Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Fall Vegetable Garden

I got a late start on the fall vegetable garden this year. I blame the chickens for that. Of course, I was the one who decided to get chickens before I had even begun building a coop or run, so maybe it's unfair to blame the girls. Maybe the blame should rest completely on me.

No matter who is at fault, the late start meant that I had to cut back on my plans. Starting a fall vegetable garden is not as easy as one might think, especially when I have to completely remove the summer vegetable garden in order to focus on the fall. In the end, I planted some lettuce and spinach, then followed two weeks later with another sowing. Of those two sowings, I have a grand total of two lettuce plants and two spinach plants. Only one of my Chinese Slow Bolt cabbage seeds germinated, as well. I'm not sure why I'm having such trouble. It's either that the seeds are bad or the soil is. Even though the drip irrigation is working fine, I think the complete lack of rain for two months now has really caused some problems.

It's not all bad news up there, though. I also started my two favorite types of radishes--lovely and mild French Breakfast and the wonderfully spicy Watermelon, and they're coming along nicely. I also planted sugar snaps and regular shelling peas, and those are growing really well. And now loads of Dwarf Blue Curly Kale seedlings are peeking out of the soil.

The peas are now scrambling up their
trellis supports

Some elements of the summer vegetables are still in place, largely because they have been producing heavy yields in the cooler weather. I can't keep up with Asian eggplants, and the peppers of all varieties are going crazy. But they likely won't last much longer unless I start protecting them. We woke up to 31 degrees on Friday morning, and the first kiss of deadly frost has damaged parts of the plants.

These eggplants like the cooler weather

Some leaves are browning and curling

The upper portions of the pepper plants have suffered, too

I'll likely try the lettuce and spinach again in another bed to see if I can get a better germination rate in different soil, but even if they don't produce, we'll still have a good showing from everything else.


  1. My students and I had trouble with spinach also (TWO planting failures, each with a different variety of spinach), and our broccoli looks too leggy. I think the fall temperatures were too high for good germination and growth. Even once the temperature starts to drop, the soil stays warm for a while. I think some vegetables are a lot like me, much preferring cooler temperatures.

  2. It's been such a strange year for growing veg, hasn't it, Joyce? My tomatoes not only protested the summer heat; they just got up and walked out of the garden. I was all set for tons of canning again this year, and that never materialized. But I'm going to keep trying with the lettuces and use my poly tunnels to keep them going when it gets too cold.