Friday, October 16, 2009

October garden: what's growing on?

With the bulk of my food preservation behind me, my thoughts turn back to my organic vegetable garden.  There are still a few veggies out there that will do fine up through the first frost.

 Now that the garden is sufficiently surrounded by netting, my carrots are starting to recover from their battle with the grazing deer. I hope to harvest them in November. 

I planted a new batch of lettuce about 3 weeks ago. Without the constant pruning by hungry deer this too is thriving!  It's going to be ready for a nice tender salad next week if the frost will hold off.

Tender tasty lettuce, the deer love it, but this batch is for me!

Some garden plants, like my everbearing strawberries, are self propigating.  I've got a nice patch growing in the bow of my boat garden.  With this years runners, there are about 12 new plants for next years berry season! The plants need very little coaxing to produce new plants.  All I had to do was arrange the runners so that the new florettes rooted in a suitable location.

Running on, these berries propigate themselves

The boat garden earlier this summer

Now that the weather has turned cool, it's time to get my spring bulbs in the ground.  I'm planning on a planting of daffodils and snow drops along with a  pot or 2 of tulips that will have to be protected from those deer.  I'll head into the nursery on Monday and pick them out.  Hopefully I can get my hands on some daffodil bulbs from Skagit Valley.

Skagit Valley daffodils spring 2009

 Flowers aren't the only bulbs that benefit from a fall planting.  It's also a good time to get next years garlic crop in the ground.  Garlic planted in autumn usually is ready for harvest a little earlier in the summer than spring planted cloves.

I have a basket full of garlic that I harvested in early September.  Because I use a frugal garden technique of planting the inner cloves of my kitchen garlic, some of the harvest was still a bit to small to use.  It was time to get those back in the ground where they will benefit from another couple seasons of growth.

A tisket a tasket a garlic bulb filled basket

Planting garlic cloves is just like planting any small bulb flower.  You'll want to pick a spot in your garden with nice loamy soil.  Space them 4-6" apart and about 2-3" deep.

small garden, no problem! Found enough room for 30 garlics!

I chose this nearly empty bed for my planting.  At the far end you can see I still have some celery growing here that I plan to over winter.  I use a square foot garden method because I have limited garden beds.  Using this technique, I planted some garlic amid the celery plants.

Garlic will grow well interplanted with many other veggies

I dug out 3 rows deep across my 18" wide beds.  This allowed me to get the most plants per square foot. 

It's easy to dig in this nice loamy garden soil

I chose my heartiest bulbs from the basket and set them in the holes.  It's important to plant them with the rooting side down!  Then I covered them with about 2" of soil and packed it down with my hands.  No need to add extra compost this time because this bed was already amended when I harvested the beans that had been growing here.  On that note, be sure to rotate your garden plants from year to year.  This will help reduce the chances of transfering any diseases that may be soil born.

From this tiny bulb I look forward to salsas stews and pestos for next year

Normally at this step I would water the bulbs in, but there was no need with a rainy weekend in the forecast.
Echo the eco-dog came to lend a paw.

Or maybe he just needed a hand with that toy?

That was easy!  Now I'll just let mother nature do her work.  The bulbs will start to root immediately and grow throughout the fall, winter and spring.  They should be ready to harvest at the start of next summer!

I'm sure going to miss my garden over the winter, but I'll get through those dreary months knowing that is still some action just below the soil.


  1. I love daffies, too! I think I pulled most of mine out (they're not fitting in well with my low-maintenance, forget-to-water-everything scheme) but I'm hoping to enjoy yours vicariously. Maybe I will plant some garlic though..? That sounds awfully tasty.

  2. Tasty, and easy too! I'll be sure to post pics in the spring of the daffys in bloom. I love them too. So cheerful :0)


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