Q1 in my garden

Maybe I forgot to tell you that I planted a fall/winter garden in my raised beds last September.  I signed up for a CSA of plants from these folks, which provided me two flats of starts by the 15th of September.  After clearing out the summer crops, turning over and amending my soil a bit, I planted most everything I received in the raised beds and stuffed a few others in pots and planters here and there too.

Everything has done quite well, especially with the mild temperatures we enjoyed until very recently.  But even with the freezing temps, all seems fine with overwintering plants now that we put a protective cover over them. The cauliflower, purple sprouting broccoli, and red bunching onions are still healthy.  The kale is looking lovely and tasting sweeter and sweeter with the cold weather.

Purple sprouting broccoli and cauliflower (and arugula running amok).

Lettuces and spinach hanging out in the toasty grower . . . and a few beets.

The chard patch (why I grow it I'm not sure.  I much prefer kale).
Last week I trimmed out dead wood and snipped the canes back a bit on the raspberry bed.  Hoping for a heavy crop this summer -- without the fruitworms that showed up last season.  Learning about how to organically control this pest is my latest obsession. 

The raspberry patch before the clean up.
I completely neglected to mulch or organize the six (now 50!) strawberry plants that I put in one of my raised beds last March so I have no idea how they will do this coming June.  They grew like crazy all summer, sending out runners into and beyond the bed.  Who knew six plants would turn out to be too many for a 10 x 2 foot raised bed?  I may try to get some straw yet this month and cover the plants to prevent damage to the crowns -- or any further damage, I should say.  We've had a few nights with temps in the 20s recently.  I also neglected to pinch off all the flowers last June (the first season) so I'm not sure I've gotten my plants off to much of a good start anyway.  Live and learn.

One of the projects I had really hoped to accomplish in 2012 was get a compost system going.  Where to put it, however, has been the big question.  I'd like a three-bin arrangement so I could have piles at different stages and useable compost available throughout the year.  I have a friend with chickens who has offered me as much manure as I'd like but I need to compost it before using it on the garden.  Oh the beautiful soil that would build!

Which brings me to my plans and goals for the veggie garden this year . . .

  • Plant fewer peas and more kale
  • Skip the tomatoes and chard
  • Try a few new crops--maybe fennel bulb and some runner beans?
  • Plant rhubarb
  • Get started early by planting peas, spinach, and radishes in late February
  • Start composting
  • Beat the fruitworms for good
  • Install copper slug tape on beds to protect strawberries and greens
  • Refresh the cedar chips on garden paths
  • Plant cover crops this fall instead of growing veggies 

Kale starts that wouldn't fit into the veggie beds in September happily growing in a pot on the porch.
Wyatt's row marker collection.


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