Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cool Season Planting

Well, it's been a crazy spring and summer, but I'm back and I hope to continue posting more regularly again.   My summer garden is almost completely taken down-- I still have some peppers and some
tomatoes up and they will likely come down over the next week or so.

Today we made our first compost run in over a year.  I slacked off on putting on compost and had a poor garden year to show for it!  Things grew stunted and not very well, except the tomatoes and
peppers which had been composted more recently.  Those two beds are fine, my big 3 foot by 18 foot bed needed remedial composting.  It now has 2 - 3 inches covering it and should be much much happier next spring.  I'm also going to put down additional compost in the spring, and maybe some greensand and alfalfa pellets for quick nitrogen.

I planted my garlic today, Music, Inchelium Red, and Purple Glazer, in the half wine barrel where I had zucchini this summer.  My three big blue planters which had held eggplant were topped off with compost and lettuce planted in one, French baby carrots in another ('Babette', from Renee's Seeds) and "Maraca", a North African carrot from Baker Creek Seeds in the third.   I also sowed white stem Pak Choi in another planter, and a 3 foot long row of 'Oriental Giant' Spinach in the long white fence planter.

In the long garden bed, I dedicated the far end of the bed to cornflowers, planting 'Blue Button' from Renee's Seeds.  I planted flowers all along the back of the long bed, in the first 12 - 18 inches of the bed.  Carpet of Snow Alyssum, Pink Blush Nigella, Mountain Clarkia, Sweet William, and even Butterfly Snapdragons,
all of which are ok to sow in the fall in a mild winter climate.  I don't think I'll see the Clarkia until spring, not sure about the other items.

Along the front of the long garden bed, I planted an Earthbound Farms lettuce mix, a 3 foot long double row of Golden Beets, and another 3 foot double row of Cilantro.  I'm going to let the rain that's coming on Wednesday water it all, and hope the squirrels stay out of it with their peanut patrol.

This is lazy gardening for me-- usually I'm all about transplants and fussing and so on.  I'm trying to learn to direct sow more things and relax about my garden.  The last couple of years I mixed up a
'Salad Meadow' mix with carrots, dill, various lettuces, radishes, etc.  It grew nicely but was really hard to thin and make into something that was harvestable.  So this year I've gone back to sowing things separately instead of mixing it up, and we'll see what the new winter garden season brings.

Oh yes, I have Super Sugar Snap peas soaking to plant direct, and also Perfume Garden sweet peas ditto.   I plan to plant those tomorrow.  At the Sunnyvale Teaching and Demonstration Garden there are some peas already a foot high, and another crop just went in the ground last week, so I'm hoping mine aren't too late for a December/January crop.