Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Fall Garden. Already?

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:

  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Mache (hopefully I'll be able to trade for seed later this year)
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Broccoli

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.

The only broccoli head from last fall's garden.

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.


  1. You are inspiring me to get busy and get the rest of the summer stuff in -- I know I'm behind! THEN, I will think of fall, but here, I can grow until late November (sometimes longer!!)

  2. Hi Daphne... a fall garden! I have sooo much to learn!

    I didn't start gardening until I moved to Wyoming. We've had a big family garden... but this year is my very first... all my own... garden!

    How did you make those nicely shaped soil squares?

  3. WOW, Daphne! I wish I had your planning skills! I'm hoping for fall cabbage this year, I better get starting those seeds! All of my seedlings shriveled up on me this winter/spring. I grew eggplants last year, it seem like forever that they just had a few flea beetle-eaten leaves and then all of a sudden they got huge! Don't worry too much! You've got everything under control!

  4. You could gaze at that peony all day. The single ones are my favorite, so much nicer then their garish cousins. This is the second single pink I have seen and it made me think I should have picked pink over my white one.

    Glade you have found a spot for the brussels sprouts. I planted nursery grown starts in May last year and they still didn't produce much by the end of the season. So I researched varieties and found out it's better to grow shorter season ones and plant late. Then the sprouts don't develop in the summer heat. I started mine on May 29th and as soon as one of the broccoli rows head up they will take their space. Last year my brussels sprouts did last into December, I just think the variety was a poor one.

  5. Same problems here. Last year my fall carrots didn't have enough time, and my fall beets were almost too small, the fall squash did little more than blossom. Luckily I wrote down those dates of planting, so I have some indication of when to plant this year. My problem will be finding space to plant any fall crops at all!

  6. I'm a new to veggie gardening and I'm only on my 2nd year of doing it. I'd like to try succession planting this year. Do you start your seeds in cells inside or outside or do you direct sow? I have no place to direct sow right now since all the spots are taken with my summer veggies. I live on the South Shore so I'm in the Boston metro area too. -Jackie

  7. Don't give up totally on your eggplant yet - mine last year was like that. Nothing, nothing, nothing and then bam, it took off practically overnight and I had a ton of eggplants by early August. This year it's been my cauliflower.... I came really close to pulling them a week or so ago because they seemed completely stalled out, and now they are finally forming heads.

  8. Fall garden planning already? I guess in 4 weeks, i'll be planning mine as well.

    BTW, I really like the overview pics in the last post.

  9. island gardener, lol yes get those summer veggies in.

    Toni-zone, the soil squares are soil blocks. You used a soil block maker to create them. If you look here:
    I put up a photo of it. BTW I did eventually learn how to make the blocks well. It was a learning process.

    Lzyjo, I hope mine take off. Right now it is really cold. It has been in the 60s the last couple of days. Brrr. I hope they are still putting down roots even in the cold.

    Dan, I love the single peonies too. I do have a double frilly one too, but my favorite is the single. If I get brussels sprouts into December I'll really be happy. Ok I'll be happy to get them anytime. I've never done it before and I know the timing is always iffy for a crop that I haven't grown before.

    Annie's Granny, for me it is lucky I have this blog. I wrote down nothing last year. I had to look it up on the blog when it was all planted. But it was enough.

    Ellie Mae's Cottage, I start my seed inside in soil blocks. I don't direct sow because the slugs would just take them down. Plus like you I have no room right now. So I have to wait. I just hope all those crops come out of the ground in time. The south shore. Hmmm does that mean you have been getting the rain the weathermen keep promising us? I keep seeing our rain go south of us.

    Alyssa, I'm not giving up yet. Last year I got a good crop for our cool climate. I hope I do again this year.

    EG, well sure you southerners have a lot of sunshine, a lot of warmth, a long season. Then I see all your bugs and I'm happy ;>

  10. Hi Daphne, I'm impressed with the level of organization and thought going into trying to get the most out of your space. When are you going to start your fall lettuce? I have yet to make it work in Boston. Most of the time I end up planting it too late.

  11. Sally, I do lettuce (and Asian greens) successions. Five Plants every two weeks from March-August. The last ones I put in usually don't make it since the light levels are too low at that point for them to grow. This means I'm trying to grow lettuce over the summer. It doesn't usually grow much then, but I get lettuce to harvest in all the months except August. I'm hoping to extend that a bit if I can find a lettuce that does better in the heat then Red Sails.

  12. I agree, Daphne, fall successions are tricky. Sounds like you're working through the issues in your area so you'll get it right. Good luck!!!