Planning The Winter Garden
0 comment Saturday, July 12, 2014 |
It seems like this is maybe a bit early, but now in August the weather is already starting to cool (it's been doing this for the past several years, prompting leaves on trees in my area to turn a good month early). Today, I took out the least productive of my toms, placing the unripened tomatoes (a mere handful from those plants) into a cardboard box understairs with some of my ripe toms. There's still four plants in one of my growhouses which are laden with toms, just waiting for them to turn; they're managing, slowly but surely. I'm very happy with the pear toms but the Hungarians were very hit-and-miss, even though the fruits are huge, nearly the size of most beefeater toms. I'm undecided if they warrant the effort as they don't produce enough fruits for me, but we'll see how they taste!
Sprog shelled some broad beans for me today as I intended on making them into a salad - trying to encourage my own eating of fresh fruit and veg right now when all I want to do is sleep - and he found the whole process fascinating. He also asked why we weren't growing any; quick answer is I didn't have any seeds to plant, but I intend on changing that next year. However, the conversation got me thinking about doing some winter/early spring planting and debating planning a winter garden.
This is a difficult query as eating seasonally means a lot of brassicas during the winter and early spring - and neither sprog nor I are fans. I could go with leafy greens but I've already got that covered, and cold greens aren't good for my system in the winter. The leeks are in the ground and will stay there until I need them, but need covering up, as does the chard and the few herbs I have going.
So, I'm thinking about getting some cloche hoops and some insulation stuff to put over the hoops in the raised bed. I didn't utilise the space as well as I could have done this year - there was loads of space toward the back of the bed which could have been planted with leeks and then left. I'm probably going to re-shuffle the bed a bit to put the more long-life stuff toward the back where I don't need to worry about it, and put anything that needs constant tending in the front. This should keep things frost-free over the winter and maybe allow the ground to be ready just a little bit sooner in order to get some favas in.
I like having chard around, I've got more than enough onions, and the squash are doing really well; I am rather happy with the compact nature of the Black Futsu, and these are looking to mature pretty quickly, provided the vines stay alive for a little bit longer. I'm going to get at least five squash - considering how badly the frost nuked my first plants, I'm happy I've got any growing at all right now. Once the peppers are done, I can use the plastic frame to protect the squash and get maybe a few more out of the vines.
I'm hoping we can keep at least some productivity from the garden rolling over into the new year, but I am also trying to remind myself this is my first year of major-gardening-at-home in some time. I'll need to take it as it comes, and figure out where to expand if possible for next year.