Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August- Planting Fall Crops

Late Summer in the garden is a time to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor.  It's also time to plant cool-season crops, so you can harvest fresh vegetables well into the Fall and Winter.   As we harvested mature crops that we planted in the Spring, like garlic and onions, we created open space for new plantings.  One  the best parts of planting in August is that the soil is warm.  Therefore, the seeds germinate quickly and the beds will look full again fairly quick.

Our August 1- plant list:
bok choy
lettuce- mesclun mix

Our Late August- plant list:
fava beans

Soil preparation- we added soil-building compost to several beds that were lacking organic material.

Kale seeds saved from plants that were planted last Fall.  The seeds ripened in July.

Planting tip- the weather is often warm with little rain in August.  Water the soil well before planting if the soil is very dry.  Water after planting to settle in the seeds.  Lightly water daily to make sure your soil doesn't dry out.  You want your soil to be like a damp sponge (not a soppy-wet one).  When your seedlings are an inch tall or so, the roots should be down far enough that you can water every two or three days depending on the weather and how well-drained your soil is.

Once we get further along into September, the rains return and the temperatures cool, so watering is no longer a chore.

Young Dwarf Blue Scotch Kale

Pest Tips- White Cabbage Moths are still out and about laying eggs on the leaves of Brassica plants (cabbage, kale, turnips, rutabaga, etc.)  Place clean white eggs shell halves (not crushed) around your young plants to discourage the moths from landing.  They are territorial and think the shells are other moths.  

Also, if you notice holes in your brassica leaves, look for the tiny green caterpillar and squish it.  Keep an eye out for slugs too.  They love bok choy and lettuce.  

Soil Preparation for Beets- we added wood ash from our fireplace.    

Young Beets- Cylindrical, Red Ace & Winterkeeper

Peas- we lost some fresh peas in the back of the fridge, they sprouted, so we decided to take them back outside and plant them.

Young Mesclun Mix- we're eating fresh salad once again.  It only took one month from planting to reach our plate.

Every year we like to try to grow something new.  For this Fall it's Fava Beans.  I read that they love cool weather and will overwinter.  I'm so excited to see how they turn out. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Where has the Summer gone?

Over the past few years that we've grown a kitchen garden, we've found that one of our favorite parts of gardening is talking to neighbors about our garden and sharing the harvest.  This past March I created this blog to show the wider community how to grow food at home.  Around the same time, an opportunity to get involved in creating a new neighborhood community garden presented itself.  We got very excited and volunteered to help make this project a success.  After years of growing food for our ourselves, we wanted to help grow other gardeners.

This site before- a gravel vacant lot

Over the first few months, the volunteers got together for planning meetings and potlucks.  We helped create a design and develop a construction schedule.  

In July, we started building.

By mid-August, the group had built all the raised vegetable beds and completed the fence.  

Members are starting to plant their Fall seeds and starts.  In September we will have work parties to construct the common spaces of the garden.

The new garden is called Orchard & Vine Community Garden and is located at N. 45th & N. Orchard St.

This is why I haven't blogged all Summer like I had hoped to.  It was enough just trying to keep up our own garden while helping create another.  We did meet our goal of growing new gardeners.  At least twenty families have signed up for plots for Fall.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010