Winter Garden Update – Part 2

In this post, I thought I would just add pictures from the garden taken on Saturday, as a way to document my garden status going into December.

I am doing this first because I am just simply amazed at how much food I have in my garden going into December. I would not have thought it was possible just one year ago. I am also doing this because I know my garden will change as the years go on, and might like to scroll through this. I am also doing this to maybe inspire someone to grow their own food, even if it is just one bed, and to do it year round.

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Red Chantenay carrots to the left, a few purple malaga radishes in th middle, and buttercrunch lettuce to the right. The carrots are short and fat the last time I checked, and should be good through the winter. That is my experiment though – how long can I leave them without them spoiling? The lettuce is at that perfect stage to gather from, while my other buttercrunch bolted a little in the last heat wave earlier in November.
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This bed is a mixture of kale and chard. Left front is red Russian kale, with some Toscana (dinosaur) kale in the middle back. Fordhook and rainbow chard is in the upper left and spread through to the right. A lot of the chard will be coming in for dinner this week! There is also some young chard scattered under the big plants. I may just let the chard keep growing after I remove the big leaves, or may pull out to give the seedlings more room. I wasn’t sure how it would work out, so I seeded chard after I transplanted.
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A full 5′ x 8′ bed of spinach! This is the bed I scatter seeded instead of planting in nice and neat rows. I lamented about it in another post. Weeding it is a complete nightmare! I pulled some spinach yesterday for our eggs, and will be harvesting some for salad. This is an experiment, too – how long can I keep harvesting from this bed? All winter??
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In this bed, there is more red Russian and Toscana kale in the back. In front is some red leaf lettuce that I am just in love with. It adds such a great contrast to salads. There is a little bit of arugula to the right of that, and some buttercrunch that started to go to bolt. Then some more red leaf, and then a solid amount of malaga and salad rose radishes. This particular bed is started to get less and less light, as our house blocks the sun on it for half of the day. Again, the experiment – will it just hibernate? Will any spoil?
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This bed was made up completely of carrots. We have eaten through about half, mostly the atomic red and cosmic purple. The snow white variety is in the left of the picture. The red and purple carrots were delicious and add beauty to the salad. The white… I am not that impressed with. They are not as tender as the others.
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Here are a few of the cabbages we have left in this row. This area is now completely in the shade from our house, but seems to be growing a little. There are a few cabbages to the right and not in the picture that look like they are spoiling, and need to be brought in the house to see what can be salvaged.
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Here are my beds of peas, interspersed with weeds. The peas started out ok, but now that they are in the shade, they are not growing. There are blossoms on a lot of the vines, and we found some peas that we just ate in the garden, but…. epic fail. 😦 It is good to know, though, that this part of the garden cannot be depended on from probably mid-October through probably mid-February due to the shadow of our house.
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To the left, you can see some of the remaining broccoli plants that I am hoping to get a few more florets from. The main bed pictured contains our kalettes and cauliflower. The kalettes were more curiosity than anything. Depending on the flavor, I think I will just do Brussels sprouts in the spring. I posted last time about how happy I was to see that I was getting cauliflower, and there are two big heads that will be coming for dinner this week. I probably have 6-8 plants producing at various stages of growth.
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Here are the two rows in between beds with row covers. I didn’t think these plants needed protection, at least not yet. In the front, the rutabaga is having a tough time growing roots. I am not sure what the issue is, but I suspect I did not amend the soil well enough before transplanting. Or, since I grew spring peas in these beds, there may be too much nitrogen? This would cause it to be too leafy. To the left of the rutabaga are what’s left of the golden and bull’s blood beets.
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At the back of those two rows in the previous picture are some collards that are producing well, more kalettes, and some cosmic purple carrots that I am hoping I can harvest in January or February.
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The next two covered rows contain, to the left front, turnips transplants, and behind that what is left of other turnips. We’ve eaten some of the turnips, but some rotted in the soil. They had a tough time with the heat and bugs of August/September. To the right are what is left of the Raxe radishes. They are really delicious and have kept well left in the soil. Behind that is some young chard seedlings – scatter seeded and hard to weed.
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Behind the turnips and radishes are the next wave of cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. I am very happy with my efforts to succession plant. With the broccoli in the other row nearly gone, I have several plants here with ~2 in heads forming. Behind the broccoli on the right are more turnip transplants. I think all the turnips will grow to harvest, but just slowly.
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The last two covered beds contains, to the left, more red Russian and Toscana kale, direct seeded. Again, this was scattered and is difficult to weed. The plants are growing very well, and will need to be thinned out soon. To the right are the golden and bull’s blood beets, direct seeded. Most of the green are weeds, as I am behind on this chore. The beets seem to be growing slower.
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Behind the kale and beets there is young rutabaga and golden beet transplants. I think I will start beets for transplants in the future – there seems to be more control on their germination, although I may try the direct seeding again in a row with maybe 2 in spacing, and then thin if needed. The rutabaga…. we will see what they yield!
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These collards are from the spring and have lasted the whole year. We have eaten from them, but the bugs have probably eaten more. They just keep growing, though! You can see the long stalk where the lower leaves were removed.
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This compost bin is officially closed. It is ~3′ x 4.5′ x ~3′ tall, and should be ready for the spring!
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My two other compost piles. The top bin is closed, too, while the one in front is newly built. I think I will need to build at least one more so that I can keep rotating between them.

 

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