I am writing this on November 1st and most likely the blog will not make the website for a few days due to some WIFI problems at home in the basement. I have a new office in the basement that allows me to concentrate on gardenRN in my own space but I desperately need to get the WIFI fixed down here. The thick walls of our old house are problematic for signal strength. Anyways, as I was saying, today is November 1st in Brookfield, WI and it was 73 degrees outside! I had a day off of work and got to play outside for most of the day. It was marvelous. The trees have turned colors and are dropping their leaves, there was a slight wind and beautiful warm sun. I had the opportunity to mess around in the garden and get it ready for the winter which will be here soon.
Due to this unprecedented warm weather, there are all sorts of things still growing in the garden. This morning I picked the last of the cherry tomatoes, a sweet pepper that was crazy hot and some kale to fry up with eggs for breakfast. Yum. This is odd as usually by November there has been a hard frost and my garden has been tucked away for a long freeze. Every year I think about planting a fall garden but what happens is that I become overwhelmed with chores, school has started with lots of activities and I simply want to be inside. This year I both acknowledged this cycle and tried to fix it. Late August/early September I threw some peas into two old metal buckets that were filled with potting soil.
Peas are tricky to grow in the fall for two reasons. One reason is that they like cool weather, they can tolerate a light frost but not a hard frost. The other reason is that if they are not planted early enough in the fall, there is not enough hours of sunlight for them to grow. This fall has been cool but not freezing with a lot of rain and the peas are growing! It is difficult to see in the haphazard picture but the vines are quite tall growing up the strings and trellis and there are some peas and flowers to produce more! There is also a picture of my dog Charlie watching me in the garden wondering what I am doing. He loves fresh spring peas but fall peas are precious and he isn't going to get any.
I also planted some winter lettuce and spinach for the fall and early winter. I have found that if I plant in big containers instead of in the raised bed, the container stays warmer longer and I can move them to the front of the house away from the wind and can get a few weeks longer out of the crop in the winter. Growing here is a hardy salad mix that I can not wait to start cutting into. Unfortunately, the spinach did not grow very well but I am hoping that by keeping the cover on the planted container and having it near the house that when the time is right, the spinach will start growing in the early spring. I have planted lettuce, spinach and kale in the ground late summer in the past that has come up in the spring. I am planning on topping off all of my beds with quality compost in the spring so I did not want to do that this year.
I also have a lot of celery to use up before the frost. I will put a Remay grow fabric over it in an effort to make it through to Thanksgiving but that is hit or miss. I planted the celery in the early summer and have been taking cuttings off of it all summer. The trick is to cut it stalk by stalk from the outside in and it will continue to grow for months. During the heat of the summer it was growing in the shade of the pole beans which keeps the flavor where I like it. If celery grows in full hot sun all summer, the flavor can be rather strong and unpleasant. I am not sure how they grow the celery everyone buys in the store, but it does not have any flavor compared to home grown!
Lastly, due to the late warm weather, I have raspberries! This is totally unexpected and crazy and they are sweet and amazing. My dear friend Jackie gave me raspberry canes from her father's garden so I do not know the variety but they are hardy and sweet, just like Jackie and her Dad.
That is the end of the fall garden, Now I am going to plant my new Aerogarden in the basement. Stay tuned for further developments!