Stories of life on our farm in Northwest Georgia where every day is an adventure in this beautiful spot that God has entrusted to our stewardship.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Planting a Fall/Winter Garden (Saturday, Sept. 4)

We're very new to gardening with seeds; my peas and Asian pole beans were an experiment this spring, and it was such a happy experience that we decided to try planting a fall/winter garden.

For the past week, we've been working hard getting our garden ready.  We cleaned up all the dead, spent plants and put most of them on the "junk" compost pile.  (Anything diseased did not go into our two compost piles.)  The Asian pole beans at the end of this row, the berries across the back, a dozen pepper plants, a volunteer Idli tomato, and a couple of rainbow chard are the only plants still producing.

Herb made three tractor loader-fuls of dirt (see "Digging Up Dirt") that he added on top of our compost-y soil.  We then hoed or hand-worked the dirt into the compost, crumbling lumps of compost in the process.  We spent several partial days of hard, hot work just doing that--not fun, but necessary.

Once the beds were ready, we laid soaker hoses on all of them, making sure each soaker hose has a quick-coupler so we can easily attach and remove garden hoses for watering.
Friday our seeds finally arrived from Park Seed Co., so Saturday was planting day.  Herb sifted a finished pile of composted manure through his home-made sifter to remove lumps and spread a layer of it across every prepared bed.  I figured out where plants should go by checking my garden books on companion and adversary plants.  It can be amazingly complicated!  I scrutinized seed packet instructions to avoid mistakes and then proceeded to plant. 
As I finished planting each bed, Herb watered it with a fine mist, soaking the soil but not to the point of run-off.  We'll use the soaker hoses later, but for now we want to make sure the seeds are kept evenly moist so they can germinate so we'll hand water them every day until they sprout.

Our usual first frost date here is the very end of October, but it can come as much as two weeks later, so we hopefully have time for another harvest, especially since I ordered "early" varieties that need 60 days or less to mature.

Here's what we planted:  2 kinds of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, beets, baby carrots, arugula, bush beans, pole beans, endive, snow peas, and 2 kinds of regular peas.  Now we just water and wait . . .

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