Time to plan for your fall and winter garden!
As the twilight of the cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes happens it is again time to consider the bountiful fall garden. First tomatoes, when your plants start to wither and show signs of stress, that’s when the pruners come out. Clean them up by removing all succors, dead branches and chop them to about 18 inches. Leave enough foliage leaves so they can regenerate. These shortened plants will become your fall tomatoes and will produce well, even green tomatoes if the frost is early.
Here are some of the planting guidelines to follow:
1. Check for the first date of frost in your area. TAMU is good for the dates here in the hill country. Or the Farmers Almanac is another chart to refer to. Many seed company’s have charts in their catalogs also.
2. Say you want spinach for Thanksgiving dinner, look at the seed package and find the day’s to harvest. Now you know how long they need to be in the ground till harvest Get out the calendar look at the frost date and your day’s number and you can have spinach for dinner at Thanksgiving.
Here in the Hill Country a fall garden is often more bountiful than the summer one. I garden year round with the raised bed’s and hoops with heavy plastic covers. I have tried all the types of frost protection they advertise but here’s what works. Burlap, I buy wool bags from my hardware store and have excellent large pieces to cover my plants when frost threatens. I cut the side seams on the bag and have a nice large square. Also heavy gauge plastic draped over the hoops in my raised beds is a small warm green house. Plastic touching the plants is a sure to freeze the plant, there must be air and space between the plastic and the plant. Yes I am like a jack rabbit in the garden covering and un covering so they can get sunshine, but hay I am a gardener.
Here are some ideas for what to plant for your fall winter planting:
Turnips and Rutabaga
Then later in the year I plant garlic and lot’s of it!
Begin by cleaning out the existing garden beds. Compost the old non producing plants and turn the soil to air it out. At this time turn in some compost and level it out and give it a drink. now let it rest and begin to work, the organisms and worms will get moving . In a few days plant your seeds and water in. keep a feeding schedule written down and also your garden plan so you can remember where you planted what! Work on your compost bins and keep them turned. There is a germination time on all seeds, write that down also, if it is getting to long before you seed seedlings you can refer to it and see if they are viable seeds.
Just when gardening get’s tedious for me here in the heat of summer I get refreshed and look forward to the next season of fresh veggies. Each season has it’s own challenges, the heat of summer fades to the cooler days of fall. And planning for the bounty of Thanksgiving is a happy thought. For all you garden catalog collectors Territorial Seed Company has a good 2014 Fall, Winter Garden Catalog. My kids laugh at me because I can spend a lot of time dreaming and planning my garden– and here we go again–
A good gardener always plans 2 seasons ahead, just planing ahead and hoping you are also.
Growing green with Jannie