Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fall/Winter gardening plans

It's August and flippin' hot.

My husband keeps saying, "It's almost fall! It's almost fall!" and I sort of look at him and say, "There's plenty of summer here, baby." After all, it's Tennessee and the temperatures are pretty warm even into October.

Last I remembered at least.

Despite the current and predictable early fall heat, I am pumped about fall gardening, to the point that I almost wish my tomatoes would be DONE already so I can get some peas back into the ground and be able to sit back again and not have to pamper anything in my garden like heat lovers force me to do.

Plus I've always found peas (sugar, snow and English) satisfying in their yields and I can eat their tips. Tomatoes mean only fruit eatin'.

This reminds me of my most likely unsuccessful attempt at sweet potato growing, as I got lazy/poor in getting proper soil/amendments to pile up in the large bucket I was growing them in. As long as I can get a few I'll be pleased and maybe I can still pile up some dirt at this point? Either way, what I was getting at is that sweet potato leaves and tips can be eaten too, like a tastier spinach (aren't other greens, nearly always?)

Multipurpose vegetables=good

But back to cool weather gardening (unfortunately having to be started in !@$#@ hot weather).

My plan is completely tear down the bean and cuke trellises by September, all the tomatoes by the then or mid-Sept. and plant various peas in their places. I like using bush-type/no-support needing peas too to delineate between my beds of parsnips, turnips and carrots (well, those are good delineators too).

I will be planting lucullus chard, sold at my local mom n' pop, Russell's, and nearby I will plant Perpetual Chard, a chard that I got from Territorial Seed ( It is apparently bolt resistant and can eventually perennialize in zones 7 up. Exciting as I like not having to mess with parts of my garden more than usual because it's plenty of work already!

I am also devoting one of the smaller beds to blue and red kales with mache/corn salad on the the far sides of the bed. Mache is described as being so tender it will melt in your mouth, so THAT sounds delish (from Botanical Interests: Mache supposedly is a perennial too, and with it being on each end of the bed, it can fill itself in if it likes or I can just pull the middle annuals out if I like. I understand that I could potentially let the kale's self seed, but in the summer, kale's not that great and slightly bitter and got super bug-ttacked.

Finally, another small bed is being devoted to Strawberry Spinach/Beetberry ( which I hope germinates well and will perennialize too as it's a pretty cool looking plant and "very European." Oh I feel so debonair saying that ;) I purchased this as well from Territorial seed.

If all goes well in my garden I should be building up the perennials (maybe even malabar spinach will continue to love me next year with enough mulching to keep it warm until spring!) and then I can stop with the whole hard work thing! (ha ha.)

(I'd also like to grow Tom Thumb buttercrunch lettuce ( because it sounds so darn cute, but I'm the only salad eater here :(

This fall (true fall when it's consistently below 80 degrees, hope), with the assumption that all my fall vegetable planting is done I will be working on prettifying the garden so that not only does it look tidy and full of vegetables, but will have flowers year round (if I plan this correctly) to keep the pollinators here and always busy.

Now if I can just get a hold of some butterfly plants to stop the swallowtail butterfly caterpillars from decimating my parsley/cilantro that'll be nice.