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Fall Gardening

One thing I’ve always wanted to do, but never quite gotten around to, is put in a fall vegetable garden. The problem I’ve always run into is that the summer garden is still going gangbusters near the end of summer, and I’ve just never had any space in the garden that wasn’t already occupied at the time of year when you’re supposed to put in the fall veggies. I also have to admit that I have the tendency to want to do less work in the garden in the summer and enjoy the fruits of my labor and limit my gardening activities to harvesting tomatoes and all of the other bountiful summer crops. And after all, what’s wrong with letting the lettuce bolt into glorious three foot tall plants, even if it is taking up space that could be put to better use? Well this year I have a nice big garden and lots of raised beds, and I really had no excuse not to take advantage of finally having the extra space in the garden I needed to put in a fall garden.

A couple of months ago I started broccoli and bok choy from seed. I planted them in the garden over a month ago, and they appear to be doing well as we head into the cold weather. I also seeded several varieties of lettuce and spinach into another raised bed, and Sean built a cold frame to protect them from the dropping temperatures. The swiss chard was slow to get going this year, but it’s in full swing now, so Sean built a second cold frame for that bed. The leeks did great this year, so I mulched them really and well hopefully they can survive a couple more months in the ground. This year was the first year I grew kale, and both the chickens and I have become big fans of it, so I planted some more starts a few weeks ago.

Of course there’s also plenty of fall garden chores that need doing like pulling up the tomato and squash plants. Did I mention that I grew 14 tomato plants this year? Well let me tell you, that’s a lot of tomato plants to pull and chop up. The chore was slightly more rewarding than usual this year, since I got to put them in my shabby chic compost bins that Sean made me out of pallets where they will be mixed with the chicken coop shavings and poop and left to decompose over the winter and turn into lovely compost for next year’s garden. The weather even cooperated last weekend and the sun came out to give me a little more time to finish cleaning up the garden and get it ready for winter. Now I can do a little hibernating this fall and winter and still have garden fresh veggies. Yeah, life is pretty good here at 5R Farm.

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