Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fall Planting

The first frost for zone 5 is generally between October 6 and October 31. An early frost is generally not the end of decent weather here, so if plants can be covered or brought in, usually, we can have more growing time.

We have one raised bed (currently our only) with pvc brackets on the sides to allow for holding pvc pipe to be covered with plastic, covered-wagon style. We hope to put one more in (very) soon to allow for more fall crops to be planted.

Garbanzo bean plant!

I have already begun to plant a few things. I dug two beds along the fence at the top of the hill in the back yard at the beginning of the growing season. Those now hold scarlett runner beans (which are starting to form beans!), blooming sunflowers and zinnias, and garbanzo beans that I stuck in the ground from my cupboard with no idea as to what they would do. They are growing, and look nothing like I would expect a bean plant to look. They are pretty spindly, but I actually saw a bloom on one today. I put in a third bed a few weeks ago. This time I did not dig it, but laid cardboard down over the area and poured a layer of potting soil, peat, and compost over the cardboard. I moved two hills of pickling cukes that were being overwhelmed by the extremely hardy sunflowers I planted between the hills (note to self: bad idea, but the sunflowers are beautiful and have begun to bloom and look much hardier than the ones on the hill; I attribute that to much more heavily ammended soil in the main bed). I also planted a couple more cuke seeds. I'm hoping we'll manage to get at least a couple jars of our very own pickles this year. I also broadcasted some dill around them, and I don't know if that will work or not, but it is starting to come up. Dill takes a VERY long time to germinate. So far, what I have planted hasn't done much. And, last week, I filled in another bed along the fence, again over another layer of newspaper (5-7 pages thick) and cardboard (these are fairly small beds, about 2'X8', I guess). The beds are surrounded by rocks we have from the original owner's rock garden and some wire border fencing (deemed necessary after a little furry neighbor ate all of our spring peas and a few other freshly sprouted plants) that we've had for several years and roll up to re-use each spring. I'm hoping it will last at least another season... I planted snap peas, Thumbelina carrots, and Easter Egg mix radishes. The day prior, I planted shelling peas in the space that held our first planting of carrots in the raised bed.

I hope to plant more carrots, lots more carrots, radishes, onions, spinach, and lettuce. I am thinking that when the tomatoes are done in the raised bed, we can plant some of those there too. I'm hoping with the cover, we can harvest into December.

We have fall plants on order too, some dwarf blueberries and lingonberries that we hope to plant on the hill as an edible ground cover where the hill is too steep to mow, lipstick strawberries (a shade loving strawberry, not super productive, with pink flowers), horseradish (mmmm....), garlic (mmm...), and bamboo.

I have also stared a rugosa rose (good for hips) and ginger root in pots. I can't tell you yet if they're going to do anything.

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