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Archive for August, 2008

Yes, dear gardening friends, there is still time to plant for a fall crop!

As summer fades out, it’s now the perfect time to plant the following:

Beets – about 50 days to harvest.

Broccoli – don’t expect the BIG heads that you get in the stores, your homegrown broccoli will be smaller – and tastier, since it’s fresher! Once you pick the main head, you’ll get a second harvest as the plant will put out smaller heads from further down the stalk.

Brussels Sprouts – I still have these growing from a spring planting! As you take off the leaf stalks, little sprouts form on the stalk – they look funny, and I guess it’s an acquired taste, but they taste great!

Bush beans – about 50 days to harvest, and they don’t need any support!

Cabbage – look for late varieties

Carrots – did you know that carrots get sweeter as the weather gets colder? In our plots, you may want to grow the smaller carrots – you know there’s still a layer of brick, or concrete, or something under the soil!

Cauliflower – prefer an organic soil, so our layer of mushroom compost is perfect! Be prepared to keep up the water though, these plants are thirsty!

Chives – a favorite perennial! But watch out … they self seed and can quickly take over a garden! Cut off the dead flower head to avoid unwanted plantings in your neighbor’s plot.

Kale – About 2 months to harvest

Lettuce – you can plant heading varieties and harvest them once the head is nice and solid, or you can choose leaf varieties and pick leaves as they are ready for ultimate freshness!

Peas – Varieties such as Maestro are superssweet, and ready in just 60 days. Build a little teepee for peas to climb on, or use your tomato cages – either will work.

Radishes – they’re ready to harvest in about a month!

Swiss chard – comes in a wonderful array of colors, and it’s SO good for you! Should be ready to harvest in about 50 days.

Spinach – another veggie that’s on the “Superfoods” list. Be like Popeye and eats ya spinach! It’s super easy to grow, and will be read in about 40 days

Turnips – About 50 days from seed to harvest

Flowers? Plant some pansies now and they should be fine over winter for fresh blooms in the spring! You can also plant calendula, and use the petals in a salad.

Did you know that when you plant seeds for a fall crop, you should plant them deeper than if you were planting in the spring? Because the days are still warm, the moisture in the soil closest to the surface is minimal. It’s down below where the water is!

So now you know what to plant! Do you think you may need another plot? LOL!

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Composting doesn’t have to be complex, or time consuming.  All we need is 3 pallets, some nails and a hammer – oh, and of course, items to compost!

That’s how I made my compost bin – actually, I put mine together with brackets, but anything that holds them together is just fine! In fact, I’ll upload a pic to show just how primitive it is!

Compost bin to the left

Compost bin to the left

This was taken back in May, it’s now heaving with compost!

So, what can you compost? Pretty much anything that was once alive (but probably not the moldy yogurt from the back of your fridge) … plant matter, grass clippings, rotted fruit, corn cobs, coffee grounds (AND the filters!), vegetable peelings, and yes, you can even throw in weeds if your compost pile is working properly.

The heat produced by the composting action is enough to kill the weeds, so you won’t find new weeds growing from your compost pile if you keep it “fed and watered”- and you do have to turn it, but that’s hardly anything when you compare it to the benefits of harvesting your very own “black gold”!

So, whaddya say? Anyone have 3 pallets hanging around that they don’t need?

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Need some inspiration?

If you’re anything like me, you make lots and lots of plans, and then just don’t even look a them when it comes to getting the project done. However, I did find a source of garden plans that are just too good to ignore. I especially like the children’s vegetable garden.

You can find them at theBetter Homes & Gardens website.

So, don’t let planning put you off starting a plot in the community garden, there’s lots of help out there … on the web, at the library, and even as close as your gardening neighbor!

Did you believe that rain this morning? It was just what we needed after some serious planting on the weekend – but we went down to check on our gardens and it was still pretty dusty! We ran into Val who had just come from the task force meeting, and she said that we should have water by the end of the week, and definitely by this time next week. Way to go, City of Bloomington!

Now, come on, where are the rest of you gardening bloggers?

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So, the skies opened up for a little bit this morning as a mini-thunderstorm threw a hissy fit over Bloomington. Not quite enough to give us all the moisture we needed, but we’d already heard from Val that she was going to be at the garden at 4pm with a 60 gallon tank of water in her van. SIXTY GALLONS! Do you know how good that sounded!

Let’s face it, if the City of Bloomington is not going to give us our water, then we’ll just bring our own – and we’ll do it in style!

There had already been lots of activity by the time Paris and I stepped foot on that dusty ol’ mushroom compost. And yes, it’s still very dusty! I think the mushroom compost is GREAT, however, I think I also need to truck some of my own homegrown compost down there to add some chunkiness to the dust.

All the plants were pretty much still standing up. None had withered into the netherworld of plants yet. No tomato plants in tomato heaven, and my lima beans had even sprouted – quel joi!

Paris and I made a quick run to Growing Grounds, as she was feeling envious of Marcella’s great healing garden in the center of one of her plots. We returned with some lemon verbena, stevia, nasturtium, pineapple sage, honeydew melon sage, and another plant that I can’t remember the name of. We planted and watered those, then left the plot to it’s own devices …. until we next return

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