June always seems like a time when I can breath. The last of the hot weather veggies are in. You can see the garden grow. I can take a deep breath and smell the flowers. The garden is in maintenance mode. But just as I'm taking that deep breath to relax, I remember. The fall garden - when and where are things going? It must be planned out and seeds started. Now. In June.
So Monday was spent planning what should go where and how many plants I should grow of each. I elected not to grow cabbage this year. Always at the end of the year the local farm has local IPM cabbage on sale for about $0.20/lb or $1 for a huge head. I stock up and buy a few.
I made a list of things I would like to grow:
- Mache (hopefully I'll be able to trade for seed later this year)
- Chinese Cabbage
I will continue to grow my successions of lettuce and Asian greens all summer and fall. Their spot is already spoke for. I just have to figure out where the rest will go.
In a perfect world the potatoes would come out in the middle of July and my carrots could go in part of it. The overwintering mache and spinach could take another part. I'm sure even if the potatoes come out in August there is still time for the greens, but the carrots will not have space. Worse comes to worse, when I pull the carrots from the middle of the eggplants I can replace a couple of rows. I hope not to, but time will tell. Right now it looks like my eggplant will never grow. For all I know, I could have pulled it out in disgust by the middle of July and then I'd have room for tons of carrots. If the weather doesn't get warmer that scenario looks likely.
Now where oh where will my Chinese cabbage and broccoli go? The Chinese cabbage can go where the broccoli and cabbage are growing now. That one is easy. There will be room for about three plants. The broccoli will end up where the alliums are growing now. I think the garlic will be harvested in the middle of July. I hope. I hope the onions are out by then too. I hope. Because there is no other space for my broccoli. If they both come out in time I'll have room for about six plants. If not then about three. I'll start these plants in the middle of June so they can be planted out in the middle of July. I do have a plan B for these too. I usually have spring peas than pull them out and plant fall peas. But fall peas don't produce much. I could use the peas spot for broccoli if I really need to. I'd miss my peas, but it would work.
Then there is the seed that Dan sent me - Bubbles brussels sprouts. Hmm. I have this tyfon that I'm not really in love with. Usually I would just eat it anyway, but I have this chance to replace it with something I like. Usually brussels sprouts are started earlier. They are long season veggies, but this one is only an 80 day variety. Yesterday I made some soil blocks and seeded two of them. They will go in the garden around July 4th. I hope it won't be too late.
Timing for the fall vegetables is always hard for me. I've found when people say x weeks before the first fall frost, they are always wrong. My maritime climate puts my first frost at the end of October. Some years it doesn't come unitl the beginning of November. But I live so far north that the light levels get too low to actually get growth out of the plants. Last year I put in a 60 day broccoli at the beginning of August. It wasn't quite enough time. In November I picked just one small head. It had 90 days of growth and still couldn't produce. Just not enough light. I've found I do much better by using the end of September as my last frost date for such calculations. I just hope I started my brussels sprouts in time.