Transplanting For Winter

Saturday morning was cold. Sunday morning felt even colder. And it struck me, as I am taking my tiny little plants out of the greenhouse, that this is a little strange. Aren’t you supposed to only transplant in the spring with the warm season ahead, not in the fall, in the cold, with less and less sunlight ahead?

But I was doing it. And I felt a little more strange when a friend asked me at my son’s football game if my garden was just about done. It is actually still full and I am still planting! Wow!

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I have been blessed with a company that both talks about and cares about sustainability. At work, all of our plates are paper and compostable, and our utensils and cups are made from corn and are also compostable. They have bins set up for people to separate trash from recyclables from compostables. (Not that everyone can figure it out, or even gives a hoot about it.) And twice a year they give away compost! As much as you can haul away until it is gone. This little pile above was one truckload, and is maybe a yard or yard and a half. I used this to prep the beds for the transplants.

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Above are some turnips and rutabaga, but I filled in the other spots with a flat of golden beets the next day. In other areas, I added more turnips, red beets (in containers), spinach, lettuce and arugula. The days were nice and cool to work in, and I was able to finish a total of four rows with row covers.

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I got the Agribon-19 in about a week ago, with some clamps for the pvc pipes and hand stakes for securing the material. The Agribon-19 will protect the plants inside from frost down to 28 deg F. These four rows have plants that I will (hopefully) harvest through winter. The other plants will probably be ready for harvest before the frost comes for sure, although last night we got a very light frost. I have lost cauliflower to frost, so I was debating on whether to cover it. I basically ran out of time, and finished covering two of the rows in the dark! Everything looked ok this morning, but may want to cover them if more below freezing nights come.

The above picture really shows my lack of planning, somewhat. I have four rows for winter, four that will harvest by November. In the future, I would like to see all eight of those back rows filled with plants for the winter harvest. One factor, though, is I don’t know how some of the plants will fare during winter, even covered. So, by far this is the most advanced I have been in gardening, and I am using this winter to see what happens.

One other thing: the peas in the bottom of the picture are just coming into their pods, which is awesome. They are nice and sweet, but this part of the garden is halfway in the shade now, and so I am not sure how the peas in this area will do. When you buy peas, they usually say tell you to either trellis/not trellis. These peas were optional, so I opted for no support. However, I have learned that my OCD does not like non-trellised peas, flopping all over the place. In the future, I am going to add some kind of support!

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Above are two pictures of what will be harvested soon. My broccoli is doing great. I have about 10 broccoli plants that look like they will produce, and a few more that seem a little stunted. It is amazing when you see that little floret appear, and Bang! – it just grows and grows and grows! No florets on the cauliflower yet, though. 😦

I had a little caterpillar problem right after the big rains we had, and some of the leaves got chewed on. This happened with the broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage, and dispatched the little pests with thumb and forefinger. Now some of the leaves have mildew on them. I am not sure if they are related. I spent some time pulling infected leaves off to keep it from spreading. I should also have controlled the weeds around the plants, too. But this little head will be finding a pot in our kitchen quite soon!

More to come…

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