Friday, November 20, 2009

Fall Blues - Garden Update

I have to admit, I'm not quite sure how I feel about my garden right now. For some reason, I thought I'd be a bit more excited than I am about the fact that I still have things growing. Not that I'm disappointed by how my fall garden has turned out this year, I'm just feeling a bit ambivalent about it all. Does anyone else get the fall blues this time of year?

I'm taking some much needed time off from work this upcoming week. Maybe all I need is a full day in the garden (which I haven't been able to do in ages) to get me out of my doldrums. I still have to dig the remaining half of my garden for next year. There's really not much to report right now, but here are a few random tidbits:

pak choi flowers
Our wacky weather caused my white stem pak choi to bolt. I never thought that this would be happening this late in the year.

making leaf mold
Here is my attempt at making leaf mold this year. As the piles pack down, I'll continue to add more leaves. I wanted to chip these leaves first to speed up the process but alas, I think my wood chipper is permanently on the fritz. Any ideas on how long it will take for these leaves to break down? They are mostly maple.

green manure
I have some fall green manure growing in a couple of my beds. I wanted to clear the remainder of my plot and sow green manure in preparation for next year, but unfortunately, I never got around to it. As a result, I have a ton of seed remaining. Hopefully, they will remain viable for next fall.

The mache that I sowed back in early October hasn't been doing much of anything. At this rate, they won't be ready to harvest until early Spring.

garlic shoots
Garlic shoots! It's nice to know that they are alive underneath all of that straw mulch.

fall peas
Ever since I harvested my pea shoots, the plants have been pouring their energy into making pods. I've been harvesting them young and they are quite delicious.

fall spinach
Finally, I will start harvesting some spinach leaves either this weekend or the next. I noticed that some of the older outer leaves are starting to turn yellow. I'm wonder if this is normal or if the temperature inside my hoop houses get too hot during the day. Everything else seems to be enjoying the added warmth. I think I'll devote an entire bed to spinach next fall and not cover it until very late in the season.


  1. Greens from the garden this time of year, looks so good. I feel the blues this time of year, but that is primarily because its grey and dark when I leave for work and grey and dark when I get home from work. I have to remember to force myself outside for atleast 30 minutes of fresh air every day and then I just feel better.

  2. Thomas...I know how you garden looks so alive in the summer..and by looks pretty tired...

    I kind of chalk it up till the spring...I was overwhelmed by it this year so I am going to do it over and plant about half of it in orchard...which I love......

    On the spinach front....I put it in my Thanksgiving stuffing....lots of italian parsley, thyme, and spinach....

    Have a wonderful weekend and best to Marc and Johnathan....


  3. Gosh, Thomas, at least you have something green! I often wonder why I abuse myself by trying to garden in this desert. It's such a disappointment to meet failure after failure when I've had such success with my regular garden! Oh well, at least the pansies and allysum are growing well, and I have a new baby tomato on one of the plants.

  4. I'm experimenting with a few leaf stacks this year in a comparative study of whole vs. mulched. Can't wait to see the results. I'll let you know.
    Shredded leaves should break down quicker but what's the rush really. The end result is the same. For anyone who can't be bothered with shredding and has the time and space to spare, better stack whole leaves than stack nothing at all.

  5. I'm not sure how long they take to break down, general wisdom says two years for leaves. I always use them up in the compost pile within a year so I haven't let them go any longer. The maple breaks down easily though. If you makes sure they are wet when you add them it helps a lot. The maples will mat down and won't let water through to the bottom leaves otherwise. You could do what I do and mow them to chop them up. Then they only take a year.

    I get a little bit of ennui on and off about the garden this time of year. I consider it a good thing since I won't be able to garden soon. Usually the garden is all wrapped up already. This warm weather is throwing is really throwing me for a loop. I'm not sure what to make of it. I'm supposed to have to wrap up when I go out to the compost pile, but today it was almost as warm outside as inside.

    Your peas look so delicious. I miss not growing fall peas this year.

  6. Judging by your photos, you don't have anything to feel blue about.

  7. I really dislike this time of year. It's just so grey and brown, just miserable! Your pockets of green look very nice through.

    My spinach plants are discoloring a bit as well, I'm guessing it is from the low light levels. I seeded mache Aug 15th so they had good light to get growing. Given your covers the mache should go through winter not problem and start growing late Feb when the sun gets stronger.

  8. I am very envious of your spinach Thomas, I have a black thumb when it comes to growing it.

    I have not been out in my garden either, so sad with all this nice weather we have been getting. Your post has me very curious- it seems we have many of the same things going on out there....garlic, peas, and winter rye (for me). I have not peaked since I sowed the rye many weeks ago.

    Sorry your mache is being slow-pokey, it had such promise!!

    What will you be doing for Thanksgiving?

  9. My garden is my refuge most all of the year. The blues I experience in the late fall and winter is because it just is too wet and "glunky" to really spend large amounts of time in the garden at any time.

    Your greens look lovely.

  10. Hi Kel, I'll be in Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving. I am very excited as it will be the first time some of siblings are meeting Jonathan.

  11. Hey, Thomas! Thanks for stopping by my little blog. I think your header is wonderful. i have never been able to get a picture up just right.

    I too am envious of your spinach. I had all good intentions of seeding some for fall, but well, life took over!