Archive for October, 2010

Temperatures are dropping around Chicago, and this is normally the time when I’d been doing a fall clean-up, some final mulching, and putting my garden to bed for the winter.

But not this year!

This is the winter of Eliot Coleman, when Melissa and I are going to try our hand at Fall gardening aiming for a winter harvest. Here’s where we are as of the start of October:

Planted right now (clockwise from bottom left) are Romaine and Buttercrunch lettuce, endive, yellow globe onions, bunching onions, full-grown endive, carrots in various stages from seedling to mature, tomato plants up against the house (1 box wrapped, 1 unwrapped to see the difference), mache, more lettuce, spinach, and a fallow place for garlic that’s just outside the picture in the lower right.

As you can see, I have row covers in place. These let in about 80% of the light and are water-permeable. They have the added benefits of keeping out insects and providing some cover from the wind. I will say that they make my seedlings look beautiful:

Another new experiment for this Fall is the mache bed. These hardy little salad greens can germinate at 35 degrees and can bounce back from -5 if necessary. The adult plants are only about 4 inches across, so it takes a lot of plants for a salad. So, I’ve planted about 1200 plants in my bed and they’re just starting to pop up:

They’re a little hard to see in this picture, but they’re there.

One of the successes this summer season has been the raspberries. All of the canes in this picture started as tiny 4″-6″ transplant cuttings that came from my 5-year old bush on the side of the dog run.

As you can see, they did very well, despite having the fence in front of them completely overwhelmed by cantaloupe vines for much of the summer. Maybe they decided to grow tall to compensate.

I have noticed that the Fall temps do slow down germination and growth, so I’ll keep you apprised of our progress every so often. Check back for more later, especially when we install the plastic on our greenhouse…


Read Full Post »