beds in the backyard of my suburban home. If you’ve got soil and sunlight, you can do it too.

Summer Garden update

So now that summer is really in full swing here, I thought I would give you an update on our crop shifting. In the main garden the squash is really taking over everything, and the greens, while large, are coming to an end.  In fact right after this picture was taken we had to pull all the spinach as it was starting to flower.  The kale and collard greens are still going strong for now, and the carrots are not ready to be picked either you can barely see them under the squash on the right side.

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Not much change on the grape vine.  No grapes have ripened yet, and probably wont until fall.  We really could use more trellis, basically everywhere in the yard.  Garden02

On the other side of the yard to make room for more summer veggies I had to build another bed.  I didn’t expect that squash to get so huge and fill the other one.  Really overall everything got bigger than expected.  In the below garden I did 3 different tomato plants.  Then behind that two pepper plants.  Along the fence here I also did a row of sunflower seeds.  They are supposed to grow to 10ft and I’m hoping they keep our neighbors from looking over the fence, as well as providing a little bird seed. Garden03

Pretty much no progress on my little mandarin seeds I planted.  Maybe they will grow more in the summer?Garden04

This is all the spinach we had to harvest.  I ended up making 3 salads, and then freezing the rest.  All in all I’m happy to see it go, as I am super tired of picking it! Garden05

I’m looking forward to some different veggies this summer (tomatoes and peppers), and looking forward to saying goodbye to my greens.  I have really enjoyed having them, but it’s time for a change — one of the best things about gardening!