It’s been a while since I last did an update on what’s growing in the garden, so today I want to give a quick tour. In the area near the house I call the kitchen garden, the four cold frame beds are full of veggies. The first bed is planted in kale and turnips. The kale is Starbor and Meadowlark, while the turnips are Hakurei and Scarlet Queen. The turnips were late planted so I may get only greens from them, but that’s okay since we prefer them to the roots anyway. I haven’t harvested anything from this bed yet. There’s a radish in there that volunteered and I left it to see if it would make anything edible.
The second bed is all lettuce, and I have started harvesting from it. It’s an assortment of varieties including Tango, 21st Century Fire, Pele, Simpson Elite and Red Sails. I’ve already replanted down the left side with Pele transplants, and I’ll replant others as they are harvested.
The third bed was planted in kohlrabi back in August. That’s all been harvested, and I’ve replanted the bed with lettuce for overwintering. It’s always a gamble to plant lettuce this late, but I’ve got some hardy types like Winter Marvel and Red Tinged Winter plus others that may or may not be hardy. With a long range forecast calling for a milder than normal winter, the gamble just might pay off! I’ve got lettuce in the greenhouse too, and it’s almost certain to produce through the end of the year if not longer. You’ll notice the cold frame itself is in bad shape. I had hoped to replace it with a new one this fall, but it hasn’t happened yet and it will likely be next year now before I get it done.
The last bed is planted in mizuna and Topper turnips, which are grown for the greens since they don’t make roots. The mizuna plants have truly given us more than we can eat so far, which is not a bad problem to have. I’m just about ready to cut some of the turnip greens the next time they are on the menu. This cold frame is also in need of replacement.
In the main garden area, I’ve done some cleanup work getting the garden ready for winter but more work remains. I cleaned up the are where the vining squash was growing and planted a cover crop of oats and field peas. To get it ready I moved the mulch of straw off to the side and lightly forked up the soil before sowing the seeds.
Both the peas and oats will eventually winter kill here, but they will give the soil some protection from erosion and the stubble should help keep the spring weeds down. You can see the weeds are already sprouting though along with the peas and oats.
Next to that bed is where I planted the garlic, shallots and multiplier onions last week. I’ll cover that bed with straw in a week or two. That bed and the bed next to it were planted in sweet potatoes earlier. I sowed mustard seed in the second bed for a cover crop. It too should winter kill, but provide cover for the soil. Erosion isn’t usually a big problem in our garden but it can happen, and I don’t like to leave the soil completely bare if I can help it. Even weeds are better than bare soil I think. At least that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it!
The mustard is just now emerging, and so far it is beating the weeds. I use a number of different cover crops in fall, including turnips and radishes, but this time I sowed some mustard seed. I avoid crops that survive the winter because our wet springs make it difficult to get the cover crop turned under before it’s time to start planting. Leaves are blowing in from a nearby maple tree, which is not a bad thing at all.
The fall brassicas are occupying two beds, and I’ve been harvesting on them for a few weeks now. There were tomatoes growing on either side of the brassicas, and I need to get both those beds cleaned up. The brassica bed is a little weedy, but most of the plants will be gone in a month or so. Thankfully I am pretty much the only critic of how the garden looks, and weeding is not a high priority for me there right now.
Dazzling Blue is a colorful selection of lacinato kale from Wild Garden Seeds. The leaves are sturdy and hold up well to soups and other treatments. It’s supposed to be more hardy than other lacinato types, but I doubt it will survive our winters.
The Wild Garden Kale Mix is also fairly hardy, but it has yet to survive one of our winters unprotected. Since I have kale planted in the greenhouse and in a cold frame bed, I let the plants in the main garden fend for themselves. Covering tends to promote an aphid explosion, and for me that is not worth the added degree of winter protection.
The cabbage plants are slowly but surely starting to head up. This is one called Vantage Point. It is supposed to make large heads but it needs to get going!
I also have several savoy cabbage plants including this one of Melissa. I was harvesting it in December last year, so I’m not too concerned about its size at this point. Not that I can do anything about it, of course.
I hope you have enjoyed this look at the garden here in November. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres.