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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Just In Time For Autumn

This year's summer garden was a triumph for me.  The year's winter garden is shaping up to be less so.  My timing is still not right, I don't think.  In the foreground below, you can barely see the kales and beets (Red Ursa and Westlander kales, Cylindra and Boldor beets*) that I planted, and I have a bad feeling that they will not gain enough size by mid-October to be of much use this autumn or winter.  I also have some cabbages planted a little further back, but doubt they'll gain enough size as well. I think for winter harvests, you really have to get stuff into the ground in July, regardless of heat, and since my beds are occupied in July, that makes winter gardening much more of a challenge.  Obviously, I need another bed! But more on that later.

These are the cabbages (Red Acre and January King) I planted in one end of the covered row.  These, I think, will be fine.

The rest of the bed is planted with Andover parsnips and Berlicum carrots (and the occasional errant onion).  These will also be fine.  The challenge here will be getting the parsnips out of the ground when it's time; they are hard to dig because the bottom of the roots are firmly in clay. Ha! My parsnips have feet of clay!

In the big bed (which differentiates it from the long bed), I've planted chard, leeks, arugula...

winter peas,....

Walla walla and salad onions, lettuces, and winter radishes.

All of these are cold hardy but not frost hardy, so this year I am finally building the high tunnel greenhouse that I've been needing.  So I made this, which is a hip bender,....

so that I could take this one inch EMT conduit....

and turn it into this:

Here's how it works: you clamp the hip bender to a solid surface (in this case, my neighbor Larry's sturdy picnic table), and then you put in the conduit and starting at roughly the center of the piece, you bend it slightly, and pull it back and bend it a little more, and then pull it back and bend it a little more and so on until you have the bend you want.

This is the last section of yard left to put into production.  I'll have to move the clothes dryer, which doesn't make Steve happy, but it's got to be done.  Autumn is the best time of year to get a bed ready for the following spring, so I'll get to that once I get the greenhouse done.  My plan is to make the new bed exactly the size as the greenhouse, so that I can eventually move the greenhouse to the new bed.  The area gets more sun in the winter time, so that makes more sense.  Could I build two greenhouses? Of course, but I think I'd be pushing my luck with Steve if I did that.  I need to prove the usefulness of the first one before I try a second.  The black plastic area is where I attempted melons this year, which I will not repeat (probably).

And this is the marvelous broadfork I'll use to break up the new bed. No more tilling!  This is a People's Broadfork by Meadowcreature, which has twelve inch tines.  I would have loved to purchase the fourteen inch, but I couldn't pick it up without difficulty, it was just too heavy.  But then, I am a weakling.  I love my broadfork though!

* I won't be planting Boldor beets again- turns out it's an F1 hybrid, and I don't do hybrids for the simple reason that if I all of a sudden needed to save seed, I want to be able to do it.  So I buy only heirlooms or open pollinated seed.  The Boldor was a boo boo.