21 October 2009

More Fall Vegetable Gardening

Fall is definitely in the air. We've had some unexpected cold nights in the past week. The first morning I worried about my plants - especially the tender houseplants that have been outside since the Spring, and the plant swap stuff that are still sitting in the driveway. We've had more cool nights - mid to high forties - and everything have been fine, though it has gotten me to think about what I plant to do with these plants during the winter. I even dreamed that the temperature dropped to 20ยบ and all my plants died!

I've collected numerous houseplants and tender succulents since the Spring, and the reckoning is coming soon. Most of these I picked up off the street, their owners having abandoned them, so I wouldn't be losing out financially, but I'd hate to see these plants that I "rescued" die. Last year I had some metal shelves that I wrapped in clear plastic that I bought at Dollar Tree. It was quite thin, but it was large enough to double up, and when it got too cold, like last winter, I threw some old quilts over it at night. I ended up losing a lot of succulents I was propagating for the Spring Plant Swap. This year I'd like to get some thick plastic sheeting and line the garden storage/greenhouse area and possibly wrap shelves again.

Yet another garden injury!

Despite having sliced my toe pretty good Tuesday morning - first my hand, now my foot - I managed to get a lot done around the yard on Wednesday. Robin said she was planning to do laundry on Tuesday and I wanted her to wash my garden gloves - I started wearing gloves since my last accident. I had replied to a post on Craigslist last week - someone wanting help in their yard in exchange for plants. I couldn't pass that up - free plants and something to blog about. So, while I was out in the yard around six in the morning looking for my gloves, I stepped on something that sliced down the side of my big toe. I cleaned it and put a band-aid on it and called work. I really thought I would be fine in a couple of days.

Of course I had to cancel my plans to work in someone else's yard for plants. After getting a good look at her list of plants, it wasn't that disappointing to miss out. Several of the plants I already had - hidden ginger, taro, canna. She had a few varieties of canna that I wanted for a bed I might make over the winter.

I had Wednesday off and I really didn't go back to the doctor - "you again?" I limped around on Tuesday, but after walking the dogs in the evening, it really hurt. We thought we might go to the doctor on Wednesday, but my toe felt pretty good in the morning. Robin was insistent that I be sure I could go to work on Thursday. She suggested I walk around the block and see how I feel. If it hurt after that, then we would go to the doctor, but it felt pretty good.

I planned to try to work in the yard. I had a long list so I started with the easiest stuff and thought I would see how I felt. I ended up doing almost everything on my list. We've got a few stumps that keep sprouting and I keep cutting them back. I've tried various things - salt, vinegar, etc - to kill them but but nothing has worked. The next thing I'm going to try is smothering them with black trash bags - no light and no water will kill them hopefully. We've got oaks and maples in our azalea hedges that I've been meaning to do that to.

I finished planting all the vegetables for the Fall. I planted (more) onions and lettuce in the raised bed and broccoli and garlic in one of the beds out front. I seemed to do ok this past Spring with broccoli, but there just wasn't enough - and the last of it bolted when we were out of town. (Doesn't that sound like it ran away while we were gone?) I have 18 plants this time, so we'll see how much we actually get.

I had a little trouble with onions in the Spring. The sets were planted all the in the ground, meaning the bulbs were completely covered, and not in a raised bed. We had a few heavy rains in the Spring and some of the onions didn't like all that wet clay soil. Last Summer I sa my neighbor, Mr. Hiers, had his onions planted almost right on top of the soil, so the only thing in the ground were the roots. It looked like he had a pretty good crop. I'm trying it his way this time. I'm sure it will be an improvement over last time, especially in the raised bed.

The last thing I planted was garlic. I've never grown it before, but I thought I would give it a try. I bought three garlic bulbs and peeled them and broke off the cloves. They tell you to plant only the biggest ones, but I figured I would plant all of them and see what happens. I have the 10-12 larger cloves in one area out front and then I put the rest of them behind them. probably 15-20 more. They won't be ready to harvest until summer so it's really an investment of time and space. Robin's excited as well. She's never cooked with garlic cloves before, so we'll both be learning something new.

I have one more thing to mention - I got a free pineapple plant off craigslist today. It was posted a few days ago, but it was crazy trying to get up with this person to actually get it. I finally had to go to her house today and get it. She's been trying to give one to someone else in my neighborhood, so I volunteered to hold it for this guy to pick up at our house. We'll see if he actually comes to get it. I might end up with two.

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