We’re in the busy period now where summer veggies are coming on, and it’s also time to plant and take care of the fall veggies. Today I’ll share a quick progress report on how the fall vegetable plantings are doing. I set out kale and collard plants early last month, and they have taken off nicely. I set out most of the collard greens in a bed where broccoli and cabbage were growing earlier. The bed had been prepped with lots of compost in spring, so all I did was work it up with a digging fork and add some organic fertilizer. You can see in the photo that the weeds are growing too! I need to weed and mulch with straw soon before they get really out of hand..
The other end of that bed was covered in weed barrier fabric and had been planted with bush summer squashes. Those plants are all done for and were put on the compost pile. I used scissors to cut a slit in the material and sowed turnip greens (Topper and All-Top) in half the area. I sowed white ‘salad’ turnips (Hakurei) in a nearby area using the same method. All the turnips are coming up now and hopefully they will be easier to keep weeded with the fabric.
I replanted a couple of bush zucchini at the far end of that bed. It’s a bit late to be planting squash here, but the plants were started in pots last month and should get off to a quick start. I set out a couple of zucchini in grow bags, and I can move them inside the greenhouse if an early frost threatens. I’ve had good luck growing the squash in these bags, though the yields are lower than those I plant in-ground. At this point I’m just looking for a few fresh ones to extend the season a bit.
I also set out a few collards in another bed that was covered in weed barrier fabric. They seem to be growing a bit faster than the ones planted in bare soil. And they are definitely less weedy!
I have been experimenting with this woven black polypropylene fabric this year and so far I am pleased with the results. This White Russian kale planted in it is also off to a great start.
While I try and limit my use of plastic in general, and especially in the garden, I am also getting to the point where I don’t have the energy to devote to gardening that I used to have when I was younger. So I am looking for any and all ways to assist me, and the weed barrier fabric is one way. The bed where the collard greens are planted in bare ground needs weeding repeatedly, while the bed next it has been weed free for months since I put the fabric down. The fabric can be reused, and I look forward to more experimenting with it next year.
Back in July I sowed a section of one bed in cowpeas for an edible cover crop. They are now setting pods and ready to begin harvesting. I’m growing two varieties this year, one called Quickpick Pinkeye and Fast Lady Northern Southern peas. The cowpeas and mulch will keep down weeds plus add organic material and nitrogen to the soil, while giving us some tasty peas.
In spring I planted several eggplants in containers and they kept us well supplied until the in-ground plantings began bearing. The container plants have slowed down, so I trimmed them back a couple of weeks ago and gave them a drink of fish emulsion and seaweed fertilizer. They responded with a flush of blooms are are now setting fruit. I have Fairy Tale, Gretel and Patio Baby growing and all have done well in containers.
I have one more fall planting I made, and that is a bed of kohlrabi I set out behind the greenhouse. I have Kolibri and Terek planted there, and it needs to be weeded and mulched too. Those should be ready to eat sometime next month, and give as a bit more fresh kohlrabi before winter sets in. I have spread Sluggo pellets on the soil to help keep the slugs under control, since they are usually a problem with the kohlrabi.
I decided not to set out any broccoli this fall, since I grow it in the winter greenhouse and that usually keeps us well supplied. I also decided to skip planting cabbage. I do have some other greens like mizuna started and I will try and find a home for them soon. I hope you have enjoyed this update on what’s happening here at Happy Acres!
I managed to source 4 different varieties of collards this year Dave, following your example. They are quite small at the moment, but I’m hoping to get a hungry gap harvest from them before they go to seed. I agree with your strategy, keep the workload down, but keep gardening. That’s always on my mind, every year, find ways to grow with less effort : All the best – Steve