Saturday, October 8, 2011

Second-chance gardening

Going Green Mama is taking advantage of fantastic fall weather!

Cleaning out their gardens, hanging up their hoes. My neighbors, my friends have given up growing for the year.

A few years ago I would have agreed with them. After all, it's October. I should be grateful for my random green beans and greener tomatoes. It could snow any day, at least according to history, so enjoy what I had and move on to their sad, store-bought cousins...

Or not.

Then I took an online class in fall and winter gardening, a concept I thought was laughable in the upper Midwest. (It wasn't so long ago we had a winter that stretched from October to April with white stuff on the ground.) I learned of techniques that were far beyond my confidence or my budget, but I realized some things were possible.

So last fall, I took the plunge. I started a planting in late September-early October, and it wasn't just the garlic I was trained to put in. We're talking radishes. And carrots. And lettuce. And spinach. And on a unseasonably warm day near Thanksgiving, I frantically called it quits, spending a good hour or two yanking carrots from my garden, then covering the garlic in hay.

My extra cost for season 2? Time.

So last week, backed by my littlest garden helper, I was back for more. My 3 year old planted radishes, spinach (which he thought was lettuce), carrots and bok choy. I squeezed in past-due plants with random rows of cool-season veggies, all of which failed in the spring due to our wet weather. Our peas, planted a few weeks prior, are humming along. And if I can keep a neighbor girl from digging up my garden? We might have fresh veggies near Thanksgiving.

While my neighbors are grousing about their garden failures during another hot, dry summer, I've got a second chance at success. And this time, the pressure's off.


Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

Down here in North Carolina, we're attempting a 3rd season garden. We did spring and summer, and now have some good greens growing for the fall. I love that I barely have to water in the spring and fall.

Green Bean said...

I'm going for a third season garden as well. I've got potatoes already in the ground along with greens, broccoli and herbs. I need to get my peas and favas in too over the next couple weeks. Actually, I should get off the computer and start working on that - along with my sheet mulch.

Betsy (Eco-Novice) said...

Well done! I live in CA where there really is a 2nd growing season (and more), but I still haven't jumped into gardening yet. For now, I'm just trying to keep the basil plant in my kitchen window alive.

Bethany said...

Interesting! I'd totally love to do something like that. I think I just have to live vicariously through other people while we are in this house though :( Not a whole lotta sun to be found anywhere. I am hoping that the one tomato that I was able to get out of my containers in the ONE small spot of sunniness will ripen before it gets too cold, but I may have to ripen it indoors.

My brother was just talking about some kind of self-watering container he's working on that uses passively heated water this winter so we'll see how those go!

beffuh said...

Is it, um, too late to plant my garlic? I realize I'm a month late on this and wonder if it's still worth the effort.

robbie @ going green mama said...

No--plant away!

beffuh said...

Thanks! I did indeed plant my garlic this weekend and got in some more leaf lettuce (the lettuce did GREAT this spring). Thanks for your encouragement!


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